Remembering Richie Havens and Woodstock's Organic Legacy
  • TUESDAY, APRIL 23, 2013

  • Posted by: Madison Murphy

Yesterday's Earth Day marked a bittersweet end to the life of the honest, organic Richie Havens. The first performer at the Woodstock Music Festival, praised for his effortless blend of blues and folk died of a heart attack in his Jersey City home. Although this blissfully husky- voiced artist first electrified the 500,000 people at Woodstock over 40 years ago, his musical career was only halted last year, due to health complications.

The 40th Anniversary of Woodstock released some special edition CDS, souvenirs, and even a fancy movie, but the lingering presence of Woodstock and its immortal acts never faded. When I went to the actual site of Bethel this past summer, there was still a sense of camaraderie and untainted tranquility among the green inclines of the spacious fields that cultivated musical history forever.

Maybe it was just a ridiculously gorgeous summer day, or the joint we rolled for the way there, or our sheer appreciation for the acts who played, or a combination of it all that led me to the conclusion: whether or not you take a liking to the artists from Woodstock, their sounds cannot be imitated, and their legacy will serve as a climax for musicians to come.

This somber sense of nostalgia has especially crept its way into our minds the past year, with the more recent passing of two other impeccable Woodstock performers: The Band's Levon Helm (April 19, 2012) and Ten Years After's Alvin Lee (March 6, 2013). Like Haven's passing, we've recently been reminded how immortal these musical legacies truly are. Even though Havens only enjoyed one hit in the Top 20 for his cover of "Here Comes the Sun", his free styling legacy of his "Freedom" performance at Woodstock cemented him in the minds of fans and artists alike.

And, if your musical tastes are like mine, forever etched in the haze of everything the late 60s emulated (besides the brown LSD), you're probably still waiting for your time machine to Bethel. Besides the sorrowful losses of the past year, most of Woodstock's lineup remains alive and well today, so we took the time to exercise some math skills and evaluate the still living history of Woodstock.

Note: Many of the artists parted ways with mainstream music long ago, and were a bit difficult to find. In a few cases, we noted the last time they were referenced on the internet as still living. If you notice something we missed, please let us know.


DAY 1: 11 acts (19 performers)
ALIVE: 73%
DEAD: 8 27%

1. Richie Havens: dead (2013)

2. Country Joe McDonald: alive

3. John B. Sebastian: alive

4. Incredible String Band
Mike Heron: alive
Robin Williamson: alive
Christina Licorice McKechnie: alive
Rose Simpson: alive

5. Sweetwater
Nancy Nevins: alive
Alex Del Zoppo: alive
Fred Herrera: alive
August Burns: dead
Alan Malarowitz: dead
Elpidio Pete Cobian: alive
Albert Moore: dead

6. Bert Sommer: dead

7. Tim Hardin: dead

8. Ravi Shankar: dead

9. Melanie Safka: alive

10. Arlo Guthrie: alive

11. Joan Baez: alive

DAY 2: 9 acts (57 performers)
ALIVE: 58%
DEAD: 42%

1. Quill
Jon Cole: alive (as of 2010)
Dan Cole: alive (as of 2009)
Roger North: alive
Norman Rogers: dead
Phil Thayer: alive

2. Keef Hartley Band
Keef Hartley: dead
Miller Anderson: alive
Jimmy Jewell: alive
Henry Lowther: alive
Gary Thain: dead

3. Santana
Carlos Santana: alive
Gregg Rolie: alive
Jose Chepito Areas: alive
Mike Carabello: alive
Michael Shrieve: alive
David Brown: dead

4. Canned Heat
Alan Blind Owl Wilson: dead
Bob The Bear Hite: dead
Harvey The Snake Mandel: alive
Larry The Mole Taylor: alive
Adolpho Fito de la Parra: alive

5. Grateful Dead
Jerry Garcia: dead
Bob Weir: alive
Bill Kreutzmann: alive
Mickey Hart: alive
Ron Pigpen McKernan: dead
Tom Constanten: alive
Phil Lesh: alive

6. Mountain
Leslie West: alive
Felix Pappalardi: dead
Norman D. Smart II: alive (last reported 2009)
Steve Knight: dead

7. Creedence Clearwater Revival
John Fogerty: alive
Tom Fogerty: dead
Doug Cosmo Clifford: alive
Stu Cook: alive

8. Sly and the Family Stone
Sly Stone: alive
Freddie Stone: alive
Greg Errico: alive
Larry Graham: alive
Jerry Martini: alive
Cynthia Robinson: alive
Rosie Stone: alive

9. Janis Joplin: dead

10. The Who
Roger Daltrey: alive
Pete Townshend: alive
John Entwistle: dead
Keith Moon: dead

DAY 3: 8 acts (29 performers)
ALIVE: 90%
DEAD: 10%

1. Jefferson Airplane
Marty Balin: alive
Grace Slick: alive
Paul Kantner: alive
Jorma Kaukonen: alive
Jack Casady: alive
Spencer Dryden: dead
Nicky Hopkins: dead

2. Joe Cocker: alive

3. Country Joe & The Fish
Country Joe McDonald: alive
Barry The Fish Melton: alive
Greg Duke Dewey: alive
Mark Kapner: alive
Doug Metzler: alive

4. Ten Years After
Alvin Lee: dead
Leo Lyons: alive
Chick Churchill: alive
Ric Lee: alive

5. The Band
Robbie Robertson: alive
Rick Danko: dead
Levon Helm: dead
Garth Hudson: alive
Richard Manuel: dead

6. Blood, Sweat, and Tears
David Clayton-Thomas: alive
Bobby Colomby: alive
Jim Fielder: alive
Dick Halligan: alive
Jerry Hyman: alive (as of 2009)
Steve Katz: alive (as of 2009)
Fred Lipsius: alive
Lew Soloff: alive
Chuck Winfield: alive

7. Johnny Winter: alive

8. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (all alive!)
David Crosby: alive
Graham Nash: alive
Stephen Stills: alive
Neil Young: alive
Greg Reeves: alive
Dallas Taylor: alive

DAY 4: 3 acts (24 performers)
ALIVE: 71%
DEAD: 29%

1. Paul Butterfield Blues Band
Paul Butterfield: dead
Howard Buzzy Feiten: alive
Rod Hicks: alive (as of 2012)
Ted Harris: alive
Phillip Wilson: dead
Steve Madaio: alive (as of 2011)
Keith Johnson: alive
David Sanborn: alive
Trevor Lawrence: alive
Gene Dinwiddie: dead

2. Sha-Na-Na
Joe Witkin: alive
Jocko Marcellino: alive (as of 2010)
Donald Donny York: alive
Rob Leonard: alive
Alan Cooper: alive
Frederick Dennis Greene: alive
Scott Powell: alive
"Dirty Dan" McBride: dead
Chris Donald aka "Vinnie Taylor": dead
David "Chico" Ryan: dead
Screamin' Scott Simon: alive
Henry Gross: alive
Elliot Cahn: alive

3. Jimi Hendrix: dead

OVERALL: 73% of Woodstock performers are indeed alive, and we've unfortunately lost 27% of the artists. I guess the Forever 27 legend is rightfully resurfacing on to this 2013 Woodstock list


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