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Artists


Richie Havens

Biography


In a career spanning more than 45 years, the great Richie Havens (1941-2013) enthralled and charmed audiences worldwide with his distinctive acoustic sound and intense, soulful voice. Guild was onstage and in the studio with him all along, through innumerable concert appearances and more than two dozen albums.

Born Richard Havens in Brooklyn, he displayed musical talent from and early age and rose to prominence in New York’s fertile Greenwich Village folk music scene of the early 1960s. Word of his talent soon spread beyond folk circles, however, and Havens recorded two albums worth of demos in 1965 and 1966. His first album, 1967’s Mixed Bag, was an auspicious debut, with standout songs such as “Handsome Johnny,” “Follow” and a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Just Like a Woman” that earned him a reputation as a premier interpreter of Dylan material. Follow-up album Something Else Again (1968) became his first album to hit the Billboard charts.

An electrifying performer, Havens was in great demand on the U.S. and international festival circuit; he performed at the 1966 Newport Folk Festival, the 1967 Monterey Jazz Festival, the 1968 Miami Pop Festival, the 1969 Isle of Wight Festival and the first Glastonbury Festival in 1970.

Famously, Havens opened the August 1969 Woodstock festival with a three-hour set after which the audience demanded encore after encore until he was literally out of material. It was then that Havens improvised a rendition of an old spiritual, “Motherless Child,” repeating the word “freedom” over and over and so creating an anthem for a generation. The performance was a major turning point in his career.

A string of popular albums ensued, and his fiery live performances continued to mesmerize audiences worldwide. He was one of the very few artists invited to play back-to-back television appearances on the Tonight Show because of overwhelming audience response, and he performed at the 1993 inauguration of President Bill Clinton.

Havens continued to record and tour throughout the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and 2000s, and reissues of his earlier material have proven just as popular today as they were when first released. In 2003, the National Music Council awarded him its American Eagle Award for his place in the United States’ musical heritage and for providing “a rare and inspiring voice of eloquence, integrity and social responsibility.”

Known more as a creative and thoughtful interpreter of songs by others rather than as a songwriter, Havens always wielded his Guild with a powerful and distinctive combination of superb rhythmic ability, open tunings and an unconventional thumb-fretting style to achieve a sound that was uniquely his own.

For Havens, music was a continuous journey that advanced a step further with each album, and he delighted audiences everywhere with his distinctive brand of thrilling musicianship, soulful vocal work and positive message for everyone.


 

Biography


In a career spanning more than 45 years, the great Richie Havens (1941-2013) enthralled and charmed audiences worldwide with his distinctive acoustic sound and intense, soulful voice. Guild was onstage and in the studio with him all along, through innumerable concert appearances and more than two dozen albums.

Born Richard Havens in Brooklyn, he displayed musical talent from and early age and rose to prominence in New York’s fertile Greenwich Village folk music scene of the early 1960s. Word of his talent soon spread beyond folk circles, however, and Havens recorded two albums worth of demos in 1965 and 1966. His first album, 1967’s Mixed Bag, was an auspicious debut, with standout songs such as “Handsome Johnny,” “Follow” and a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Just Like a Woman” that earned him a reputation as a premier interpreter of Dylan material. Follow-up album Something Else Again (1968) became his first album to hit the Billboard charts.

An electrifying performer, Havens was in great demand on the U.S. and international festival circuit; he performed at the 1966 Newport Folk Festival, the 1967 Monterey Jazz Festival, the 1968 Miami Pop Festival, the 1969 Isle of Wight Festival and the first Glastonbury Festival in 1970.

Famously, Havens opened the August 1969 Woodstock festival with a three-hour set after which the audience demanded encore after encore until he was literally out of material. It was then that Havens improvised a rendition of an old spiritual, “Motherless Child,” repeating the word “freedom” over and over and so creating an anthem for a generation. The performance was a major turning point in his career.

A string of popular albums ensued, and his fiery live performances continued to mesmerize audiences worldwide. He was one of the very few artists invited to play back-to-back television appearances on the Tonight Show because of overwhelming audience response, and he performed at the 1993 inauguration of President Bill Clinton.

Havens continued to record and tour throughout the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and 2000s, and reissues of his earlier material have proven just as popular today as they were when first released. In 2003, the National Music Council awarded him its American Eagle Award for his place in the United States’ musical heritage and for providing “a rare and inspiring voice of eloquence, integrity and social responsibility.”

Known more as a creative and thoughtful interpreter of songs by others rather than as a songwriter, Havens always wielded his Guild with a powerful and distinctive combination of superb rhythmic ability, open tunings and an unconventional thumb-fretting style to achieve a sound that was uniquely his own.

For Havens, music was a continuous journey that advanced a step further with each album, and he delighted audiences everywhere with his distinctive brand of thrilling musicianship, soulful vocal work and positive message for everyone.


 

Gallery

Videos


Images


Discography

  • Mixed Bag II
  • Nobody Left to Crown
  • The Classics
  • The American Game (Original Soundtrack Recording)
  • Connections
  • Live At the Cellar Door and the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium
  • Secret O' Life - Single
  • Grace of the Sun
  • Dreaming As One: The A&M Years
  • Wishing Well
  • 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Richie Havens
  • Now
  • Mixed Bag
  • Portfolio
  • Alarm Clock
  • Stonehenge

Instruments