Richard Pierce Havens, known professionally as Richie Havens, (January 21, 1941 – April 22, 2013 was an American singer-songwriter and guitarist His music encompassed elements of folk, soul, and rhythm and blues. He is best known for his intense and rhythmic guitar style (often in open tunings), soulful covers of pop and folk songs, and his opening performance at the 1969 Woodstock Festival.
At age 20, Havens left Brooklyn, seeking artistic stimulation in Greenwich Village. “I saw the Village as a place to escape to, in order to express yourself,” he recalled. “I had first gone there during the Beatnik days of the 1950s to perform poetry, then I drew portraits for two years and stayed up all night listening to folk music in the clubs. It took a while before I thought of picking up a guitar.” Havens’ solo performances quickly spread beyond the Village folk circles.
Havens as a live performer earned widespread notice. His Woodstock appearance in 1969 catapulted him into stardom and was a major turning point in his career. As the festival’s first performer, he held the crowd for nearly three hours. In part, Havens was told to continue playing, because many artists scheduled to perform after him were delayed in reaching the festival location with highways at a virtual standstill. He was called back for several encores. Having run out of tunes, he improvised a song based on the old spiritual “Motherless Child” that became “Freedom”.
During the 1980s and 1990s, Havens continued a world touring schedule and a steady release of albums. “Simple Things” best album/CD from Richie Havens, released in 1987. Good listening, clear easily understandable lyrics with a one of a kind voice and guitar.
1. “Drivin'” (Jim Tullio, Richie Havens, Robbie Stevens) – 4:17
2. “Simple Things” (Allen Rubens, Jim Tullio) – 4:07
3. “Songwriter” (Vince Willis) – 4:00
4. “Passin'” (Rosko) – 4:22
5. “Wake Up And Dream” (Ed Tossing, Thom Bishop) – 3:50
6. “I Don’t Wanna Know” (John Martyn) – 4:23
7. “Shouldn’t We All Be Having A Good Time” (Butch Stewart, Jim Tullio, Pat Leonard, Richie Havens) – 5:23
8. “Arrow Through Me” (Paul McCartney) – 4:23
9. “Runner In The Night” (Chris Cameron, Jim Tullio) – 5:35
Release Date: 1987
Genre: Folk, Pop/Rock
Styles: Contemporary Singer/Songwriter
Label – RBI Records