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Dave White

Top 5 Richie Havens albums

By April 25, 2013

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Classic rock fans can relate to Richie Havens and his music on several levels. For one thing, the man did a three hour hour set to open Woodstock. For most anyone who is into classic rock, that's huge.

Then there's the way many of us were introduced to his music. The same underground/alternative FM stations who were playing album tracks by Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, and any psychedelic rock artist, were also playing Richie Havens albums.

Many of his songs dealt with subjects near and dear to the hearts of young rock fans of the day (late '60s and early '70s) like the Vietnam war.

Finally, there were the songs he chose to give his own unique interpretations. I hesitate to call them covers, because they were much more than that. Many of the songs he interpreted were songs originally written for bands like The Beatles and The Who, and solo artists like Bob Dylan and Donovan. Stephen Stills, who occasionally played bass on Havens albums in the pre-CSN days said of Havens, "He lit fire when he started playing within the first song and burned exactly the same way throughout his set. And it never stopped, it never changed."

Havens left us a catalog of 29 albums, if you count original studio releases, live albums, and compilations. So where do you start if you want to gain an appreciation for this unique artist? Try starting with my Top 5 Richie Havens albums.

Photo by Ralph Ackerman/Getty Images

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