Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

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DAVIS, Spencer

(b '39, Birmingham, England) Guitar, backup vocals. Former teacher formed Spencer Davis Group playing R&B style in Birmingham '64; incl. Stevie Winwood and brother Muff Winwood on bass (Muff later became head of A&R at CBS UK, prod. Dire Straits debut LP), Peter York on drums. Ten top 40 hits '64--8 incl. 'Keep On Runnin' ' '65, 'Somebody Help Me' '66, both no. 1; 'Gimme Some Loving' no. 2 '66, 'I'm A Man' no. 9 '67. LPs on Fontana incl. Autumn '66; Winwood's songs, keyboard and bluesy voice were singled out by critics: he left '67 to form Traffic, replaced by Eddie Hardin. Others passing through incl. Ray Fenwick on guitars and vocals, Dee Murray on bass (later with Elton John), Dave Hynes, drums. Minor hits '67--8; LPs on UA incl. With Their New Face On '68. Davis went to USA '70, formed acoustic duo '71, worked with blues legend Fred McDowell, tried reunion of SPG with York '73; worked with Rolling Stones prod. Jimmy Miller early '80s (Miller d 22 Oct. '94 aged 52 in Denver of liver failure). Other LPs: Letters From Edith '70 on CBS; It's Been So Long '71 with Peter Jameson, solo Mousetrap '72 on UA; Giuggo '73 and Living In A Back Street '74 on Vertigo. Greatest And Latest '86 on Pro Acoustic was remakes of hits. All 51 tracks with Winwood issued in a set on Island '96 as Eight Gigs A Week: The Steve Winwood Years.