Monday, April 22, 2013
Richie Havens, 1941-2013
In the late Sixties there were three popular, influential black artists performing mainly for young white audiences: Jimi Hendrix, Sly Stone, Richie Havens. All three gave extraordinary performances at Woodstock, & all three became influential with other African-American musicians as well. They were all musically adventurous. Sly & Jimi were largely stage inventions; Sly a record producer & businessman, Jimi a brooding bluesman at heart. Richie was Richie, the most accessible, shaped by large family in Brooklyn & the diverse, tolerant, politicized Greenwich Village of the Fifties & Sixties. His music was both gentle & ferocious. He had only one hit single, a cover of "Here Comes the Sun," but many songs are associated with him. I always liked this sitar-flavored folk-rock song from a studio/live double LP, released shortly before his Woodstock appearance made him really famous. He already had a solid following. He stayed in for the long haul, which ended today.