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Steve Winwood

Steve Winwood
Winwood playing at the Cropredy Festival, August 2009
Background information
Birth name Stephen Lawrence Winwood
Born (1948-05-12) 12 May 1948
Handsworth, Birmingham, England
Genres Rock, progressive rock, blue-eyed soul, blues rock, psychedelic rock, jazz fusion, soft rock[1]
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter, producer
Instruments Vocals, keyboards, guitar, bass guitar, drums, mandolin, violin
Years active 1963–present
Labels Island, Virgin, Wincraft Music, Columbia
Associated acts Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, Blind Faith, Eric Clapton, Jim Capaldi, Ginger Baker's Air Force, Billy Joel
Website .com.stevewinwoodwww
Notable instruments

Stephen Lawrence "Steve" Winwood (born 12 May 1948) is an English musician whose genres include rock, blue-eyed soul, rhythm and blues, blues rock, pop rock, and jazz. Though primarily a vocalist and keyboardist, Winwood also plays bass guitar, drums, guitar, mandolin, violin, and other strings.

Winwood was a key member of The Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, Blind Faith and Go. He also had a successful solo career with hits including "Valerie", "Back in the High Life Again" and two US Billboard Hot 100 number ones: "Higher Love" and "Roll with It". He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Traffic in 2004.[2]

In 2005 Winwood was honoured as a BMI Icon at the annual BMI London Awards for his "enduring influence on generations of music makers."[3] In 2008, Rolling Stone ranked Winwood #33 in its 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.[4] Winwood has won two Grammy Awards. He was nominated twice for the Brit Award for Best British Male Artist: 1988 and 1989.[5][6]


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
    • Early years 2.1
    • Blind Faith and Traffic 2.2
    • Solo career 2.3
  • Group work 3
  • Personal life 4
  • Discography 5
    • Solo 5.1
    • Spencer Davis Group 5.2
    • Traffic 5.3
    • Blind Faith 5.4
    • Ginger Baker's Air Force 5.5
    • Go 5.6
    • Session work 5.7
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life

Stephen Lawrence Winwood was born in Great Barr at the northern edge of the city.[7]


Early years

Stevie Winwood (1970)

While he was still a pupil at the guitar, backing blues singers such as Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, T-Bone Walker, Howlin' Wolf, B.B. King, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Eddie Boyd, Otis Spann, Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley on their United Kingdom tours, the custom at that time being for US singers to travel solo and be backed by pickup bands. At this time, Winwood was living on Atlantic Road in Great Barr, close to the Birmingham music halls where he played. Winwood modelled his singing after Ray Charles.[7]

Winwood joined the

  • Official website
  • Albums that Winwood guested on and/or produced
  • Steve Winwood & Eric Clapton live@ Bucharest (review)
  • Steve Winwood at AllMusic
  • Steve Winwood at the Internet Movie Database

External links

  1. ^ "'"Winwood Gives Hub Some Lovin. Steve Winwood. Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  2. ^ "Traffic". Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  3. ^ "BMI Honors Top European Writers, Publishers at 2005 London Awards; Steve Winwood Named a BMI Icon". Retrieved 2010-09-15. 
  4. ^ "The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2009-06-13. Steve Winwood exploded onto the London music scene as a teenager with his powerful, soulful tenor — notably on "Gimme Some Lovin'" and "I'm a Man" with the Spencer Davis Group. 
  5. ^ "1988 Brit Awards". Awards & Winners. Retrieved 5 August 2015. 
  6. ^ "1989 Brit Awards". Awards & Winners. Retrieved 6 August 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c Steve Winwood: English Soul", BBC4, broadcast 25 February 2011""". BBC. Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  8. ^ Clayson, Alan (1988). Back in the High Life. Sidgewick and Jackson.  
  9. ^ "It's 'About Time' for Steve Winwood". BBC. Retrieved 2007-08-19. 
  10. ^ "100 Greatest Singers of All Time". Rolling Stone. (Winwood exploded onto the London music scene as a teenager with his powerful, soulful tenor). "I thought he had the greatest voice," said  
  11. ^ Steve Winwood interviewed on the Pop Chronicles (1970)
  12. ^ a b "Traffic". Retrieved 2008-03-04. 
  13. ^ Traffic Biography AllMusic
  14. ^ "The Traffic Cottage at Aston-Tirrold at". Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  15. ^ "Steve's still winning nine lives later". Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  16. ^ Black, Johnny (May 1997). Feature: Steve Winwood, Mojo.
  17. ^ "The Pop Life; Steve Winwood Returns To Make The Juices Flow".  
  18. ^ "TRAFFIC". Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  19. ^ "Traffic - Awards - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  20. ^ "Steve Winwood profile". Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  21. ^ "Legendary superstar Steve Winwood to release Nine Lives". Retrieved 13 June 2009. 
  22. ^ "Columbia UK". Columbia UK. Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  23. ^ "Madonna Leads Busy Billboard 200 With 7th No. 1".  
  24. ^ "Steve Winwood Fans' Site: Smiling Phases Compendium". Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  25. ^ "Daily Record & Sunday Mail - Scotland's Newspaper". dailyrecord. Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  26. ^ Cheal, David (22 May 2007). "Rock's aristocrats show their class".  
  27. ^ (7 May 2008). Steve Winwood Enjoys his Highest Chart Debut & Best First Week's Sales of the SoundScan era, PR Newswire.
  28. ^ "Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood at the Bowl".  
  29. ^ No Hiding Place", Mojo Magazine, May 1997""". 24 October 1998. Retrieved 7 April 2013. 
  30. ^ Ayers, Tia. "Steve Winwood & Eugenia Crafton". proposalmagazine. Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  31. ^ True Brit", In Style, October 1997""". 22 October 1997. Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  32. ^ Benjamin, Scott (11 February 2009). "A Rock Legend Living The High Life". cbsnews. Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  33. ^ "The Rightful Heir?". Q Magazine #48. September 1990. Retrieved 2011-07-23. 


Session work


Ginger Baker's Air Force

Blind Faith

See Traffic discography


See The Spencer Davis Group discography

Spencer Davis Group

Winwood at the Hangout Music Festival, May 2012



Winwood now lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife Eugenia Crafton, whom he married in 1987. They have four children and own a 300-year-old manor house in the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire, England.[30][31][32]

Between 1978 and 1986 Winwood was married to Nicole Weir (d. 2005), who had contributed background vocals to some of his early solo work. The two married at Cheltenham Register Office.[29]

Personal life

In May 2007, Winwood performed in support of the pro-Countryside Alliance in a concert at Highclere Castle, joining fellow rock artists Bryan Ferry, Eric Clapton, Steve Harley and Kenney Jones.[26] In July 2007, Winwood performed with Clapton in the latter's Crossroads Guitar Festival. Among the songs they played together were "Presence of the Lord" and "Can't Find My Way Home" from their Blind Faith days. Winwood played several guitar leads in a six song set. The two continued their collaboration with three sold-out nights at Madison Square Garden in New York City in February 2008.[27] On 19 February 2008 Winwood and Clapton released a collaborative EP through iTunes titled Dirty City. Clapton and Winwood released a CD and DVD of their Madison Square Garden shows and then toured together in the summer of 2009.[28]

The Steve Winwood Band in 2009 on tour

In 2005, his Soundstage Performances DVD was released, featuring recent work from the About Time album along with prior hits including "Back in the High Life". Winwood also performed hits from his days with Traffic as well as current recordings. In 2005, he accepted an invitation from 2008 Grammy Award winner Back to Basics, called "Makes Me Wanna Pray".

In 2003, Winwood released a new studio album, About Time on his new record label, Wincraft Music. 2004 saw his 1982 song "Valerie" used by Eric Prydz in a song called "Call on Me". It spent five weeks at #1 on the UK singles chart. Winwood heard an early version of Prydz's remix and liked it so much, he not only gave permission to use the song, he re-recorded the samples for Prydz to use.[25]

In 1994, Capaldi and Winwood reunited Traffic for a new album, Far From Home, and a tour, including a performance at Woodstock '94 Festival. That same year, Winwood appeared on the A Tribute To Curtis Mayfield CD, recording Mayfield's "It's All Right". In 1995 and 1996, Winwood released Reach for the Light for the animated film Balto. In 1997, Winwood released a new album, Junction Seven, toured the US and sang with Chaka Khan at the VH-1 Honors.[24] In 1998, Winwood joined Tito Puente, Arturo Sandoval, Ed Calle and other musicians to form the band "Latin Crossings" for a European tour, after which they split without making any recordings. Winwood also appeared in the film Blues Brothers 2000, as a member of the Louisiana Gator Boys, appearing on stage with Isaac Hayes, Eric Clapton, and KoKo Taylor at the battle of the bands competition.

Winwood in Knoxville, Tennessee (2005)

Group work

A new studio album, Nine Lives, was released 29 April 2008 by Wincraft Music through Columbia Records.[21][22] The album opened at #12 on the Billboard 200 album chart,[23] his highest US debut ever. In 2008, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Berklee College of Music to add to his honorary degree from Aston University, Birmingham. On 28 March 2012 Winwood was one of Roger Daltrey's special guest stars for "An Evening with Roger Daltrey and Friends" gig, in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust at the Royal Albert Hall. In 2013 Winwood toured North America with Rod Stewart as part of the "Live the Life" tour. In 2014, Winwood toured North America with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.

All these albums were released on Island Records. However, at the peak of his commercial success, Winwood moved to Virgin Records and released Roll with It and Refugees of the Heart. The album Roll with It and the title track hit #1 on the USA album and singles charts in the summer of 1988. Another album with Virgin, Far from Home, was officially credited to Traffic, but nearly all the instruments were played by Winwood. Despite lacking a significant hit, it broke the top 40 in both the UK and USA.[18][19] His final Virgin album Junction Seven also broke the UK top 40,[20] but was Winwood's first commercial flop in the United States.

In 1986 he moved to New York. There he enlisted the help of a coterie of stars to record Back in the High Life in the US, and the album was a hit. He topped the Billboard Hot 100 with "Higher Love", and earned two Grammy Awards: for Record of the Year and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. Winwood embarked on an extensive tour of North America in support of the album.[17]

Weariness with the grind of touring and recording prompted Winwood to leave Traffic and retire to sessioning for some years.[16] Under pressure from Island Records, he resurfaced with his self-titled first solo album in 1977. This was followed by his 1980 hit Arc of a Diver (which included his first solo hit, "While You See a Chance") and Talking Back to the Night in 1982. Both albums were recorded at his home in Gloucestershire with Winwood playing all instruments. He continued to do sessions during this period, and in 1983 he co-produced and played on Jim Capaldi's top 40 hit "That's Love" and co-wrote the Will Powers top 20 hit "Kissing with Confidence".

Solo career

Winwood formed the supergroup Blind Faith in 1969 with Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Ric Grech.[15] The band was short-lived owing to Clapton's greater interest in Blind Faith's opening act Delaney & Bonnie & Friends—Clapton left the band at tour's end. However, Baker, Winwood and Grech stayed together to form Ginger Baker's Air Force. The lineup consisted of 3/4 of Blind Faith (without Clapton, who was replaced by Denny Laine), 2/3 of Traffic (Winwood and Chris Wood, minus Capaldi) plus musicians who interacted with Baker in his early days, including Phil Seamen, Harold McNair, John Blood and Graham Bond. However, the project turned out to be just another short-lived one. Winwood soon went into the studio to begin work on a new solo album, tentatively titled Mad Shadows. However, Winwood ended up calling in Wood and Capaldi to help with session work, which prompted Traffic's comeback album John Barleycorn Must Die in 1970. In 1972, Winwood recorded the part of Captain Walker in the highly successful orchestral version of The Who's Tommy. He recorded a 1973 album with Remi Kabaka, Aiye-Keta, for Antilles Records, and in 1976 provided vocals and keyboards on Go, a concept album by Japanese composer Stomu Yamashta. In 1976, Winwood also played guitar on the Fania All StarsDelicate and Jumpy record and performed as a guest with the band in their only UK appearance, a sold-out concert at the Lyceum Theatre, London.

Winwood with Traffic

Blind Faith and Traffic

Early in Traffic's formation, Winwood and Capaldi formed a songwriting partnership, with Winwood writing music to match Capaldi's lyrics. This partnership was the source of most of Traffic's material, including popular songs such as "Paper Sun" and "The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys", and outlived the band, producing several songs for Winwood and Capaldi's solo albums. Over the band's history, Winwood performed the majority of their lead vocals, keyboard instruments, and guitars. He also frequently played bass and percussion up to and including the recording sessions for their fourth album.

During this time Winwood joined forces with guitarist Eric Clapton as part of the one-off group Eric Clapton and the Powerhouse. Songs were recorded for the Elektra label, but only three tracks made the compilation album, What's Shakin'. Winwood co-wrote and recorded the hits "Gimme Some Lovin'" and "I'm a Man" before leaving the Spencer Davis Group. Winwood met drummer Jim Capaldi, guitarist Dave Mason, and multi-instrumentalist Chris Wood when they jammed together at The Elbow Room, a club in Aston, Birmingham.[12] After Winwood left the Spencer Davis Group in April 1967, the quartet formed Traffic.[13] Soon thereafter, they rented a cottage near the rural village of Aston Tirrold, Berkshire (now Oxfordshire) to write and rehearse new music.[12] The period at the cottage proved important in the band's development.[14]


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