We regret the passing of our friend and client Rick Stevens, an original lead singer for Tower of Power: Tuesday morning, Sept. 5, 2017.
Rick Stevens “Is Still A Young Man,” and he’s back on the Street!
RICK STEVENS, the former lead singer of super-group Tower of Power whose incomparable voice is responsible for the mega-hits “You’re Still A Young Man,” “Down To The Nightclub,” “Sparkling In The Sand,” and many more, has released his latest disc — Back On The Streets, Vol. 1. The singer recently captivated a sold-out audience at Yoshi’s in Oakland with Lydia Pense & Cold Blood, a popular Bay Area group that has enjoyed national success. After a hiatus, Rick is gearing up for more performances to greet 2017. He has also performed with his band Love Power at select dates, including Yoshi’s, one of the Bay Area hot spots. Visit Rick Stevens’ website to get a synopsis of his sensational career. The demand is great for the vocalist as he anticipates going into the studio to record new music for legions of aficionados. Little did Rick’s uncle, Texas bluesman Ivory Joe Hunter, know that one day his nephew would be as successful as he was and would perform some of the most popular songs of the 20th Century. If he could only see him now! Rick will also perform a series of shows throughout California. His manager, C.C. Stevens, oversees Rick’s everyday matters, plotting with his team every career move. To book Rick Stevens, contact C.C. Stevens at Realmentorcc@aol.com. Sacramento-based Bump N’ Time Productions’ C.E.O. Show promoter Bumpy Gonzales is spearheading Rick’s special appearances. PBPR administrator Phil Brown facilitates specialty marketing and media public relations, arranging media interviews (print and electronic) for Rick, and he will keep you informed regarding Ricks’ upcoming events for the 2014/2015 seasons. Rick’s latest CD, Rick Stevens: Back On The Streets Again, Volume 1, is now available. Truly, one of the greatest soul, R&B, and funk crooners of our time, Rick Stevens’ musical journey has not ended– it is just beginning!
After three and-a-half decades of incarceration in a California penal institution, Rick Stevens, an original lead singer of the legendary group Tower Of Power, is back on the streets again.And if his recent performances at posh Yoshi’s in Oakland and a plethora of additional concert venues is any indication, he hasn’t lost a step. The only noticeable difference is that his once silky black crown is favoring a touch of grey. No longer the “playa” he once was, his vocal apparatus, though, is as finely-tuned as it was when he and the group’s renowned horn-section first climbed the charts after signing with Warner Brothers Records in 1972.That is when the group released their first album, Bump City, and when The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, after witnessing the group’s emotive performance at Bill Graham’s Fillmore West in San Francisco, proudly proclaimed Tower Of Power to be her favorite band at that time.What likely made Aretha so enamored was the visceral delivery of the group’s mega-hits “You’re Still A Young Man,” “Sparkling In The Sand,” “Down To The Nightclub,” and more chart-topping songs emanating from the soul of their lead singer, Rick Stevens. This, in collaboration with Tower Of Power’s voluptuous horn section, positioned Rick at the pinnacle of the music hierarchy, riding the crest of show-business success.Among the enduring acts that Rick performed with during his career are Rod Stewart, Aretha Franklin, Credence Clearwater Revival (John Fogerty), and Santana — not bad company when you think about it.Sadly, in 1976, Rick’s fortunes were dramatically altered. In a drug deal gone bad (in defense of his family), he was convicted on murder charges, and for the next 36 years his only audiences were fellow inmates — not bad company considering his original sentence of death. Rick StevensBut in 1977, he received an unexpected gift when mandatory Capital Punishment was outlawed in California. By the skin of his teeth, he received a new lease on life. Incidentally, that wasn’t the first time Rick stared down death. When he was an adolescent, he almost drowned in a pool near his home. He was resuscitated and is here to talk about it.While paying his debt to society, Rick was a model inmate, and he introspectively examined what got him there in the first place and the need for self-discipline and empathy for others.He quickly turned to what millions consider the greatest lifestyle guide on the planet and literature’s all-time best seller, the Holy Bible. He feverishly studied the lives of an assortment of biblical characters, their weaknesses and their triumphs, and he resolved to benefit from their course.Not content to focus only on self, Rick also devoted much of his time as a peace-maker, assisting others who made imprudent decisions to cherish wholesome values and self-respect and how to diffuse conflict. This he says involves “leaning on God rather than making split decisions.”His gratitude is such that he rarely says “good-by” to even a complete stranger without a god-bless-you, and he has learned the value of forgiveness and patience. As Rick said: “God is merciful and patient with me, and I’m going to work hard to be the same toward others.”Refusing to neglect his gift to sing, Rick never allowed rust or dust to settle, but he continued to practice, employing original vocal techniques while rehearsing and honing his top-flight vocal prowess. He was eager to share his special gift with inmates, using the same approaches and techniques he utilized when leading Tower Of Power to sold-out audiences and international recognition.Before his parole in 2012, Rick committed to spread his message of redemption to those outside of prison walls wherever he travels while continuing to inspire countless juveniles and parolees to take control of their lives through “course correction.” He serves as an experienced counselor to young and old, all who face growing obstacles on their travel through life’s maze. He boasts jokingly that he has a “P.H.D. from the school of hard knocks.” “I had to go to prison before I could grow up,” he told a dear close friend.Rick’s influence on the music world is still reverberating since he first signed with Warner Brothers in 1970s. And little could his uncle, Texas bluesman Ivory Joe Hunter (“Since I Met You Baby”) have imagined that one day his nephew would be as successful as he was — selling more records — and that he would record and perform some of the most popular songs of the 20th Century that would be re-recorded by others in the 21st Century.Rick’s rollercoaster journey is evidence that others who have faltered badly can pick themselves up, resurrect a productive life, and get back in the race no matter how far they have fallen.Of course, few have had the kind of success and recognition that Rick experienced, but as he says with conviction: “Success is not how much money you have; it’s how much love you have.” He points to many success stories that we know all too well, of people who were down and out but who took a stand by refusing to lay down and give up. As his national press agent said to him: “Success is not how people feel about you, but how you feel about you.”Reflecting back on his privileged career as one of the world’s most respected lead singers and how it all came to a crashing halt is a true-life story that is in some ways mind-boggling, and it is one that will touch even the most stoic observerIn a series of radio interviews in 2016, Rick’s story has had a profound affect on DJ’s from coast to coast, and one common question is whether a book or a film chronicling his journey will be forthcoming. This is where you come Walter Mosley comes in. If there is interest, you can handle it exclusively.How after decades a humbled and broken star was able to reassemble his life and reunite with those whom he loved most — his 10 children,7 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren and other relatives and precious friends — is one for the ages.As mentioned at the onset, 3 men lost their lives over a botched drug deal that sent Rick away (Rick was the trigger man). The 3 men and Rick were wasted on drugs, and Rick’s dependency on heroin and other illegal substances undoubtedly led to his irascible behavior that regrettable day, exacerbated by his 3 assailants’ taunting provocations.While in prison, Rick never lost sight of what was happening outside, and he focused especially on the ever-changing music and entertainment scenes.
When he first lost his freedom, rap and hip-hop were hardly embryos, and few network television shows featured eclectic and socially diverse casts.Upon his return to freedom, however, he was able to witness firsthand many talented rising stars (Michael Jackson, Madonna, Whitney Houston, etc). Sadly, more than a few talented entertainers fell to similar vices that hurtled Rick’s sprouting career into near oblivion.Musically speaking, Soul Train and Bandstand were at their crest and record stores were on every corner. Today, with the advent of the Internet, the music industry is nothing as it was when Rick fell from grace.Today, Rick’s admirers include many international performers. They include members of War, The Miracles, Sly Stone, Sheila E and Pete Escovedo, and more.Many new artists aren’t familiar with the name Rick Stevens, but they quickly recognize the resonance that seems to envelope them when they hear the songs he popularized. And when they first see his face and wavy locks — although he looks familiar — they can’t quite place him. And then they put it all together.
If there is another positive result from Rick’s misfortune, it is that the door opened for Lenny Williams to replace him and sing lead on Tower Of Power’s 1973 self-titled album, giving life to another fine career.With African American/Italian roots, Rick draws audiences at his events from all sectors of the entertainment specter, which goes a long way in contributing to the success he presently enjoys.In today’s fractured and terror-filled world, things are quite different politically and technologically than when Rick was atop of the music world. No longer can we walk into an airport, buy a ticket on the spot, and board a flight. “The world can be a sad place,” Rick laments. “Good entertainment can bring a little joy back,” he concluded.By Phil Brown