Richie Havens

Richard Pierce Havens (January 21, 1941 – April 22, 2013) was an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. His music encompassed elements of folk, soul (both of which he frequently covered), and rhythm and blues. He had a rhythmic guitar style (often in open tunings). He was the opening act at Woodstock, sang many jingles for television commercials, and was also the voice of the GeoSafari toys.

Born in Bedford–Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, Havens was the oldest of nine children.He was of Native American (Blackfoot) descent on his father’s side and of the British West Indies on his mother’s. His grandfather was Blackfoot of the Montana/South Dakota area.

Havens’s grandfather and great-uncle joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, moved to New York City thereafter, and settled on the Shinnecock Reservation on Long Island. Havens’s grandfather married, then moved to Brooklyn. On April 22, 2013, Havens died of a heart attack at the age of 72.

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