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The Spencer Davis Group

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The Spencer Davis Group was a mid-1960s British beat group from Birmingham, England. In their heyday, the group consisted of Steve Winwood on vocals and keyboards, Steve’s brother Muff Winwood played bass, Pete York handled the drums, plus founder and lead-guitarist (co-singer) Spencer Davis. Their main producer was the late Jimmy Miller.

Spencer Davis (born 17 July 1939, Swansea, Wales) moved to Birmingham from London in 1960 to study. In 1963, he recruited the Winwood brothers and started the Spencer Davis Group. The band performed regularly in the city and were signed to a recording contract after an appearance in a local club.

The group’s first professional recording was a cover version of Dimples, but they came to success at the end of 1965 with Keep On Running, the group’s first number one single. In 1966 they followed this with Somebody Help Me and When I Come Home. For the German market the group released “Det war in Schöneberg, im Monat Mai” and “Mädel ruck ruck ruck an meine grüne Seite” (the first is from a 1913 Berlin operetta, the second is a Swabian traditional) as a tribute single for that audience, Spencer Davis having studied in West Berlin in the early 1960s.

By the end of 1966 and the beginning of 1967, the group released two more hits, Gimme Some Lovin’ (which was re-released in a live, nine-minute version by Steve Winwood’s Traffic in 1971) and I’m a Man. These tracks proved to be their two best-known successes, especially in the U.S.

In 1967, Winwood left to form Traffic; his brother Muff moved into the music industry as A&R man at Island Records. In a so-called joint venture, the soundtrack to the film Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush featured both the Spencer Davis Group and Traffic.

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