First Post-Prison Gig For Original Tower of Power Lead Singer

Rick Stevens to sing Thursday after 36 years in prison.

After 36 years behind bars, Rick Stevens is ready to sing.

The former frontman for Oakland's legendary funk and soul ensemble Tower of Power was released from prison six months ago, and will perform for the first time since the 1970s at Bimbo's in San Francisco on Thursday, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Stevens, whose original name is Donald Stevenson, sang the vocals on such hits as "You're Still A Young Man" as the horn-heavy TOP churned out hits throughout the 1970s -- and also familiarized itself with the seedy underbelly of the drug world, the newspaper reported.

Stevens was a few years removed from TOP when he found himself owing money to several drug dealers. He was convicted of manslaughter and was initially sentenced to death. He kicked a drug habit cold turkey in the penitentiary, he claims.

He lives now in Antioch with his eldest son.

The murder was once dubbed by the Seattle Times as one of history's "Most Notorious Rock 'n' Roll Murders," the newspaper reported.

Stevens says he passed the time in prison by educating himself, and also said that his status as a famous singer helped him avoid trouble.

"Music served me well," Stevens told the newspaper. "It was a blessing. I could walk among the Crips, the Bloods, the Nortenos, the Skinheads, bikers."

For tickets to the Thursday show, which will help benefit autism, call 415-285-7719 or visit

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