As a live performer Richard Pierce Havens, known professionally as Richie Havens, earned widespread notice. His Woodstock appearance in 1969 catapulted him into stardom and was a major turning point in his career. As the festival's first performer, he held the crowd for nearly three hours. In part, Havens was told to continue playing, because many artists scheduled to perform after him were delayed in reaching the festival location with highways at a virtual standstill.
He was called back for several encores. Having run out of tunes, he improvised a song based on the old spiritual "Motherless Child" that became "Freedom". In an interview with Cliff Smith, for Music-Room, he explained: "I'd already played every song I knew and I was stalling, asking for more guitar and mic, trying to think of something else to play – and then it just came to me...The establishment was foolish enough to give us all this freedom and we used it in every way we could."
The subsequent Woodstock movie release helped Havens reach a worldwide audience. He also appeared two weeks later at the Isle of Wight Festival in late August 1969.
Following the success of his Woodstock performance, Havens started his own record label, Stormy Forest, and released Stonehenge in 1970. Later that year came Alarm Clock, which included the George Harrison-penned hit single, "Here Comes the Sun". This was Havens' first album to reach Billboard's Top 30 Chart. Stormy Forest went on to release four more of his albums: The Great Blind Degree (1971), Live On Stage (1972), Portfolio (1973), and Mixed Bag II (1974). Memorable television appearances included performances on The Ed Sullivan Show and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. On the latter program, the audience reacted with such enthusiasm that when the applause continued even after the commercial break, Carson asked Havens to return the following night.
Havens also began acting during the 1970s. He was featured in the original 1972 stage presentation of The Who's Tommy, as Othello in the 1974 film Catch My Soul, in Greased Lightning alongside Richard Pryor and in Bob Dylan's Hearts of Fire. On almost all of his albums is at least one Dylan cover. In 1987 he released the album Sings Beatles and Dylan, which contained both Dylan- as Lennon-McCartney compositions.
In 2007, Havens appeared as "Old Man Arvin" in the Todd Haynes film I'm Not There. In a classic front-porch jam scene, he is shown singing the Bob Dylan song "Tombstone Blues" with Marcus Carl Franklin and Tyrone Benskin. Havens' version of the song also appears on the I'm Not There soundtrack.
Recorded Live in Insert "B" at Power Play Networks Shot By John Elkowitz with a Thompson 601 3 tube camera and dbx audio with an AKG 414 thru a Soundcraft 2400 by Greg Furgason for more info check out www.powerplaynetworks.com