Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1971 Richie Havens – Here Comes the Sun

1971 Richie Havens – Here Comes the Sun

Richie Havens was born and grew up in Brooklyn. His father was a Blackfoot (a native American) and his mother was from British West Indies. He organized doo-wop groups with friends in his neighborhood and joined the McCrea Gospel Singers. He also travelled to Greenwich Village to read poetry and draw portraits during the beatnik period of the fifties. He also spent a great deal of time listening to live folk music in the Village.

When he turned twenty, he moved to Greenwich Village and began performing in clubs. His obvious talent attracted Albert Grossman, who managed Bob Dylan and created Peter, Paul, and Mary and other folk musicians. Verve Records released his first album, Mixed Bag, in 1966. The album included several songs that Richie also wrote as well as his cover of Bob Dylan’s Just Like A Woman. Several more albums followed that barely got into Billboard’s US Top 200 album chart. None of his singles from the early albums successfully charted.

In 1969, Richie was scheduled to play at the Woodstock Music Festival. The band Sweetwater expected to be the first act on stage, but the police and a major traffic jam prevented the group from reaching the festival in time, so Richie was put on stage at 5:07 pm the first day. His performance at the show provided a massive audience with their first chance to hear him play and sing. Sweetwater got flown in by helicopter and got to perform after Richie’s set.

Two weeks later, Richie performed at the Isle Of Wight Festival. He released the album Alarm Clock the following year. The first song on side one was a cover of George Harrison’s songHere Comes The Sun. Richie released his version of the song as a single in 1971 and it reached #16 on the Hot 100. The success of that single helped push his album to #29 on the album chart, the highest any of his albums reached. That was to be the first and last time Richie placed a single on the Hot 100 chart.

Richie went on to record more than a dozen studio albums and a handful of live albums. He toured constantly and performed at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton.

The 2009 film, Soundtrack for a Revolution, presented the history of the modern Civil Rights Movement. Richie performed a haunting rendition of Will the Circle Be Unbroken? in the film.

Richie suffered a heart attack and died in 2013. Following Richie’s wishes, they cremated his body and scattered his ashes over the site of the Woodstock Festival.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richie_Havens
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodstock

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