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Richie Havens

Born in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, Richie Havens moved to Greenwich Village in 1961 in time to get in on the folk boom then taking place. Havens had a distinctive style as a folksinger, appearing in such clubs as the Cafe Wha? His guitar set to an opening tuning, he would strum it while barring chords with his thumb, using it essentially as percussion while singing rhythmically in a gruff voice for a mesmerizing effect. Havens was signed to Douglas Records in 1965 and recorded two albums that gained him a local following. In 1967, the Verve division of MGM Records formed a folk section (Verve Forecast) and signed Havens and other folk-based performers. The result was Havens' third album, Mixed Bag. It wasn't until 1968 and the Something Else Again album, however, that Havens began to hit the charts -- actually, Havens' fourth, third, and second albums charted that year, in that order. In 1969 came the double album Richard P. Havens 1983.

Havens' career benefited enormously from his appearance at the Woodstock festival in 1969 and his subsequent featured role in the movie and album made from the concert in 1970. His first album after that exposure, Alarm Clock, made the Top 30 and produced a Top 20 single in "Here Comes the Sun." These recordings were Havens' commercial high-water mark, but by this time he had become an international touring success. By the end of the '70s, he had abandoned recording and turned entirely to live work. Havens came back to records with a flurry of releases in 1987: a new album, Simple Things; an album of Bob Dylan and Beatles covers; and a compilation. In 1991, Havens signed his first major-label deal in 15 years when he moved to Sony Music and released Now. Nobody Left to Crown was issued by Verve Forecast in 2008. Havens died of a heart attack at his home in Jersey City, New Jersey in April 2013; he was 72 years old. ~ William Ruhlmann
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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lauri.dahir
A wonderful story teller- his voice and sound just draws you in. Love this!
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Beautiful, where blues, bluegrass and folk meet
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justshut up with advertizing
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A truly gentle soul and a genuinely good person--hard e r to find this type in popular music these days--or am I just old?...or both?
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The list of like artists needs to be removed, there is no-one like Ritchie Havens.
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Great interpreter of other people's music--not the best of writers. Hard to listen to a CD of 10 songs in a row--he had a limited vocal range--but I'll listen to 3 in a row anytime! On o the few guys who's covers rival te original---J u s t Like a Woman aches.
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mymalachi
saw him live on Boston Common..late 60's love him still
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johnferrara9 8 3
I got to see him live at fox woods great artist great voice will always be missed
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I love this guy still. What a beautiful spirit. I only got to see him live in the early 2000's in Charlottesvi l l e , VA, but will always remember. He was one of a kind.
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A real joy to watch and hear. Seen several times, last seen Appel farm. Great times, I will miss his take on music
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Wonderful artist
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his coverof 'Won't Get Fooled Again' is a gas,love how he used cello to play the organ part.. bet Townsend was pleased.
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I saw him in a number of concerts a few times in the years before he passed. To hear him sing with his mellow voice, and watch him riffing on his guitar with those big hands laden with large rings was amazing. Great story teller too. Loved the Bob Dylan early years and New York growing up stories.
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I saw him in a number of concerts a few times in the years before he passed. To see him sing, and watchi him riffing on his guitar with those big hadns laden with large rings was amazing. Great story teller too. Loved the Bob Dylan early years and New York growing up stories.
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I was honored to see him in a concert in 1970 , it brought tears to the eyes of all
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Wow short shrift for mr havens in the bio! The guy was a giant. Played with a passion that was blistering. As a teen I heard his version of A Very Good Year. It Changed the way I listened to and told stories from then on. It's like a tragic morality play distilled into a few bars. Havens deserves so much more recognition!
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Saw Richie many time from the early 70's, when whe would play the basement coffee shops and College ..until his passing. What an honor. Cant say mor
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My wife and I saw him twice in Charlotte NC and met him after each performance. Had not seen him since the Greenwich Village days, then Woodstock. IT WAS AN AMAZING EMOTIONAL HONOR TO MEET AND HUG HIM. I hope he is happy and living at Maggies Farm.
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I agree about the short Bio....kind of weird??
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I saw Richie at an outdoor concert in St Paul in July '71
Just awesome
so driven, soulful, and sweet
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I can not understand why the article above would be so short. Havens was a huge part of american music history. One of the best writers of his time and a talent that would only once in a life time happen.
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Always felt a close bond to Richie, Even now my heart is aching . But with a thankfulness of the opportunity to have seen him in concert at the Fillmore east.And for the believe that his presence could raise peoples conscience . I can still remember when Richie would get so into his songs that he would break his guitar strings. He is a high old soul. Rest in peace Richie . LLoyd from the Bronx.
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mosubirds
there is another STAR in heaven !! Thank you for your earthly gifts ....
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Had tears well up as I listened to Follow. He was such a gentle yet powerful musician.
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I ran into Richie Havens in the mid seventies waiting for a pizza in some joint in P-Town. He was playing at a gay nite club called Dallas. I asked him for his autograph and then he proceeds to write a poem on the sheet of paper that I gave him. I was vacationing with my family and we all went to see him perform that night. What an experience that my children will never forget by also being entertained by the side shows from the gay patrons. I had to buy the kiddies shots of Coca Cola to keep up
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I saw Richie in concert at Indiana University sometime in the early '70s. It was an outdoor concert in a stadium, and Havens was the headliner, playing after quite a few other groups, including, I think, R.E.O. Speedwagon. It started to rain lightly just before he took the stage, and continued on and off for most of his set. He ended, of course, with Freedom, and as that song neared its end, a full rainbow appeared over the stadium. It was appropriate, magnificent, and very memorable!

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I WAS SAD TO HEAR OF HIS PASSING... IT WAS SUCH A SUDDEN DEPARTURE! HIS MUSIC GAVE SO MUCH TO SO MANY... IF YOU HAVN,T HEARD IT BEFORE, HE DID A GREAT PERFOMANCE IN THE ORIGINAL BROADWAY SHOW - STARLIGHT EXPRESS
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I met him in the early 70's. What a great man and a beautiful soul. He will missed forever, but his music lives on always Rest in Peace you grand man.
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sandiismynam e
They talked about him on NPR the other day after he died, I didn't recognize his name, then they played a clip of him from Woodstock... m a g i c a l ! His voice is like no other, a dreamy, surreal and earthy feel, mesmerizing. He's now on my list of 'rediscovere d ' artists I listened to as a child. wonderful!
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mooyoo.77
what a great sprit.
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Richie was the soundtrack of my teenage years. His rendition of Just Like a Woman still breaks my (middle-aged ) heart. His voice on Follow, a song that's a bit dated, still sounds to me like the voice of God.
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Met Richie after seeing him at the Ed Sullivan theatre in 89' while raising money for starving children (started by Harry Chapin...I went outside the theatre after his performance to have a smoke and there he was standing by the curb with his guitar waiting for a cab. (I froze)....bu t then went up to him to thank him for his performance. . . v e r y surreal...su p e r humble guy...left quite an impression on me...will always remember him!!!
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loved him... His music brings me back to my youth... When things were easy and life seemed to have so much just waiting...
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ggwin1234
I wasn't fortunate to see Richie in concert but I love his music. He will be missed. Rest in peace.
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Saw him in '70 in San Diego-he Rocked it in a moving, heavenly strong way!! Rest in Peace, my precious one
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Peace at Last!
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repkin525
A gentile man of class and grace. R.I.P brother, R.I.P.
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mattanddonna
Met Richie twice after different shows in Rhode Island. An amazing soul and class act. Thank you for the music. We will miss you.....
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will miss you
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RIP beautiful spirit..
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deb_ham
Richie has been given his 'freedom'. RIP Richie!
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A kind soul and beautiful spirit! Will always b missed! Never forgotten !!
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We were all blessed to be touched by Richie's caring spirit. He was one of a kind.
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Richie is a gift from the world of Spirit...... . . . . . . . . S i d M
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bigmog2000
Don't read this cause it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life. However if you do not post this to at least three songs you will die in 2 days. Now you've started reading this so don't stop. This is so scary put it on at least 5 songs in at least 143 minutes when if done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on your screen in big letters this is scary cuz it actually works.
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merganserdan
Soothing and melodic
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besides making their own great music , richie and johhny cash were the best at taking a song by another artist and making it their own . richie allso did a little help from my friends at woodstock , overshadowed by cockers rendition , but a pretty cool version . check it out !
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nobody left to crown is an amazing album !
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One hell of A great album!~!!!!
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Saw him in '69 at Kinetic Playground in Chicago. At one point, he was down to two strings and kept on with his intensity.
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