Richie Havens, Opening Act At Woodstock No Longer Folk Singing, Voice Stilled At 72

 While 500,000 sat on their hands awaiting moving music, first-on-the-scene at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, Aug. 15, 1969, Richie Havens and two members of his band were pressed into urgent service to get the show moving at 5 p.m. when other bands were still mired in traffic jams.
The scene was Max Yasgur's farm outside Woodstock, N.Y. Richie was joined by his guitarist, Paul Williams and his drummer, Daniel Ben Zeulon to squeeze into a helicopter with their two conga drums and two guitars for the festival stage. They did encores until the rest of the songsters and musicians got there.
Richie graduated from street corner doo-wop groups to singing with the McCrea Gospel Singers as a teenager. Fired from his job as a portrait artist in Manhattan's Greenwich Village, after missing work one day, he began performing music. His first album,"Mixed Bag" was released in1967.