Richie Havens' Ashes Scattered Across Woodstock Concert Site

Image: Richie Havens' Ashes Scattered Across Woodstock Concert Site

Tuesday, 20 Aug 2013 10:26 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Richie Havens' ashes were scattered by a plane across the site of the 1969 Woodstock concert on Sunday.

The late folk musician who famously opened up for the 1969 Woodstock musical festival with his version of "Motherless Child/Freedom," died in April of a heart attack at his home in Jersey City, N.J. He was 72.

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Thirty of Havens' family members as well as more than a thousand fans attended, including actors Louis Gossett Jr. and Danny Glover, who spoke at the ceremony as the ashes were spread, CBS News reported.

Gossett co-wrote the song "Handsome Johnny" with Havens in the '60s.

The tribute to Havens was held on the 44th anniversary of the final day of the three-day concert.

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, the venue built on the Woodstock site, hosted it.

"Though he traveled throughout the world for decades visiting and returning to countless locations, Max Yasgur's field in the Town of Bethel, Sullivan County, New York always remained the location where Richie felt his deepest connection," said a statement from his family.

In addition to being a singer, Havens was a songwriter. He created his own versions of Bob Dylan's "Just Like a Woman," "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue," the Beatles' "With a Little Help from My Friends," "Eleanor Rigby," and "Here Comes the Sun."

In the 1970s, Havens branched out into acting. He appeared in the 1972 version of The Who's rock opera "Tommy" and took the lead role in the "Othello"-inspired 1974 movie "Catch My Soul."

Havens also performed at President Bill Clinton's 1993 inauguration and sang for the Dalai Lama on several occasions.

Born in Brooklyn on Jan. 21, 1941, Havens was the eldest of nine children. He began singing in neighborhood doo-wop groups. In the late 1950s, he went to Greenwich Village, where he performed poetry, drew, and immersed himself in the folk music scene.

Shortly after his death, Havens' family released a statement.

"Beyond his music, those who have met Havens will remember his gentle and compassionate nature, his light humor, and his powerful presence," it read.

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