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Published: 2012/03/21

Richie Havens to Retire From Touring

Legendary folkie Richie Havens has retired from the road. In a message posted on his Facebook page and website, Havens confirmed that recent health concerns have made it impossible to keep up with his once rigid touring schedule. While the message does not rule out one-off appearances or select dates, Havens will no longer tour throughout the year.

The message from Havens’ camp states:

As many of you already know, Richie had kidney surgery a year and a half ago. Though he did return to the stage after that for numerous concerts, he truly never regained the physical strength required to put on the kind of shows for which he’s always been known, and coupled with ongoing health concerns, the traveling and performing have simply become too hard on him for him to be able to continue. After 45 years of non-stop touring, this is a sad and unexpected reality.

From Woodstock to The Isle of Wight to Glastonbury to the Fillmore Auditorium to Royal Albert Hall to Carnegie Hall, Richie has played the most legendary music festivals that ever were, and most of the world’s greatest concert venues. But even when performing in a Greenwich Village coffeehouse or a small club or regional theater, he’s always been eternally grateful that people in any number turned up each time to hear him sing. More than anything, he feels incredibly blessed to have met so many of you along the way.


There are 12 comments associated with this post

John Moseman March 21, 2012, 15:24:15

I met Richie when I was 18, and he gave me hope eternal for the future. When he showed up at my friend’s small house party after a concert in Clinton NY, we were in total shock. He told us stories, played us songs and enlightened us with his experience. He taught me “Time After Time” on guitar. Here’s to the gift of a beautiful, giving, spirited man! Thanks for all of your hard work and unflinching LOVE!!!

Ellen and Frank Felicetta March 21, 2012, 12:50:01

This is truly sad news. Richie Havens has been a guiding force in the music world and has touched people around the globe. We had the very special privilege of meeting him at Crossroads in NJ several years ago. Not only is he an outstanding artist but a gracious and humble man. Good health and best wishes to you Richie! Ellen & Frank Felicetta

Gerry March 21, 2012, 16:06:00

very sad news. It is hard for musicians to totally retire… so don’t be surprised you see him out again.

barbara muzychka March 21, 2012, 20:43:56

I first met richie when I was in high school in the mid sixties and worked at a few coffee shops in the village and richie was a performer. I saw him perform every few years but didn’t reconnect and speak with him until a couple of years ago when he performed in Long Branch, NJ and we spoke a bit after the show. Richie always was and is a perfect gentleman. I always have and will always love him.

Nan Wasson March 22, 2012, 22:50:23

Have to say that after witnessing him being forced onto the
stage @ Woodstock ( Thruway closed and… comes
Mr. Havens ready or not) FREEDOM was the lyric that he shared from his soul…......Cannot get better than that….
Sending good, good vibes!

Jeff Kurtz March 23, 2012, 16:20:13

@Nan Wasson amen!! freedom for all!! my aunt used to tour opening up for richie and ive had the pleasure of seeing and meeting him on multiple occasions..he gave me free tix to a show on my birthday a few years ago and invited me and m’lady backstage afterwards to hang out..not only an incredible musician and storyteller, but an incredibly nice guy to boot. his touring career may be over but his life, thankfully is not. heres to a long and healthy end mr. havens!

Michael Baker March 25, 2012, 00:44:48

Dear Richie I am writing this message with tears in my eyes. I am thankful that the surgery went well and we have Richie in this world for hopefully many more years. I first met Richie in Washington Square Park, and sat with him as he played and pontificated on life and love, and peace.
Many years ago!
I am turning sixty years old this March 26th, and I thank Richie for all the years of music, and lyrics that truly affected my life. So many birthdays and holidays we went to Richie Havens. The music is fantastic, the performance is fantastic, but also the message and love in his songs will be with me and thousands of others for eternity.
Richie, enjoy your life, you worked so hard for so many years. Make this your time for family and close friends we, your fans will survive on the great memories, and yes I was there in Boy Scout uniform from Ten Mile River scout camps in Narrowsburg New York, on that historic day in 1969. You are an important part of my life. My wife of thirty years also has fell in love with you and your music. Many more years of peace and happiness in your life, and never forget how many lives you have touched, and made better. Love: Lucy, Michael, and Zachariah Baker. ( P.S. Moved from Bethel New York/Woodridge, 30 years, to Bethel street in Corvallis Oregon, what Karma!!)
P.P.S. If ever in Oregon, Please stop by or stay with us, it would be our honor and pleasure, 541-753-1468 1900 S.E.Bethel Street Corvallis Oregon, 97333

RAFAEL CEPEDA April 1, 2012, 11:06:50

I’ve been a personal friend of Richie’s for the past 45 year’s and spend alot of time with him and the musicians that accompanied him thru the year’s – they are Eric Oxendine Bas – Paul Williams – Guitar – Daniel Zegbulon – Congas – Joe Price Congas – and Ram Das Congas. The last three musicians played at various times with Richie. Eric Oxendine was the Bas player on Van Morrisons’s “BROWN EYED GIRL”. And Daniel was the Conga Player on Stevie Wonder’s “You are the sunshine of my life”. I was with Richie when he was one of the opening acts for a show Janis Joplin Headlined at Forest Hills – and i had the privilege of being at the rehearsals when Richie appeared for a second time on the TONIGHT SHOW. Since moving to DC 35 year’s ago I’ve seen Richie perform here on various occasions and he still remains a very humble accessible individual who always has enjoyed engaging his friends and fans all these year’s later. We have been very fortunate to have the privilege to be entertained by Richie for over 4 decades – and now perhaps he can take time off to enjoy his family, friends and fans – and most of all, to take care of himself. We should all write to ROLLINSGTONE MAG AND HAVE THEM DO A FEATURE ON THIS ICONIC MUSIC FIGURE WHO HAS ENDURED ALL THESE YEAR’S WITHOUT A HIT RECORDS OR ALBUMSBUT SELLING OUT SHOWS THRU OUT THE WORLD WHICH IS A TESTAMENT TO THIS INCREDIBLE ARTIST WHO ALWAYS GAVE HIS ALL EEACH TIME HE STEPPED ON A STAGE. CONTINUE TO GET WELL RICHIE AND BLESSING FOR GOOD HEALTH. RAFAEL

Tom Molinaro April 6, 2012, 00:33:50

Richie’s style is unmatchable and incomparable . God gave us Mr. Havens to set the standard of playing from originality, like Richie says“it all started from one cell” just as his playing it has evolved into a universe of sound . When you do hear his sound you feel a spirit so profound you find yourself somewhere else and anyone who has listened or has seen or only heard him realizes the huge caliber of form that graces the music being played. Thank you Richie for the hours of escape you ve given I just hope you realize the impact you make on us all who are creating our own sound as well… are the BEST are THE WELL.

Jay March 7, 2013, 01:15:04

Mr. Richie Havens : get well. I met you in Boulder, Co after the show. Loved your music and will always play “freedom” when I need a lift. The energy you brought into your music and shared your talent with the world. Wow. Thank you sir.

Kevin T Armistead April 22, 2013, 22:36:16

This is for Paul. You and Richie were perfect together. Your fills were right where they needed to be.You also are a gracious man and it was a pleasure to meet you. Keep playing. We both have to. To keep Richie’s music alive and teaching. Be Well.

M St John April 23, 2013, 18:10:10

High Flyin’ Bird was the emergence, or rather, the emergency of music for me. Hearing Richie’s rendition of that song germinated in me a quest to discover my spiritual universe of sound. It was the rock of revolution above which spun all planets of musical experience and discovery for me. I’m still discovering new worlds because of Richie. I saw him last about four years ago, with all that amazing energy still intact.

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