Richie Havens, Folk and Protest Singer, Dead at 72

Debuting at Woodstock in 1969, the Brooklyn, N.Y.-born singer was famous for his song "Freedom."

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Singer Richie Havens performs during the Solidays music festival in Paris. (Benoit Tessier/Reuters)

On Monday, folk and protest singer Richie Havens died of a heart attack. He was 72, reports the Washington Post.

Havens was known for his crafty guitar work and cover songs, including his well-received impersonation of Bob Dylan's "Just Like a Woman."

His performance at the three-day 1969 Woodstock Festival, where headliners included Jimi Hendrix, was a turning point in his career. He was the first act to hit the stage, performing for nearly three hours. His performance of "Freedom" -- based [on] the spiritual "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child" -- became an anthem.

Havens returned to the site during Woodstock's 40th anniversary in 2009.

"Everything in my life, and so many others, is attached to that train," he said in an interview that year with The Associated Press.

Read more at the Washington Post.

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