It was the summer 1969. Fifty years ago this weekend, hundreds of thousands of young people were enjoying a days-long music festival in upstate New York that came to be known simply as “Woodstock.”
The very first performer at Woodstock was a little-known singer named Richie Havens. At least, he was “little-known” then, but became a legend for his signature performance, including the song that defined the whole festival. A song that, incredibly, didn’t exist until the the moment Havens performed it.
I met him twenty years ago, in the summer of ’99, just a few weeks before the 30th anniversary of Woodstock..
Richie Havens suffered a fatal heart attack in 2013 at the age of 72.