Steve Winwood Reacts To Spencer Davis’ Death
Spencer Davis, founder of mid-’60s British Invasion band the Spencer Davis Group, died of a heart attack today at the age of 81. And now Steve Winwood, who played guitar and sang in the Spencer Davis Group before forming Traffic and finding success as a solo artist, has shared an official statement on his website paying tribute to his former bandmate.
“I’ve known Spencer since I was about 13 — he would have been about 22,” Winwood begins. “I was playing a show at Birmingham University with my brother and his band. Spencer who was a student at Birmingham, was playing with a small group of musicians. We met and the the seeds of The Spencer Davis Group were sown.”
“Spencer was an early pioneer of the British folk scene, which, in his case embraced folk blues, and eventually what was then called ‘Rhythm and Blues,'” the statement continues. “He influenced my tastes in music, he owned the first 12-string guitar I ever saw, and he was taken with the music of Huddie ‘Lead belly’ Ledbetter, and Big Bill Broonzy. I’d already got a big brother who influenced me greatly, and Spencer became like a big brother to me at the time.”
“He was definitely a man with a vision, and one of the pioneers of the British invasion of America in the sixties. I never went to the US with Spencer, but he later embraced America, and America embraced him,” Winwood concludes. “I feel that he was influential in setting me on the road to becoming a professional musician, and I thank him for that. Thank you, Spencer.”