Richie Havens

by Bob Schwartz

Richie Havens
Every artist wants their spirit to be a presence, and to stay a presence. Every artist would love to be so recognizable that with just one note sung a listener would be certain—and would instantly want to hear more.

Since Richie Havens released his album Mixed Bag, and since his legendary performance at Woodstock, he grew older but never changed. Decades where peace, love and freedom looked like something radical, then something hip, then something imminent, then something commercial, then something distant and quaint, he did just what artists do. He stayed true to himself, true to his ideals, true to his craft as a unique troubadour. He was irresistible and his music still is.

Richie Havens died yesterday at the age of 72.

And close your eyes, child, and look at what I’ll show you;
Let your mind go reeling out and let the breezes blow you,
And maybe when we meet then suddenly I will know you.
If all the things you see ain’t what they seem,
Then don’t mind me cause I ain’t nothing but a dream,
And you can follow…