Richie Havens

Richie Havens

American folk rock singer, songwriter, guitarist and activist
Date of Birth: 21.01.1941
Country: USA

  1. Biography of Richie Havens
  2. Early Life
  3. Musical Career
  4. Woodstock and Later Career
  5. Later Years and Activism

Biography of Richie Havens

Richie Havens was an American folk rock singer, songwriter, guitarist, and activist. He gained fame for his dynamic and rhythmic performance style and heartfelt cover versions of pop songs and folk songs. In 1969, Havens performed at the opening of the Woodstock Festival.

Richie Havens

Early Life

Richie Havens was born on January 21, 1941, in Brooklyn. He was the oldest of nine children in his family. In his childhood, Richie organized vocal groups with his friends and neighbors, and at the age of 16, he performed with the McCrea Gospel Singers. When he turned 20, Havens left Brooklyn and moved to the bohemian Greenwich Village in search of inspiration. His solo performances quickly became popular in the folk music circles of New York City.

Richie Havens

Musical Career

After recording a couple of releases on Douglas Records, Havens signed a contract with Bob Dylan's manager, Albert Grossman, and the label Verve Forecast, which released his album "Mixed Bag" in 1967. Interestingly, although "Mixed Bag" is often regarded as Havens' debut album, it was actually his third studio album. However, the first two, "A Richie Havens Record" (1965) and "Electric Havens" (1966), were unauthorized. By 1969, Richie had released five albums. "Something Else Again" (1968) became his first album to chart on Billboard, and this renewed attention also brought recognition to "Mixed Bag".

Richie Havens

Woodstock and Later Career

Richie Havens' live performance at Woodstock in 1969 made him a star and was a turning point in his career. As the first performer in the festival's history, Richie held the crowd for nearly three hours, partly because he was asked to do so. Many artists who were scheduled to perform at the festival's opening were significantly delayed due to the massive influx of people. Havens was called back for several encores. The subsequent Woodstock film made Havens famous worldwide.

After his successful performance at Woodstock, Havens founded his own label, Stormy Forest, and released the album "Stonehenge" in 1970. Later that year, "Alarm Clock" was released, which included a cover of George Harrison's hit song "Here Comes The Sun". "Alarm Clock" became Havens' first album to reach the Billboard Top 30 chart. Richie released four more albums on Stormy Forest, including "The Great Blind Degree" (1971), "Live On Stage" (1972), "Portfolio" (1973), and "Mixed Bag II" (1974). During this period, he started receiving invitations to television shows, including "The Ed Sullivan Show" and "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson".

Later Years and Activism

In the 1970s, Havens appeared in several films. Over time, he dedicated more time and energy to involving young people in environmental conservation, as environmental issues greatly concerned him. In the mid-70s, he became one of the founders of the Northwind Undersea Institute, a children's oceanographic museum in the Bronx. This led to the creation of the Natural Guard, an organization that helped children learn how they could impact the environment, according to Havens. In the 80s and 90s, he released six new albums and toured extensively, performing concerts worldwide, but only one of them, "Simple Things," made it onto Billboard's Top 200 chart. In 1993, Havens performed at President Bill Clinton's inauguration. On March 20, 2012, Havens announced on his Facebook page that he would be retiring from touring after 45 years due to health reasons. On April 22, 2013, he passed away from a heart attack at his home in Jersey City, New Jersey, at the age of 72. The icon of Woodstock left a lasting legacy.