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Remembering Richie Havens

by Dennis Elsas
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Richie Havens with Dennis Elsas

I was very sad to learn of the passing of Richie Havens yesterday at the age of 72. The first time I ever met Richie was in May 1968. I was working at my campus station WQMC (Queens College) and he was a rising folk-star and a staple of the newly blossoming FM airwaves. We talked at his manger’s office on East 55th Street and it was the first artist interview I ever did for the radio. It would be over a year later in August 1969 that a much larger audience would experience his musical power for the first time as he electrified the opening of the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival.

In May 2008, I was hosting an event for the opening of the Museum at Bethel Woods (on the site of the Woodstock Festival) and interviewing Richie on-stage about what that historic experience had been like. That September, we were together again. This time it was in Studio A at WFUV, as Richie was promoting his newly released album Nobody Left to Crown, telling stories, performing live and making everyone that met him that day feel just a little bit better.

Join me throughout the afternoon today for selected highlights from that interview as we continue to invite you to become a member of the station in the final two days of our Spring Fund Drive. You can also enjoy the entire interview and highlights from his Woodstock memories online.

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