Wheeler Front

Richie Havens

March 12, 2010

Gifted with one of the most recognizable voices in popular music, Richie Havens has a soulful singing style that remains as unique and ageless as when he first emerged from the Greenwich Village folk scene in the early 1960s. It’s a voice that has inspired and electrified audiences from the Woodstock Music and Arts Fair in 1969, to the Clinton Presidential Inauguration in 1993—coming full circle with the 30th Woodstock Anniversary celebration, “A Day in the Garden,” in 1999.

For over three decades, Richie has used his music to convey messages of brotherhood and personal freedom. As he told the Denver Post, “I really sing songs that move me. I’m not in show business; I’m in the communications business. That’s what it’s about for me.” In the summer of 2008 Richie Havens released Nobody Left to Crown.

At an early age, Richie began organizing his neighborhood friends into street corner doo-wop groups and was performing with the McCrea Gospel Singers at 16. At the age of 20, Richie left Brooklyn to seek out the artistic stimulation of Greenwich Village. “I had first gone there during the Beatnik days of the 1950s to perform poetry, then I drew portraits for 2 years and stayed up all night listening to folk music in the clubs. It took a while before I thought of picking up a guitar.”

He improvised a song based on the old spiritual “Motherless Child” that became “Freedom,” a song now considered to be the anthem of a generation. In 1970 came Alarm Clock, which yielded the hit single “Here Comes the Sun,” and became Richie’s first album to reach Billboard’s Top 30 Chart.

Memorable television appearances included performances on the Ed Sullivan Show and the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Johnny Carson asked Richie to return the following night. In the show’s long history, the only other guest booked back-to-back nights based on overwhelming audience response was Barbra Streisand.
Even if at times a certain melancholy emerges, Richie Havens is not a man to abandon easily his hopes for a better world. “We are at the dawn of major change,” he declares with a broad smile.

Upcoming Events

An Evening with the Rodney Crowell Trio

Tuesday, March 14, 20178 pm

Crowell’s resume could serve as a manual on how to balance commercial success and lifelong artistry while also maintaining integrity. Not many artists can boast having their music recorded by such a diverse array of artists, from country legends to current country stars, to rock legends to blues icons and even electronic artists. As an artist or songwriter, he has had songs in the top 10 in every decade since the 1970’s. Learn More »

Let It Be

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 7:30 pm

Direct from London's West End and Broadway, Let It Be imagines the show you never got to see The Beatles perform—a one-night-only time capsule back to what would have been John Lennon’s 40th birthday, October 9, 1980. Learn More »

view all upcoming events


Become a member today!

To join Wheeler Associates and help support the Wheeler Opera House and all it means to the community, click here.