Music vet and New Times scribe Lee Zimmerman offers his insights, opinions, and observations about the local scene. This week: Looking back at a true musical master.
When Ian Hunter, the onetime mainstay of the band Mott the Hoople, famously sang "All of the good ones are taken," he was clearly referring to the diminishing supply of prospective mates that qualify as marrying material. Yet these days, that same phrase could refer to the fact that so many musical icons have been taken from us recently to join that heavenly choir.
The latest of these is Richie Havens, who passed away yesterday at age 72, the victim of a sudden heart attack. Although he retired from performing three years ago, the image of him furiously strumming his guitar and rallying the hordes at Woodstock remains etched forever not only in the minds of those who were there but also in the hearts and souls of the millions who saw the film that followed. Few knew it at the time, but Havens' relentless incantation, which came to be known as "Freedom," was largely improvised after he played all the material he knew following a three-hour set that kept the crowd entertained while buying time for other artists. Based on the traditional folk tune "Motherless Child," his impassioned performance became one of the most memorable moments of that great documentary and, in turn, Haven's signature song.More »