Happy Birthday to Steve Winwood who celebrates his 69th birthday today (May 12th)!!! Winwood has been a working musician nearly all of his life having joined the Spencer Davis Group band in 1963 at the age of 15. Two years later the band released their debut album, titled Their First LP. Though Spencer Davis led the band, Winwood was the group’s unmistakable star, and hits like “Gimme Some Lovin'” and “I’m A Man” established Winwood, then called “Little Stevie Winwood,” as one of the most popular singers in Britain, and was often referred to as the “white” Ray Charles.
In 1967, he quit the Spencer Davis Group to form the more experimental Traffic with former Spencer Davis Group roadie Dave Mason, Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood. The group released two albums before breaking up. Winwood then hooked up with former Cream members Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker, as well as former Family member Rick Gretch, to form the short-lived supergroup Blind Faith. That band lasted less than a year, after which Winwood reformed Traffic.
By 1977, Traffic had split again and Winwood kicked off a more pop-oriented solo career, racking up numerous hits over the next decade, with such songs as “While You See A Chance,” “Talking Back To The Night,” “Back In The High Life,” “Higher Love,” “The Finer Things,” “Valerie,” “Freedom Overspill” and “Roll With It,” among others.
In 2008 Winwood released his first new album in five years, called Nine Lives. The album received good reviews and featured Clapton’s guitar work on the lead single “Dirty City.”
In 2009, Winwood and Clapton released the deluxe CD/DVD Clapton & Winwood: Live From Madison Square Garden. The set, which features tracks recorded during the pair’s two-date New York City stand in February 2008, includes such favorites from Blind Faith’s first and last album, including “Had To Cry Today,” “Presence Of The Lord,” “Sleeping In The Ground” and “Well, All Right.”
The duo tears through the Clapton classics “Forever Man”, “Cocaine,” “Double Trouble” and “After Midnight” — along with such Winwood and Traffic favorites as “Dear Mr. Fantasy” “Glad,” and “Pearly Queen.”
In 2011, Winwood released a career-spanning four-CD collection called Revolutions: The Very Best Of Steve Winwood. The set covers Winwood’s Grammy-award-winning solo career, along with his work with the Spencer Davis Group, Blind Faith, and Traffic.
A single-disc version featured such Winwood classics as “Keep On Running,” “Gimme Some Lovin’,” “I’m A Man” with the Spencer Davis Group; “Paper Sun,” “No Face, No Name, No Number,” and “Dear Mr. Fantasy” with Traffic; “Can’t Find My Way Home” by Blind Faith; as well as his ’80s solo hits “While You See A Chance,” “Valerie,” “Higher Love,” “Back In The High Life,” “Roll With It” — and the recent “Dirty City” featuring Clapton from his 2008 Nine Lives collection.
We asked Steve Winwood if he’s at all worried that his solo gigs will be overlooked as he becomes the go-to-guy opening act for such A-list peers as Rod Stewart, Santana, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, and Steely Dan: “It’s interesting. Y’know, I think there’s something to be said for both. And then of course before that I was out with the Tom Petty tour, which was a success. But I think it was . . . I think it worked in conjunction with my shows. I wouldn’t like to think that that was the only thing I was doing. I still like the idea of doing my shows as well. So, I think it sort of broadens the view of my music, I should think.”
September 14 – San Diego, CA – Humphrey’s Concerts By The Bay
Septenber 16 – Denver, CO – Ellie Caulkins Opera House
September 17 – Telluride, CO – Telluride Town Park
Photo Courtesy of PRPhotos.com