The first time I ever met Richie Havens 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 manager’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 be introduced to him and experience his musical power as he electrified the opening of the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival.
We met and spoke many times through the years after that both on and off the air.
In May 2008 (40 years after that initial interview) I was hosting an event for the opening of the Museum at Bethel Woods (on the site of the Woodstock Festival). It was the perfect opportunity to ask Richie just how he happened to become the opening act of the Festival.
Just a few months later 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. His recent passing, on April 22, 2013, has left a great void not only in the musical world but also among his many fans and friends who experienced his positive and spiritual energy.
Listen to that complete show here.