Stephen Lawrence Winwood (born 12 May 1948) is an English rock musician whose genres include progressive rock, blue-eyed soul, rhythm and blues, blues rock, pop rock, and jazz. Though primarily a vocalist and keyboardist, Winwood also plays the Hammond organ, bass guitar, drums, acoustic and electric 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 "While You See a Chance", "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.
In 2005, Winwood was honoured as a BMI Icon at the annual BMI London Awards for his "enduring influence on generations of music makers". In 2008, Rolling Stone ranked Winwood No. 33 in its 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. Winwood has won two Grammy Awards. He was nominated twice for a Brit Award for Best British Male Artist: 1988 and 1989. In 2011 he received the Ivor Novello Award from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors for Outstanding Song Collection.
Winwood in 1970
|Birth name||Stephen Lawrence Winwood|
|Born||12 May 1948|
Handsworth, Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
The young Winwood became interested in swing and Dixieland jazz as a boy, began playing piano when aged four, and also soon started playing drums and guitar. He first performed with his father and his elder brother, Muff, in the Ron Atkinson Band at the age of eight.
Muff later recalled that when Steve began playing regularly with his father and brother in licensed pubs and clubs, the piano had to be turned with its back to the audience to try and hide him, because he was so obviously underage.
Winwood was a choirboy at St John's Church of England, Perry Barr. While he was still young the family moved from Handsworth to the semi-rural suburb of Great Barr at the northern edge of Birmingham city.
Winwood attended the Great Barr School which was one of the first comprehensive schools, where a teacher recalled him being a conscientious and able student who displayed ability in mathematics. He also attended the Birmingham and Midland Institute of Music to develop his skills as a pianist, but did not complete his course.
While still a pupil at Great Barr School, Winwood was a part of the Birmingham rhythm and blues scene, playing the Hammond C-3 organ and 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 pick-up 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.
Winwood (still known as "Stevie" Winwood then) joined The Spencer Davis Group at the age of 14, along with his elder brother Muff, who later had success as a record producer, after Davis saw them at a Birmingham pub called the Golden Eagle, performing as the Muffy Wood Jazz Band. The Group made their debut at the 'Eagle and subsequently had a Monday-night residency there. Winwood's distinctive high tenor singing voice and vocal style drew comparisons to Ray Charles. The group had their first number one single at the end of 1965, with "Keep On Running"; the money from this success allowed Winwood to buy his own Hammond B-3 organ. Winwood would go on to co-write and record the chart-topping hits "Gimme Some Lovin'" and "I'm a Man" before leaving The Spencer Davis Group in 1967.
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 1966 compilation album, What's Shakin'.
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. After Winwood left the Spencer Davis Group in April 1967, the quartet formed Traffic. Soon thereafter, they rented a cottage near the rural village of Aston Tirrold, Berkshire (now Oxfordshire) to write and rehearse new music. This allowed them to escape the city and develop their music.
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. While still in Traffic, Winwood was brought in by Jimi Hendrix to play organ for "Voodoo Chile" on the Electric Ladyland album.
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 the tour's end. However, Baker, Winwood and Grech stayed together to form Ginger Baker's Air Force. The line-up 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 short-lived. 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 Stars' Delicate 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.
Weariness with the grind of touring and recording prompted Winwood to leave Traffic and retire to sessioning for some years. 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".
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.
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 No. 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.
A new studio album, Nine Lives, was released 29 April 2008 by Wincraft Music through Columbia Records. The album opened at No. 12 on the Billboard 200 album chart, 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.
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.
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.
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 No. 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.
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 Ashley Cleveland to appear on her album Men and Angels Say.
This album of rock, blues and country arrangements of well known hymns includes "I Need Thee Every Hour"—which features a vocal duet and organ performance. Christina Aguilera features Winwood (using the piano and organ instrumentation from the "John Barleycorn" track, "Glad") on one of her songs from her 2006 record Back to Basics, called "Makes Me Wanna Pray."
In May 2007, Winwood performed in support of the pro-fox hunting organisation the Countryside Alliance in a concert at Highclere Castle, joining fellow rock artists Bryan Ferry, Eric Clapton, Steve Harley and Kenney Jones.
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.
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.
Winwood's primary residence is a 300-year-old manor house in the Cotswolds, England, where he also has a recording studio. Winwood also has a home in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife, Eugenia Crafton, a native of Trenton, Tennessee, whom he married in 1987. They have four children. Both were Patrons of the Cheltenham Festivals of music and literature between 2007 and 2015.
His daughter Lilly Winwood is a singer; she was featured with him performing a duet of his song "Higher Love" in a Hershey commercial. Lilly Winwood is the opening act and sings backup on multiple songs during Steve Winwood's 2018 Greatest Hits Live tour.
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.
(Winwood exploded onto the London music scene as a teenager with his powerful, soulful tenor). "I thought he had the greatest voice," said Billy Joel, "this skinny little English kid singing like Ray Charles."
The stairway to classic-rock heaven extended straight into Hollywood Bowl Tuesday night as '60s British rock heroes Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood closed their all-too-quick 14-city, three-week U.S. tour with a nearly 2½-hour excursion through the music they created, individually and collectively, three and four decades ago.
About Time is the eighth solo studio album by Steve Winwood, released in 2003. It was his first album since 1997 and it featured a return to a musical style more in line with his earlier work with Traffic. That basic style is emphasized in the three piece set of the band: Hammond Organ, guitar and drums/percussion, joined on various tracks by saxophone, flute and additional percussion characteristic of the Traffic sound.Arc of a Diver
Arc of a Diver is the second solo studio album by singer/multi-instrumentalist Steve Winwood, released in 1980. Winwood played all of the instruments on the album.
Featuring his first solo hit, "While You See a Chance" (which peaked at number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States), this was Winwood's breakthrough album as a solo artist. It peaked at number 3 on the Billboard 200 album chart, establishing him as a commercially viable act.
The cover artwork for the album is by Tony Wright. He took inspiration from Jazz by Henri Matisse, notably VIII: Icarus.Back in the High Life
Back in the High Life is the fourth solo studio album by English rock musician Steve Winwood. Released in 1986, it was a top ten hit on the album charts in the United States, peaking at #3, and has sold over five million copies. The single "Higher Love" topped the singles chart and won the Grammy Award for "Record of the Year"; "Back in the High Life Again" (US #13), "The Finer Things" (US #8, the second biggest hit from the album), and "Freedom Overspill" (US #20) were also big hits. After 20 years with the label, this was Winwood's last studio album with Island Records. The album also features collaborations in backing vocals, featuring Chaka Khan in "Higher Love", and James Taylor in "Back in the High Life Again". It also features the Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh performing slide guitar and co-writing the track "Split Decision".Blind Faith
Blind Faith were an English blues rock band, composed of Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, Steve Winwood and Ric Grech. The band, which was one of the first supergroups, released their only album, Blind Faith, in August 1969. Stylistically similar to the bands in which Winwood, Baker and Clapton had most recently participated, Traffic and Cream, Blind Faith helped to pioneer the genre of blues/rock fusion.Can't Find My Way Home
"Can't Find My Way Home" is a song written by Steve Winwood which was first released by Blind Faith on their 1969 album Blind Faith. Rolling Stone, in a review of the album, noted that the song featured "Ginger Baker's highly innovative percussion" and judged the lyric "And I'm wasted and I can't find my way home" to be "delightful".Dear Mr. Fantasy
"Dear Mr. Fantasy" is a rock song by Traffic from their 1967 album, Mr. Fantasy. An extended live version (10:57) of the song also appears on the 1971 Traffic album Welcome to the Canteen. The lyrics were written by Jim Capaldi, while the music was written by Steve Winwood and Chris Wood.Steve Winwood played the song at Eric Clapton's 2007 Crossroads Guitar Festival and the song appears on the festival DVD. The song was included on the setlist of Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton's joint tour in 2009. A live recording appears on the album Live from Madison Square Garden. Former Traffic member Dave Mason performed the song live and provided the lead vocal, guitar and harmonica.Higher Love
"Higher Love" is a 1986 song by English singer Steve Winwood. It was the first single released from his fourth solo LP, Back in the High Life. It was written by Winwood and Will Jennings, and produced by Russ Titelman and Winwood. The female vocals on the song were performed by Chaka Khan, who also appeared in the promotional music video.
"Higher Love" was Winwood's first Billboard Hot 100 number-one hit, topping the chart for one week. It was preceded by Madonna's "Papa Don't Preach" and followed by "Venus" by Bananarama. The song also spent four weeks atop the US Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart. It peaked at number 13 in the United Kingdom, his highest charting solo hit there. It reached number 18 in South Africa. It also earned two Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.Kissing with Confidence
"Kissing with Confidence" is a song by Will Powers (the stage name/persona of photographer-turned-singer Lynn Goldsmith) from her 1983 album Dancing for Mental Health. It was written by Goldsmith, Jacob Brackman, Nile Rodgers, Todd Rundgren, and Steve Winwood. Goldsmith used a voice recorder to sound like a man.
Mixed by Rundgren, it was released as a single in the UK, peaking at #17 on the UK Singles Chart. Carly Simon was the uncredited lead singer.Live from Madison Square Garden (Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood album)
Live from Madison Square Garden is a 2 CD/2 DVD live album by Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood which was released on 19 May 2009 by Duck / Reprise Records. The album is made up of recordings from Clapton and Winwood's performances at Madison Square Garden in February 2008. It is Eric Clapton's ninth live album and Steve Winwood's first live album as a solo artist.
The duo performed songs from their time in the band Blind Faith as well as selections from Traffic, Derek and the Dominos, Clapton's and Winwood's solo careers and some rock and blues covers. Their band consisted of Willie Weeks on bass, Ian Thomas on drums and Chris Stainton on keyboards.Nine Lives (Steve Winwood album)
Nine Lives is Steve Winwood's ninth solo studio album, released on April 29, 2008. It is also his last to date.
The album's first single, "Dirty City" featuring guitarist Eric Clapton, held the number-one added single spot for three weeks in a row and peaked at the overall number-two spot on AAA RadioThe album debuted at number 12 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, selling about 26,000 copies in its first weekRefugees of the Heart
Refugees of the Heart is the sixth solo studio album by Steve Winwood, released in 1990. The album contained the hit single, "One and Only Man", which topped the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and saw the return of former Traffic bandmate Jim Capaldi to Winwood's songwriting team. By coincidence, a Traffic reunion followed in 1994. Because of that collaboration, Winwood would not record another solo album until late 1997. Also "I Will Be Here" and "Another Deal Goes Down" were released as singles. Winwood stated about the closing track, “In The Light Of Day”: 'When Will and I wrote the song (..) it was our idea of what Nelson Mandela's dream was, while he was in prison. It was really just a fantasy of ours, but that’s what we based the song on.'Revolutions – The Very Best of Steve Winwood
Revolutions – The Very Best of Steve Winwood is the sixth compilation album by Steve Winwood. The album includes music from Winwood's solo career, as well as groups with which he has performed, including The Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, and Blind Faith. The CD was released as a box set and a single disc. As of October 2014, the box set is out of print (but can be purchased digitally), while the single disc is still available. The songs "The Finer Things" and "Roll With It" are exclusive to the single disc version and cannot be found on the box set.
In addition the version of "The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys" on both versions of this compilation is a different mix where various solos not on the original album version are heard. There is no indication of this on the album, but like other songs on the compilation, it is clearly different.Roll with It (Steve Winwood song)
"Roll with It" is a song recorded by Steve Winwood for his album, Roll with It, released on Virgin Records. It was written by Winwood and songwriter Will Jennings. Publishing rights organization BMI later had Motown songwriters Holland-Dozier-Holland credited with co-writing the song due to its resemblance to the Junior Walker hit "(I'm a) Roadrunner".
The single spent four weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in the summer of 1988. It topped the Billboard adult contemporary chart for two weeks, and also spent four weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard mainstream rock chart. In addition, the song reached No. 30 on the R&B chart. In the United Kingdom, the song reached No. 53 on the UK Singles Chart.
"Roll with It" was nominated for two Grammy Awards in 1989, Record of the Year and Best Male Pop Vocal performance. The album Roll with It was also nominated as Album of the Year.
The song was the last #1 hit of Casey Kasem's 18-year run as the original host of American Top 40 (he would return to host the program 10 years later), as well as being the first #1 song of Shadoe Stevens' hosting tenure.Roll with It (album)
Roll with It is the fifth solo studio album by English blue-eyed soul artist Steve Winwood, released on 21 June 1988. It topped the album charts in the United States, and has sold over three million copies. The title cut topped the pop and rock singles charts. The success led the subsequent songs to serve as singles, "Don't You Know What the Night Can Do?" and "Holding On". "Don't You Know What the Night Can Do?" had been written by Winwood to be featured in an ad campaign for Michelob which began running on American television on the day of the Roll with It album's US release. Two other tracks from Roll with It: "Hearts on Fire" and "Put on Your Dancing Shoes", also achieved radio airplay.Steve Winwood (album)
Steve Winwood is the debut solo studio album by blue-eyed soulster Steve Winwood. It was released in 1977, three years after the break-up of his former band, Traffic. Though the album sold moderately well in the US, it was a commercial disappointment compared to Traffic's recent albums, peaking at number 22 on the Billboard 200 album chart. In the UK, however, while Traffic's recent albums had only been moderately successful, Steve Winwood reached number 12 on The Official Charts. Island Records launched two singles from the album, "Hold On" and "Time Is Running Out", both of which failed to make the charts.The Spencer Davis Group
The Spencer Davis Group are a British rock band formed in Birmingham in 1963, by Spencer Davis with Steve Winwood and his brother, Muff Winwood. Their best known songs include the UK number ones "Somebody Help Me" and "Keep on Running" (both written by reggae musician Jackie Edwards), "I'm a Man" and "Gimme Some Lovin'", which reached #2 in the UK and #7 in the US.Steve Winwood left in 1967 to form Traffic before joining Blind Faith, then forging a career as a solo artist. After releasing a few more singles, the band ceased activity in 1968. They briefly reunited from 1973 to 1974 and Davis restarted a new group in 2006.Traffic (band)
Traffic were an English rock band, formed in Birmingham, in April 1967 by Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi, Chris Wood and Dave Mason. They began as a psychedelic rock group and diversified their sound through the use of instruments such as keyboards like the Mellotron and harpsichord, sitar, and various reed instruments, and by incorporating jazz and improvisational techniques in their music. Their first three singles were "Paper Sun", "Hole in My Shoe", and "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush".Traffic disbanded in 1969, during which time Winwood joined Blind Faith, then reunited in 1970 to release the critically acclaimed album John Barleycorn Must Die. The band's line-up varied from this point until they disbanded again in 1974. A partial reunion, with Winwood and Capaldi, took place in 1994.Traffic were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.Valerie (Steve Winwood song)
"Valerie" is a song written by Steve Winwood and Will Jennings and originally recorded by Winwood for his third solo album, Talking Back to the Night, in 1982.Winwood (album)
Winwood is the first compilation album of music featuring Steve Winwood. This two-record set was issued in 1971 by United Artists Records and features music which Winwood performed with The Spencer Davis Group, Powerhouse, Traffic and Blind Faith. UA Records issued this album after Winwood's band Traffic left UA when their home label Island Records set up their own American operation. Issued without Winwood's authorization as catalogue number UAS-9950, it was taken off the market after legal action by Winwood and Island Records. It was then reissued with minor changes as catalogue number UAS-9964. Currently out of print, it was issued on CD by Universal Music of Japan for the Japanese market.