Richie Havens

Richie Havens

Infobox musical artist
Name = Richie Havens

Img_capt = Richie Havens in 2006
Img_size =
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name =
Alias =
Born = Birth date and age|1941|1|21|mf=y
Died =
Origin = Brooklyn
Instrument = Guitar
Genre = Folk rock
Occupation = Singer-guitarist
Years_active = 1965—present
Label = Verve
Associated_acts =
URL = [ Richie Havens Official Website]

Richie Havens (born January 21, 1941) is an American folk singer and guitarist. Havens is perhaps best known for his intense rhythmic guitar style, soulful covers of pop and folk songs and his opening performance at the Woodstock Festival.


Richard P. Havens was born in Brooklyn, the eldest of nine children, and first started singing street corner doo-wop and performed with The McCrea Gospel Singers at 16. Havens first rose to fame in the Greenwich Village folk-music scene that also fostered Joan Baez and Bob Dylan. In 1967, Havens became one of several Village-based artists signed to Verve Records, and released several albums to mostly local notice. In 1969, Havens opened the Woodstock Festival, although he was initially scheduled to appear fifth on the bill. His performance received continuous ovations and he kept playing encores until he ran out of songs. Finally, he decided to improvise a version of "Motherless Child," to which he added a verse with the word "freedom" repeated over and over; the song was featured in the "Woodstock" film, and became an international hit.


Havens followed up this success with the 1971 release of "Alarm Clock", which featured a rendition of The Beatles "Here Comes the Sun." "Alarm Clock" became Haven's first album to chart on the Billboard Top 30. [ official site] ]

For a brief period in the mid-1970s, Havens performed with Peter Yarrow and Paul Stookey as Peter, Paul, & Richie.Fact|date=October 2007 During this time, he also tried his hand at acting, appearing as Othello in the 1974 film ``Catch My Soul.`` He also appeared in "Greased Lightning" alongside Richard Pryor in 1977. In 1987, he landed a role in the Bob Dylan vehicle "Hearts of Fire." [ [ IMDb acting credits for Richie Havens] ]

In 1982, Havens composed and performed a promo slogan for NBC's 1982-83 television season entitled, "We're NBC, Just Watch Us Now". He also performed slogans for CBS and ABC. [ [] ]

In 1993, Havens performed at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton. Among the selections was the "Cotton" song, made famous by a series of television ads in the early 90's. [cite web|url= | title= Richie Havens| author=Walsh, Ben | accessdate=2007-10-16] In 1999, Havens played at the Tibetan Freedom Concert for an audience of more than 100,000. [ [ Gigography] ]

Musical style

Havens is noted for his guitar skill. Some of his recordings feature a drum sound that is actually his foot tapping on the floor. His guitar playing makes extensive use of open tunings and an unconventional thumb-fretting style.cite web
title=Richie's Music--Tab--video
publisher=Richie Havens personal site
] In an interview with "Rolling Stone" magazine in 1971, John Lennon stated that Havens "plays a pretty funky guitar." [ [ John Lennon imterview for "Rolling Stone"] ]

In his early years, Havens rarely wrote his own songs but often applied his distinctive style to the works of others, notably Bob Dylan and the Beatles. More recent albums contain more of his own compositions. His live performances vary greatly, depending on the audience. He maintains a busy schedule, performing worldwide. Fact|date=October 2007


In 2000, Havens teamed up with the electronic music duo Groove Armada for the retro '70s-style song "Hands of Time". The track was featured on the soundtrack for the film Collateral, starring Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx; the same song also used in the film Domino, starring Keira Knightley. Havens was also featured on "Little By Little" on the band's third album "Goodbye Country (Hello Nightclub)". [ Guest Appearances & Collaborations] ]

He has collaborated with other artists including former Genesis members Steve Hackett and Peter Gabriel, Bill Perry, Dayna Kurtz, and Anton Fig.

Present-day career

In 2000, Havens published "They Can't Hide Us Anymore", an autobiography co-written with Steve Davidowitz. Havens has maintained his status as a folk icon, and continues to tour. In 2002, Havens released "Wishing Well", followed by the 2004 album, "Grace of the Sun".

On October 15, 2006, Havens was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame. [ [ Inaugural 2006 Inductees] ]

In 2007 Havens appeared as "Old Man Arvin" in the Todd Haynes film "I'm Not There". In a classic front-porch jam scene, he is shown singing the Bob Dylan song "Tombstone Blues" with Marcus Carl Franklin and Tyrone Benskin. Havens's version of the song also appears on the "I'm Not There" Soundtrack.

He was invited to perform at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival Opening Ceremony. He played "Freedom" in tribute to his fan and jury president Sean Penn.

Havens is scheduled to appear at the August 2008 Rhythm Festival in Bedford, England. [ [] ]

In August 2008 he released a new studio album titled "Nobody Left To Crown". The first single release was country tinged "The Key"

Charity work

In addition to performing at charity benefit concerts, Havens formed the Northwind Undersea Institute, an oceanographic children's museum on City Island in the Bronx. The museum led to the creation of The Natural Guard, an organization that educates children about the environment.

Havens won the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award in Sherborn, MA on April 12th 1991. [ [ The Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Recipients List] ]


*"A Richie Havens Record" (1965)
*"Electric Havens" (1966)
*"Mixed Bag" (February 1967)
*"Something Else Again" (1968)
*"Richard P. Havens, 1983" (1969)
*"Stonehenge" (1970)
*"Alarm Clock" (1971)
*"The Great Blind Degree" (1971)
*"Richie Havens On Stage" (1972)
*"Portfolio" (1973)
*"Mixed Bag II" (January 1975)
*"The End of the Beginning" (1976)
*"Mirage" (1977)
*"Connections" (1980)
*"Common Ground" (1983)
*"Collection" (1987)
*"Simple Things" (1987)
*"Starlight Express" Broadway Studio Cast Recording (1987)
*"Sings Beatles and Dylan" (1987)
*"Live at the Cellar Door" (1990)
*"Now" (1991)
*"Cuts to the Chase" (1994)
*"Time" (1999)
*"The Millennium Collection" (2000)
*"Wishing Well" (April 2002)
*"Grace of the Sun" (2004)
*"" ("Tombstone Blues") (2007)
*"Nobody Left To Crown" (2008)

Guest appearances

*"Please Don't Touch" by Steve Hackett (1978)
*"Starlight Express" Music and Songs from (1987, performing Light at the End of the Tunnel and the Starlight Sequence)
*"OVO" by Peter Gabriel (2000) (Soundtrack to the Millennium Dome Show)
*"Freedom" on "The Best of The Jammy's Volume One" w/ The Mutaytor
*"The Long Road" (Duet with Cliff Eberhardt) on Cliff's 1990 album "The Long Road")
*Gay Cavalier (Duet with Pino Daniele on 1983 album "Common Ground")


External links

* [ Richie Havens Official Website]
*imdb name|id=0369784|name=Richie Havens
* [ Interview with Richie Havens] by music critic Michael Wiles of Bmore Live
* [ Interview with Richie Havens]
* [ College Crier's Richie Havens Interview]
* [ 2005 Richie Havens Interview on "Modern Guitars" magazine]
* [ Long Island Music Hall of Fame]
* [ 2008 interview with Richie Havens]
* [ Richie Havens Fan Website]

NAME= Havens, Richie
SHORT DESCRIPTION= Singer, songwriter, musician
DATE OF BIRTH= January 21, 1941
PLACE OF BIRTH= Brooklyn, New York

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