Monday, April 22, 2013

Richie Havens: There Went the Sun

I see where Richie Havens has died and that probably doesn't mean much to most of you. Does to me, though. I interviewed the marvelous and greatly under-appreciated musician in about 1979 at the Coffee Pot in Roanoke and it was memorable. To me, it was memorable. My guess would be he didn't even know he was there.

Havens, who didn't have any front teeth at that time, had been something of a sensation at Woodstock, staying on the stage for hours because so many scheduled acts didn't show up. He loved every minute of it. In fact, my impression was that he was much more at home on stage than anywhere else. As we chatted, he sipped a draft beer--or three or four--but it appeared to me that he'd been into something else before I got there. (I interviewed Eddie Rabbitt in his country music bus once and he kept excusing himself. I heard what sounded like nasal sucking sounds every time he left. I made a pretty good guess at what he was doing.)

Havens, who was 72 (he looked much older than he was when I interviewed him), recorded 30 albums--mostly low to medium sellers--and toured for 30 years. He had that one classic hit--the Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun," which he did better--that every performer lusts after. If you're looking for a legacy, that's as good as any.



  1. THANK YOU! I opened for Richie Havens thrice, once at the Iroquois. He influenced the strings I use (DR) and my percussive playing style, and my change the world one song at a time attitude. I got to correspond & hang out a bit & feel so very blessed for that.


  2. For me, Ritchie Havens was the essence of the generation of which I'll always (all ways) be proud to have been a part of.

    I can't believe I missed him performing, or whatever, at the Coffee Pot.