Folksinger afroamericano, ebbe l'onore di aprire il festival di Woodstock, Continuava a ricevere ovazioni e alla fine si trovò senza canzoni da cantare, decise allora di improvvisare una versione di "Motherless Child" alla quale aggiunse la parola "Freedom" ripetuta in continuazione. La canzone divenne un hit internazionale. Il suo stile chitarristico è inconfondibile ed estremamente ritmato, e il suo piede sinistro è un vero proprio strumento a percussione che nelle registrazioni qualcuno può confondere con una batteria!
Richie Havens (born January 21, 1941 in Brooklyn, New York) is an African American folk singer and guitarist. Havens is best known for his somewhat wild guitar style of brisk strumming.
Havens first rose to fame in the Greenwich Village folk music scene that also fostered Joan Baez and Bob Dylan. In 1969, Havens opened the Woodstock Festival. He received continuous ovations and kept playing encores until he ran out of songs. Finally, he decided to improvise a version of "Motherless Child" to which he added a verse with the word "Freedom" repeated over and over. The song became an international hit. One noticeable thing about Havens is his extraordinalry rythm skills that can be seen on stage just looking at his left foot. on some of his recordings you can hear a drum sound which is actually Richie's foot taping on the floor.
He later played at the 1993 inauguration of President Bill Clinton.
Havens rarely writes his own songs and often interpret the works of Dylan and The Beatles.
John Lennon said about Richie Havens during an interview for Rolling Stone in 1971: "He plays a pretty funky guitar."