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Richie Havens, Folk Icon, Dead at 72

Richie Havens, Folk Icon, Dead at 72Richie Havens, Folk Icon, Dead at 72

Richie Havens, the folk singer and guitarist who famously opened the Woodstock Festival in 1969, died this morning from a sudden heart attack. He was 72.

Richie Havens in 1968: 'The Direction For My Music Is Heaven'

Havens was born in Brooklyn, New York and relocated to Greenwich Village in his early twenties. He released his first album, A Richie Havens Record, in 1965; by 1967, he had signed with Verve of MGM Records to release his breakthrough third album, Mixed Bag. He released Something Else Again in 1968 and Richard P. Havens, 1983 in 1969, both of which landed on the Billboard Top 200 chart and built his reputation as an impressive live performer.

Eclectic Hardly Bluegrass Festival Unites Emmylou Harris, Richie Havens

Havens famously opened the Woodstock Festival in 1969 with a long, impromptu set. He recorded over a dozen albums during his career and performed at President Bill Clinton's inauguration in 1993. A public memorial for Havens will be announced at a later date.

This article originally appeared on Rolling Stone: Richie Havens, Folk Icon, Dead at 72