Magazine article Guitar Player

Remembering Richie Havens [1941-2013]

Magazine article Guitar Player

Remembering Richie Havens [1941-2013]

Article excerpt

RICHIE HAVENS MAJESTICALLY ENDED a six-year hiatus from recording in 2000 by singing "The Time of the Turning" on Peter Gabriel's OVO, and the turning of the millennium found Richie prolific and excited about new songs and new collaborations. By the spring of 2001 he was auditioning new band members and laying tracks for the first of what would be his final three recordings-Wishing, We'll, Grace of the Sun, and Nobody Left to Crown. My audition at Kaleidoscope Sound began with Richie chugging into "All Along the Watchtower" and stomping his trademark heel-toe beat with the same unbridled fervor that I would witness as his sideman, upon stages the world over for the next ten years.

In this, the home stretch o(his career, it seemed that on both aesthetic and musical fronts Richie epitomized cool. Rather than revisiting his acoustic origins, he did the opposite on the ironically titled "Going Back to My Roots" with British electronic dance band Groove Armada--and in 2006 he unequivocally slayed thousands while singing with the band at England's Glastonbury Festival. In 2008 Richie opened the Cannes Film Festival with myself on guitar and Stephanie Winters on cello.

There was much to [earn from Richie by observing him. His dignifying regal adornments of multiple rings and necklaces illustrated his specialness, yet he would never demean his fellow man nor act superior to make this point. Richie seemed to have all the time in the world for the average guy, and he never looked around the room during a conversation to make sure he didn't miss talking to a more important person. …

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