The Spencer Davis Group was an English R&B/beat band from Birmingham, fronted by teenage singer–keyboardist Steve Winwood. Signed to Fontana, they released three albums during 1965–66 comprised mostly of blues and soul covers. Though the band was democratic, they made guitarist/singer Spencer Davis their namesake because he was the only member willing to field journalists.
They scored a UK hit with “Keep On Running,” then broke internationally with Winwood’s exuberant soul-rockers “Gimme Some Lovin'” and “I’m a Man,” both evergreens of the British Invasion. After his departure to Traffic, they hired organist/singer Eddie Hardin and psyched up for the 1968 UA album With Their New Face On. He and drummer Pete York subsequently recorded as Hardin and York.
Winwood released nine albums with Traffic and partook in two supergroups (Blind Faith, Go), then launched a highly successful solo career. His brother, bassist Muff Winwood, produced ’70s albums by Patto, Russ Ballard, Mott the Hoople, Sparks, Deaf School, the Fabulous Poodles, Burlesque, and Dire Straits.
Members: Spencer Davis (guitar, vocals), Pete York (drums, 1963-69, 1973-74, 1984-85, 1988-2006), Steve Winwood (lead vocals, piano, organ, guitar, 1963-67), Muff Winwood (bass, vocals, 1963-67), Eddie Hardin (lead vocals, organ, 1967-69, 1973-74, 2002-15), Phil Sawyer (lead guitar, 1967-68), Ray Fenwick (lead guitar, vocals, 1968-69, 1973-74), Dee Murray (lead guitar, 1969), Dave Hynes (drums, 1969), Nigel Olsson (drums, 1969), Charlie McCracken (bass, 1973-74), Colin Hodgkinson (bass, vocals, 1984-85, 1988-present), Miller Anderson (guitar, vocals, 1985-present), Neal Morse (organ, piano, keyboards, vocals, 1985-88), Derol Caraco (bass, 1985-88), Simeon Pillich (lead guitar, 1985-88), Steve Klong (drums, percussion, 1985-88), Zoot Money (keyboards, vocals, 1988), Wolfgang Dalheimer (keyboards, organ, 1997-2001), Steff Porzel (drums, 2006-present),
They formed in early 1963 as the Spencer Davis R&B Quartet when Welsh-born guitarist–singer Davis (1939–2020) teamed with drummer Pete York (b. 1942) and two Midlands brothers: bassist Muff Winwood (b. 1943) and keyboardist–singer Steve Winwood (b. May 12, 1948), who was 14 at the time of inception. Davis spotted the brothers performing as the Muff Woody Jazz Band at the Golden Eagle pub in Birmingham.
The new band gigged the Brummie club circuit and drew the attention of Chris Blackwell, the founder of Island Records, then a small sublet of Fontana. Muff suggested their group moniker on the premise that Davis, the only member who enjoyed interviews, could field the press while the others slept in each morning after shows.
On May 22, 1964, the Spencer Davis Group debuted with the single “Dimples,” a John Lee Hooker cover backed with the Davis original “Sittin’ and Thinkin’.”
The Spencer Davis Group’s summer ’64 tour stops included dates with The Clayton Squares (6/28: Beat City, London), The Pitmen (9/12: Attic Club, Hounslow), and the American soul duo Charlie & Inez Foxx (7/2: Cavern Club, Liverpool). The duo joined SDG for a July 7 Attic Club show with Irish R&B–beatsters Them.
“I Can’t Stand It”
On October 9, 1964, the Spencer Davis Group dropped their second single “I Can’t Stand It,” backed with “Midnight Train.”
“I Can’t Stand It” is a 1964 song by American composer Smokey McAllister — aka Maurice McAlister of Chess soul group The Radiants and its spinoff, Maurice & Mac. American duo the Soul Sisters cut the first version of “I Can’t Stand It,” which was also recorded as a duet between Betty Everett & Jerry Butler. The song was subsequently covered by Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers and Minneapolis garage rockers The Underbeats (a precursor to Gypsy).
“Midnight Train” is a song by UK jazz clarinetist Alvin Roy, co-credited to one Gerry Hicks.
In November, the Spencer Davis Group embarked on the Rhythm and Blues UK Tour: a six-date package tour (11/18–23) with Manfred Mann, The Downliners Sect, The Mark Leeman Five, Blues By Five, The Soul Sisters, Bern Elliott & His Klan, and Wayne Gibson & The Dynamic Sound. On December 405, SDG did a two-nighter with The Keys at Newcastle’s Club a Go Go.
“Every Little Bit Hurts”
On February 5, 1965, the Spencer Davis Group dropped their third single “Every Little Bit Hurts,” a Brenda Holloway cover backed with the Steve Winwood original “It Hurts Me So.”
Holloway cut the first version of “Every Little Bit Hurts” in 1964 on Motown. Four Preps singer Ed Cobb wrote the song, which also received mid-sixties covers by Aretha Franklin, Petula Clark, and Small Faces.
Their version of “Every Little Bit Hurts” placed just outside the UK Top 40 but reached No. 9 on the Canadian singles chart.
The Spencer Davis Group’s winter–spring activities included dates with The Vagabonds (5/9: Blue Moon, Hayes) and headline slots at London’s prestigious Marquee Club with openers The Mark Leeman Five (3/1) and Julian Covey & The Machine (5/4).
On May 21, 1965, the Spencer Davis Group dropped their fourth single “Strong Love,” an R&B cover backed with “This Hammer,” a group-credited original.
“Strong Love” was co-written by American music executives Don Robey, Eddie Silvers, and singer Maxine Brown. It was also recorded in 1965 by The Malibus, a Houston soul quartet on Robey’s Sure-Shot label.
Their First LP
The Spencer Davis Group released their debut album, Their First LP, in June 1966 on Fontana. It contains their first three a-sides (“Dimples,” “I Can’t Stand It,” “Every Little Bit Hurts”) and b-sides (“Sittin’ and Thinkin’,” “Midnight Train,” “It Hurts Me So”), plus the new Steve Winwood original “Here Right Now.”
Their First LP also contains covers of songs by Rufus Thomas (“Jump Back”), The Coasters (“Searchin”’), The Righteous Brothers (“My Babe”), Ike & Tina Turner (“It’s Gonna Work Out Fine”), and The Ikettes (“I’m Blue (Gong Gong Song)”).
“My Babe” (2:41) is a song by Bobby Hatfield and Bill Medley — aka the Righteous Brothers, who cut their own 1963 version prior to the breakout success of their 1964 Phil Spector-produced single “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’.”
“Searchin‘” is a song by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller that became a 1957 rock ‘n’ roll hit for the American doo-wop quartet The Coasters.
“I’m Blue (Gong Gong Song)” (2:45) is a song by Ike Turner, first cut as a single in November 1961 by Ike & Tina’s backing vocal trio The Ikettes.
“Sittin’ and Thinkin’” (3:00) Dutch Fontana lifted “Sittin’ and Thinkin'” as a single (b/w “Dimples”).
“Here Right Now” (3:15)
“Jump Back” (1:47) is a song that Rufus Thomas first cut as a 1964 single on Stax.
“It’s Gonna Work Out Fine” (3:06) is a song by Joe Seneca and Rose Marie McCoy, first recorded in 1960 by Mickey & Sylvia (unreleased) but first issued by Ike & Tina Turner on their 1962 album Dynamite! Fontana New Zealand lifted this song in July 1967 as the album’s fifth a-side (b/w “Searchin”’).
Chris Blackwell produced the album in sequence with singles by Jackie Edwards and fellow rocksteady artists (Ernest Ranglin, Keith & Enid) signed to Island, which at this stage functioned as a UK outlet for Antillean artists. Their First LP reached No. 6 on the UK Albums Chart.
The Spencer Davis Group promoted Their First LP with their June–July Marquee residency with openers The Mark Leeman Five. On June 19, SDG played the Uxbridge Blues and Folk Festival, a one-day event with sets by Cliff Bennett & the Rebel Rousers, The Who, John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, Marianne Faithfull, Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band, Long John Baldry & the Hoochie Coochie Men, The Birds, Solomon Burke, and The Ray Martin Group.
In August, the Spencer Davis Group played the 5th National Jazz & Blues Festival, a three-day event at the Richmond Athletic Association Grounds with sets by the Albert Mangelsdorff Quintet, the Dick Morrissey Group, Gary Farr & the T-Bones, Georgie Fame & the Blueflames, the Graham Bond Organization, The Moody Blues, Ronnie Scott, The Who, and The Yardbirds. SDG played on the third day (August 8) along with The Animals, Long John Baldry, and Steampacket (a collective of Rod Stewart, Julie Driscoll and Brian Auger & Trinity). For the weekend finale, Steve Winwood joined Farr, Baldry, Stewart, and Animals bassist Chas Chandler for an impromptu set dubbed the ‘Special Festival Big Soul Band Session.’
You Put The Hurt On Me (EP)
In August 1965, the Spencer Davis Group released You Put The Hurt On Me, a four-song EP with covers of songs by Prince La La (“She Put the Hurt On Me”), Jimmy Hughes (“I’m Getting Better”), Ray Charles (“Drown in My Own Tears”), and the original “Goodbye Stevie”
“She Put the Hurt On Me” is a 1962 song by Lawrence Nelson (1936–63), and up-and-coming New Orleans songwriter who cut his own version under the stagename Prince La La on AFO Records. It rose to No. 28 on the Billboard R&B chart, buoyed by press photos of the singer in exotic robes. Months after the song’s chart peak, Nelson died under mysterious circumstances at age 27.
“I’m Getting Better” is a song by country songwriter Ed Bruce that Alabama soul singer Jimmy Hughes recorded as a 1964 a-side on the Muscle Shoals Fame label.
“I’ll Drown In My Tears” is a 1951 R&B tune by American songwriter Henry Glover; first recorded by soul-gospel singer Lula Reed and made famous by Ray Charles, whose 1956 version topped the Billboard R&B singles chart. On the EP liner notes, Chris Blackwell describes “I’ll Drown In My Tears” as “probably his (Steve’s) most popular number on stage.”
“Goodbye Stevie” is credited here as a Steve Winwood composition (it would later be credited to the group).
You Put The Hurt On Me appeared in the UK, New Zealand, and Sweden. It reached No. 4 on the UK chart.
The Spencer Davis Group played September dates with The Soundtrekkers (9/10: California Ballroom, Dunstable) and the Bo Street Runners (9/16: Marquee). On Friday the 24th, SDG appeared at Finsbury Park Astoria as part of a multi-act event with The Rolling Stones, Ray Cameron, Unit Four + Two, Charles Dickens & The Habits, The End, and The Checkmates. They embarked on a three-night trek (Sept. 30–Oct. 2) with the Stones and the Moodies, playing two shows each night in Hanley, Chester, and Wigan. On October 27, SDG played Newcastle’s Majestic Ballroom with the Alan Price Set and the Dedicated Men’s Jug Band.
“Keep on Running”
On November 26, 1965, the Spencer Davis Group dropped their fifth single “Keep on Running,” an R&B cover backed with “High Time Baby,” an original by Davis and the Winwood brothers.
“Keep on Running” is a song by Island staff writer Jackie Edwards, an expat Jamaican rocksteady singer who first recorded it for his 1965 album Come on Home.
“Keep on Running” reached No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart and also went Top 10 in Ireland (No. 3), Germany (No. 8), the Netherlands (No. 7), and New Zealand (No. 4).
The Spencer Davis Group performed “Keep on Running” for the December 10 broadcast of the ITV music program Ready Steady Go!, which aired the song amid current hits by The Kinks (“Till the End of the Day”) and The McCoys (“Hang on Sloopy”). SDG also mimed their hit on the Dec. 16 episode of the BBC music show Top of the Pops, which aired them in succession with charting songs by The Walker Brothers (“My Ship Is Coming In”) and The Beatles (“Day Tripper”). The German music show Beat-Club aired a performance clip of “Keep On Running” on their March 26, 1966, broadcast.
The Second Album
The Spencer Davis Group released their second album, The Second Album, on January 7, 1966, on Fontana. It contains “Keep on Running” and both sides of their fourth single, “Strong Love” and “This Hammer,” plus “Hey Darling,” a new song by Davis and Steve Winwood.
The Second Album also contains covers of songs by The Impressions (“You Must Believe Me”), Garnet Mimms (“Look Away”), Ray Charles (“Georgia On My Mind”), Don Covay (“Please do Something”), Bettye LaVette (“Let Me Down Easy”), Stonewall Jackson (“I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water”), Ivory Joe Hunter (“Since I Met You Baby”), and Bobby Parker (“Watch Your Step”).
“Look Away” (2:45) was written by Norman Meade and Bert Russell. Mimms cut the song for a 1964 United Artists single.
“Georgia On My Mind” (4:44) is a 1930 song by Tin Pan Alley composers Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell. In 1960, Ray Charles had a Billboard No. 1 hit with the song.
“Please do Something” (2:27) was first cut in 1965 as an Atlantic single by Don Covay & the Goodtimes.
“Let Me Down Easy” (3:06) is a song by Dee Dee Ford that Bettye LaVette cut in 1965 for Calla Records, an independant NYC soul label.
“I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water” (2:38) is a song by Joe Babcock, recorded in 1965 by American country singer Stonewall Jackson, whose version reached No. 8 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart.
“Since I Met You Baby” (3:30) is a 1956 R&B song by American pianist Ivory Joe Hunter, covered in 1961 by Sam Cooke.
“You Must Believe Me” (2:49) is a song that Curtis Mayfield wrote and recorded with The Impressions as a 1964 a-side on ABC–Paramount.
“Hey Darling” (4:49)
“Watch Your Step” (2:57) is a 1961 song by American R&B guitarist Bobby Parker. Manfred Mann covered the song on their 1965 second album Mann Made.
Blackwell co-produced the album with London-based American soundman Jimmy Miller, who beforehand wrote songs for The Angolos (“Incense”) and Millie Small (“Tongue Tied”). The Second Album reached No. 3 on the UK Albums Chart.
The Spencer Davis Group promoted The Second Album on dates with the Alex Harvey Group (1/11: Marquee), The Skyliners (1/21: Redcar Jazz Club), The Motovations (1/29: Birdcage, Eastney), The Alley Cats (2/6: Agincourt Ballroom, Camberley), Bluesology (2/22: Marquee), Paul Fenton & The Crowd (3/3: Ram Jam, London), and the Jimmy Cliff Sound (3/8: Marquee).
On February 13, the Spencer Davis Group appeared at the Portsmouth Guildhall as part of a multi-act event with The Walker Brothers, Crispian St. Peters, The Sorrows, The Koobas, The Puppets, and Ray Cameron. On March 17, SDG played London’s Royal Albert Hall for the taping of “Where the Action Is,” a music special presented by American TV host Dick Clark. The show included sets by The Moody Blues, Yardbirds, Small Faces, The Mindbenders, Them, Unit 4 + 2, The Nashville Teens, The Zombies, and The Action.
“Somebody Help Me”
On March 18, 1966, the Spencer Davis Group dropped their sixth single “Somebody Help Me,” another Jackie Edwards composition; backed with the group original “Stevie’s Blues.”
“Somebody Help Me” became their second UK No. 1. It also reached the Top 5 in Germany (No. 3) and Ireland (No. 5) and entered the New Zealand Top 20. The Spencer Davis Group mimed it for the March 24 broadcast of TotP, which aired the song amid current hits by The Hollies (“It Can’t Let Go”), The Kinks (“Dedicated Follower of Fashion”), the Ramsey Lewis Trio (“A Hard Day’s Night”), and The Who (“Substitute”).
On March 19, the Spencer Davis Group played their first show in Wales at the Ritz Entertainments Club in Skewen with local acts The Iveys and Eyes of Blue. On April 3, SDG appeared at the Empire Pool, Wembley, as part of the “Record Star Show,” which also featured Cliff Richard & The Shadows, Moody Blues, Adam Faith, Georgie Fame, Billy J Kramer, Wayne Fontana, and Manfred Mann.
Also in March, Steve Winwood and Pete York cut three songs in Powerhouse, an ad hoc group assembled by outgoing Manfred Mann singer Paul Jones with Manfred’s temp bassist Jack Bruce (ex-Graham Bond Organization) and ex-Yardbirds guitarist Eric Clapton, a current Bluesbreaker. They cut three songs — covers of Memphis Slim (“Steppin’ Out”), Robert Johnson (“Crossroads”), and one Jones original (“I Want to Know,” written under the pseudonym Sheila McLeod) — for the 1966 Elektra release What’s Shakin’, a multi-artist comp with cuts by Al Kooper, The Lovin’ Spoonful, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and Tom Rush. This marked the first interaction of Bruce and Clapton, who soon formed the power-trio Cream with drummer Ginger Baker, Jack’s onetine GBO collegue.
SDG embarked on an eight-date package tour that involved two nightly shows (April 14–17, 22–25) with The Who, The New Merseys, Jimmy Cliff & the Sound System, Mike Sarne, Paul Dean & the Soul Savages, and Hamilton & Fruit Eating Bears. On May 29, SDG played Britannia Pier Theatre in Great Yarmouth with Pinkerton’s Assorted Colours, Barry Fontoni, and Ray Cameron & the Driftwood.
On Friday, July 29, the Spencer Davis Group played the 6th National Jazz and Blues Festival, which featured fellow acts from the prior year’s event (Gary Farr, The Who) and newcomers Cream, The Move, the Alan Bown Set, and Chris Farlowe & the Thunderbirds.
The Spencer Davis Group released their third album, Autumn ’66, on August 26, 1966, on Fontana. It features “Somebody Help Me” and the earlier b-side “High Time Baby,” plus one new original (“On the Green Light”) by Steve Winwood, who co-wrote “When I Come Home” with Jackie Edwards.
Autumn ’66 also contains covers of songs by Brenda Holloway (“Together ‘Til the End of Time”), Don Covay (“Take This Hurt Off Me”), Bessie Smith (“Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out”), Lead Belly (“Midnight Special”), Percy Sledge (“When a Man Loves a Woman”), Elvis Presley (“Mean Woman Blues”), Elmore James (“Dust My Blues”), and Jimmy Hughes (“Neighbour, Neighbour”).
“Together ‘Til the End of Time” (2:15) is a song by Frank Wilson that Brenda Holloway cut for a 1966 Tamla single.
“Take This Hurt Off Me” (2:44) is a song that Don Covay & the Goodtimes cut for their 1964 Atlantic album Mercy!, co-written by Ron Dean Miller.
“Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out” (3:52) is a 1923 Vaudeville-blues number by pianist Jimmy Cox, recorded in 1929 by blues singer Bessie Smith.
“Midnight Special” (2:13) is a traditional first published in 1923 and popularized in 1934 by American bluesman Lead Belly.
“When a Man Loves a Woman” (3:08) is a song by Andrew Wright and Calvin Lewis, first recorded in early 1966 by soul–gospel singer Percy Sledge, whose version topped the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts.
“When I Come Home” (2:04)
“Mean Woman Blues” (3:14) is a song by Claude Demetrius that Presley recorded for the 1957 film Loving You.
“Dust My Blues” (2:36) is a 1951 song by blues guitarist Elmore James, adopted from the 1936 song “I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom” by Delta bluesman Robert Johnson.
“On the Green Light” (3:05)
“Neighbour, Neighbour” (3:17) is a song by Houston music producer Huey P. Meaux (credited here as A.J. Valier) and recorded by Jimmy Hughes as a 1966 Fame single.
Blackwell produced the album amid singles by The Circles and The V.I.P.’s, two of the first UK rock acts signed to Island. Autumn ’66 reached No. 4 on the UK Albums Chart.
The same day Autumn ’66 hit shelves, Fontana lifted “When I Come Home” as the band’s seventh single, backed with the non-album “Trampoline,” a Steve Winwood original.
“When I Come Home” reached No. 12 on the UK Singles Chart and entered the German Top 20. The Spencer Davis Group mimed it on the September 15 broadcast of TotP, which aired it in sequence with hits by The Mindbenders (“Ashes to Ashes”), Los Bravos (“I Don’t Care”), The Supremes (“You Can’t Hurry Love”), and Dusty Springfield (“All I See Is You”).
The Spencer Davis Group costar with Sheila White and Nicholas Parsons in the September 1966 musical comedy The Ghost Goes Gear, in which the group stay at their manager’s haunted childhood manor house in the English countryside.
“Gimme Some Loving”
On October 28, 1966, the Spencer Davis Group dropped their eighth single “Gimme Some Loving,” a high-energy soul rocker backed with “Blues in F” — both Steve Winwood originals.
“Gimme Some Loving” reached No. 2 on the UK Singles Chart and also went Top 10 in Australia (No. 6), Belgium (No. 10), Ireland (No. 7), Netherlands (No. 3), and New Zealand (No. 5).
In North America, “Gimme Some Loving” reached No. 1 in Canada and No. 7 on the US Billboard Hot 100, where it peaked on February 19, 1967, and held that position for three weeks.
On November 1, the Spencer Davis Group played the Marquee with Episode Six. On the 11th, they played Brighton’s Metropole with Zoot Money & The Big Roll Band. On December 20, they played the Marquee with psychsters The Syn, a precursor to Yes.
The Spencer Davis Group twice appeared on Season 4 of Ready Steady Go! with performances of “When I Come Home” (9/2/66 broadcast) and “Gimme Some Loving” (11/11).
In November, they cut an exclusive a-side for the German market: “Det war in Schöneberg – Mädel, ruck-ruck-ruck,” a medley of a 1913 Berlin operetta and a Swabian traditional. Davis, who studied in Berlin pre-SDG, intended this as a tribute to their German fanbase.
“I’m a Man”
On January 20, 1967, the Spencer Davis Group dropped their ninth single “I’m a Man,” a soul-rocker backed with “I Can’t Get Enough of It” — both co-written by Winwood and producer Jimmy Miller.
“I’m a Man” reached No. 9 in the UK and Australia and also went Top 10 in Sweden (No. 4) and the Netherlands (No. 7). In North America, the song reached No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became their second No. 1 hit in Canada.
The Spencer Davis Group mimed “I’m a Man” on the February 2 broadcast of TotP, which aired it amid hits by The Monkees (“I’m a Believer”), Jimi Hendrix Experience (“Hey Joe”), Petula Clark (“This Is My Song”), and The Rolling Stones (“Ruby Tuesday”). In 1969, Chicago cultivated “I’m a Man” as an extended brass-rock jam on their debut album Chicago Transit Authority.
On February 8, the Spencer Davis Group played Kingsway Theatre in Hadleigh as part of a multi-act bill with Sounds Incorporated, The Fourmost, The Human Instinct, and The James Royal Set. On the 11th, they played the Gliderdrome in Boston, England, with Wynder K Frog, The Equals, and Ray Bones. On the 14th, SGD played Nottingham’s Sherwood Rooms with The Searchers, the Monty Sunshine Jazz Band, and She Trinity.
The Spencer Davis Group embarked on a 12-date March–April UK package tour with The Hollies, The Tremeloes, Richard Kent Style, The Young Idea, and Paul Jones. It commenced on March 11 at Mansfield’s Granada and wrapped on April 2 at Liverpool’s Empire.
Gimme Some Lovin’ and I’m a Man
In March 1967, the compilation Gimme Some Lovin’ appeared on United Artists (US) and Stone Records (Canada). It features “Gimme Some Loving” and the recent UK b-side “Trampoline,” plus tracks from their three Fontana albums: three from Their First LP (“It Hurts Me So,” “Here Right Now,” “Sittin’ And Thinkin”’), two from The Second Album (“Keep On Running,” “Hammer Song”), and three from Autumn ’66 (“Nobody Knows When You’re Down And Out,” “When I Come Home,” “Somebody Help Me,” “Midnight Special”).
Gimme Some Lovin’ also includes the You Put The Hurt On Me track “Goodbye Stevie,” listed here as a group composition.
In June, UA issued a second stateside Spencer Davis Group comp, I’m a Man, which features the namesake hit and its b-side (“I Can’t Get Enough of It”), plus one song from Autumn ’66 (“On the Green Light”), two from The Second Album (“Look Away,” “Georgia On My Mind”), and six from Their First LP (“Every Little Bit Hurts,” “Searchin’,” “I Can’t Stand It,” “Dimples,” “My Babe,” “Midnight Train”). I’m a Man also includes the 1965 b-side “Stevie’s Blues.”
Lineup Change: Winwood Exits, Hardin Joins
In April 1967, Steve Winwood left the Spencer Davis Group. He formed Traffic with ex-Locomotive reedist Chris Wood and two ex-members of Brumbeatsters The Hellions: guitarist Dave Mason and drummer Jim Capaldi. Traffic cut multiple singles and the 1967–68 Island albums Mr. Fantasy and Traffic, which placed them in the vanguard of UK psych. Winwood abandoned Traffic for Blind Faith, a supergroup with Clapton, Ginger Baker, and (ex-Family) bassist Ric Grech. After the 1969 Atco–Polydor release Blind Faith, Winwood worked on a solo album that became John Barleycorn Must Die, the first of four studio albums by a reformed Traffic.
Winwood launched his solo career in 1977 and charted with “When You See a Chance” from his 1980 sophomore release Arc of a Diver. His commercial zenith came with the 1986–88 albums Back In the High Life and Roll With It and the singles “Higher Love,” “The Finer Things,” “Valerie,” and “Roll With It.”
Meanwhile, Muff Winwood became an A&R for Island Records and produced one of their earliest psychedelic pop acts, Nirvana. In the seventies, he produced albums by Patto (self-titled), Sparks (Kimono My House, Propoganda), Milk n Cookies, Deaf School (2nd Honeymoon), Russ Ballard (Winning), Burlesque, The Fabulous Poodles, Dire Straits (self-titled), and After the Fire.
Spencer Davis hired guitarist Phil Sawyer (ex-Les Fleur de Lys) and keyboardist–vocalist Eddie Hardin (ex-A Wild Uncertainty). The new lineup made its live debut on May 30, 1967, at the Marquee with openers Wynder K Frog.
On July 28, 1967, the Spencer Davis Group dropped their tenth single “Time Seller,” a co-write by Davis, Hardin, and Sawyer; backed with the Davis–Sawyer “Don’t Want You No More.”
The Spencer Davis Group partook in the “Love-In”, a November 17–18 event at the Palais des Sports in Paris with sets by Cat Stevens, Soft Machine, Tomorrow, and Dantalian’s Chariot.
“Mr. Second Class”
On December 29, 1967, the Spencer Davis Group dropped their eleventh single “Mr. Second Class,” backed with “Sanity Inspector” — both Davis–Sawyer numbers.
Phil Sawyer cleared out for guitarist Ray Fenwick, a one-time member of beatsters The Syndicats (also the starting vehicle for future Yes guitarists Peter Banks and Steve Howe). Recently, Fenwick played in the Dutch pop-psych band After Tea.
Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush
Traffic and the Spencer Davis Group provided soundtrack numbers to Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush, a January 1968 British comedy starring Barry Evans as a delivery boy on a quest to lose his virginity in Swinging London.
The soundtrack appeared on United Artists with three songs by Traffic (“Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush,” “Utterly Simple,” “Am I What I Was or Was I What I Am”) and eight by the Spencer Davis Group: three Davis lone-writes (“Virginals Dream,” “Picture of Her,” “Just Like Me”) and co-writes with Hardin (“Taking Out Time”), Sawyer (“Looking Back”), Matthews (“Every Little Thing,” “Possession”), plus the Winwood leftover “Waltz for Caroline.”
On March 8, 1968, the Spencer Davis Group dropped their twelfth single “After Tea,” a song Fenwick first recorded as the theme to his prior band with co-writer Hans Van Eivgk. The b-side, “Moonshine,” stems from an earlier collaboration by Davis, Hardin, and Sawyer.
SDG’s “After Tea” went head-to-head with a version by German beatsters The Rattles.
On March 9, the Spencer Davis Group played the Arts Festival Rave, an event at University Union in Leeds with sets by The Nice and Chicken Shack. On the 13th, SDG played Birmingham’s Town Hall as part of a multi-act event with Manfred Mann, The Moody Blues, Don Partridge, and The Picadilly Line.
With Their New Face On
The Spencer Davis Group’s fourth album, With Their New Face On, appeared on United Artists in April 1968 (US) and June 1968 (UK). It includes “Time Seller,” “Mr. Second Class,” and the last three b-sides: “Don’t Want You No More,” “Sanity Inspector,” and “Moonshine.” The album also features three new Davis–Harden numbers (“Feel Your Way,” “Stop Me, I’m Falling,” the title track) and the group-written “Alec in Transit Land.” The song “Morning Sun” features a writing contribution by Nicky James, once of the Moodies precursor The Diplomats.
“With His New Face On” (3:20)
“Alec in Transit Land” (6:50)
“Feel Your Way” (2:59)
“Morning Sun” (3:19)
“Stop Me, I’m Falling” (3:30)
That spring, the Spencer Davis Group embarked on their first tour of the US, where they did a four-night stand (April 13–16) at the Whisky-A-Go-Go in West Hollywood.
In September, they played shows with Terry Reid (9/10: Marquee) and Chicago Line (9/21: Gaiety Ballroom, Ramsey). On October 15, SDG appeared at Royal Albert Hall for “A Folk/Blues Czech Charity Concert,” a fund-raiser for Czech students who sought refuge in London in light of Prague Spring. BBC Radio One DJ John Peel compered the event, which featured sets by Blonde On Blonde, Jethro Tull, Taste, July, Roy Harper, Spooky Tooth, Family, and Joe Cocker.
On December 6, 1968, the Spencer Davis Group dropped their thirteenth single “Short Change,” a Davis, Fenwick, and Duncan number; backed with the Fenwick–Van Eivgk “Picture of Heaven.”
They spent the closing weeks of 1968 on the road in the US, where they played the San Francisco Holiday Rock Festival, a December 26 event at the Cow Palace with sets by Santana, Canned Heat, Steppenwolf, The New Buffalo Springfield, Blue Cheer, Three Dog Night, The Electric Prunes, Flaming Groovies, and Tender Loving Care.
- Their First LP (1965)
- The Second Album (1966)
- Autumn ’66 (1966)
- Gimme Some Lovin’ (1967)
- I’m a Man (1967)
- Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush (1968 • The Spencer Davis Group and Traffic)
- With Their New Face On (1968)
- Heavies (1969)
- Funky (1971)
- Gluggo (1973)
- Living in a Back Street (1974)
- Vibrate (1986)
- Discogs: The Spencer Davis Group
- Concerts Wiki: Spencer Davis Group
- 45worlds: Spencer Davis Group
- 45cat: Spencer Davis Group
- tvdb: Beat-Club (all seasons)
- Top of the Pops Episode Guide
- Ready Steady Go! Seasons
- Billboard Hot 100: Week of February 25, 1967
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The Cardiacs were an English art-rock band from Kingston upon Thames that began life as Cardiac Ar...
The Parlour Band was an English rustic art-pop band that released the album Is a Friend? on Deram ...
Hard Meat was an English psychedelic hard-rock band from Birmingham that released two albums on Warn...
Judie Tzuke (born April 3, 1956) is an English vocalist and songwriter from London who released th...
Alan Hawkshaw (born March 23, 1937) is an English pianist and composer from Leeds who released 25 ...
Tonton Macoute was an English jazz-rock/psych band from Newbury, Berkshire, that released a self-t...
Steel Mill was an English hard-rock/psych band that released the album Green Eyed God on Penny Far...