Happy Birthday to Steve Winwood who celebrates his 67th 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.”
- Winwood, who just wrapped a solo headlining run, has always included new material in his concert setlists, but he promises that he’ll never be one of those performers that ignores his classic hits in concert: “I mean, let’s not fool ourselves, a part of what I do is what is known as the heritage music business. But I do try and reinvent some of those old songs as well, I mean I do them in the style of band that I’ve got, so that we get a bit of a world-music slant, which songs like ‘Gimme Some Lovin’,’ ‘I’m A Man,’ lend themselves to. We do a slightly Latin-ized version of ‘Higher Love.'”
- 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.
- In 2012, Winwood’s second solo album, 1980’s Arc Of A Diver, was given the deluxe reissue treatment including a second bonus disc including rare tracks, along with the BBC Radio 2 documentary entitled Arc Of A Diver: The Steve Winwood Story.
- In 2013, Winwood — who has served as the opening act in recent years for Santana and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers — opening a series of North American shows for old friend Rod Stewart.
Check out Winwood’s solo performance of Blind faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home”: