Richard P. "Richie" Havens (born January 21, 1941) is an American folk singer and guitarist. He is best known for his intense, rhythmic guitar style (often in open tunings), soulful covers of pop and folk songs, and his opening performance at the 1969 Woodstock Festival.
Born in Brooklyn, Havens was the eldest of nine children. At an early age, he began organizing his neighborhood friends into street corner doo-wop groups and was performing with The McCrea Gospel Singers at 16. At age 20, Havens left Brooklyn, seeking artistic stimulation in Greenwich Village. "I saw the Village as a place to escape to, in order to express yourself," he recalls.