…seems like years since they’ve been there

Born in Brooklyn in early 1941, Richard P. Havens was the eldest of nine children, who at an early age began to organize neighborhood friends into street corner doo-wop groups. By age 16 he was performing with the McCrea Gospel Singers and in time moved on to Greenwich Village to draw, recite (Beatnik) poetry and listen to folk music.

Eventually he picked up the guitar and is now best known for his forceful playing that often begins with an open tuning. By 1969 Havens had gained a winning reputation as a live performer and that’s what earned him an appearance that would serve as a major turning point in his career: Woodstock.

As the first featured artist, he was asked to perform a lengggggggggthy set because many of the other performers were delayed in reaching Yasgur’s Farm. So he held the crowd for nearly three hours and was then called back for several encores. In the end, having run out of tunes, he improvised a song based on the old spiritual “Motherless Child” and that became “Freedom” which was featured in the subsequent Woodstock movie, helping to bring to Richie Havens, who continues to tour to this day, a worldwide audience.

That same year, 1969 was a difficult one for George Harrison, who had been arrested for marijuana possession. Then there was Apple. As he noted in his autobiography, “Apple was getting like school, where we had to go and be businessmen: ‘Sign this’ and ‘sign that’. Anyway, it seems as if winter in England goes on forever, by the time spring comes you really deserve it. So one day I decided I was going to sag off Apple and I went over to Eric Clapton’s house. The relief of not having to go see all those dopey accountants was wonderful, and I walked around the garden with one of Eric’s acoustic guitars and wrote “Here Comes the Sun.”

Featured on the “Abbey Road” album (in a fascinating aside) Astronomer Carl Sagan later wanted to include the song on the Voyager Golden Record, which was affixed to both of the Voyager spacecrafts to provide a representative sampling of human civilization to any alien entities that might recover them. The Beatles loved the idea but EMI refused to release the rights and when the probes were launched in 1977, “Here Comes the Sun” wasn’t included.

Taking the song in his own interpretive direction (you may note the “alternative” lyrics) this is Richie Havens’ 1970 performance at the (revered but long since defunct) Cellar Door in Washington, DC.

TODAY’S SONG – Wednesday 22 February 2012

Here Comes the Sun

Little darling, it’s been a long, long lonely winter

Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun

And I say it’s all right

Little darling, the smiles are returning to the faces

Little darling, it seems like years since they’ve been there

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun

And I say it’s all right

Little darling, I see the ice is slowly melting

Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear

There goes the sun, here comes the sun

And I say it’s all right

Here comes the sun

Here comes the sun

Here comes the sun

Here comes the sun

And I say it’s all right

It’s all right

It’s all right

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s