Rock and folk star Richie Havens passed on today at age 72.

Havens spent much of the last 45 years touring the world and performing. He was widely known for his three-hour opening set at Woodstock in 1969. 

He was born in 1941, the oldest of nine, in Brooklyn, New York. After performing with both the McCrea Gospel Singers at age 16 and various street corner doo-wop groups, he began to find his own style in Greenwich Village in the early 1960s. 

After Woodstock helped raise his profile, he recorded the albums Stonehenge and Alarm Clock; the latter would reach No. 29 on the charts, becoming his most successful record. Many of his songs were covers, in the style of folk tradition. One of his biggest hits was a cover of George Harrison's "Here Comes the Sun."

He spent much of the next few decades touring throughout the world and increasing awareness of environmental issues. In 1993, he performed at President Bill Clinton's inaugeration.

Watch a clip of his performance of "Freedom" at Woodstock in 1969 below; he had improvised the song, based around the spiritual "Motherless Child," after having already performed multiple encores.

[Via JamBase]

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