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Winwood, Steve (12th May 1948-Present)

He is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, often known for his keyboard playing, born in Handsworth, Birmingham, England.  Always having an immense interest in music, he began performing in public with his father and brother, “Muff”, as a member of the Ron Atkinson Band when he was just 8 years old and just a few years later he would join his brother’s Muff Woody Jazz Band.

When he as still at school he was already becoming known for his guitar and keyboard skills and often played as a backing musician for visiting artists that were visiting Britain on tour.  By the time it came to leave school he was already well on his way into a career in music and when he was still only 15 he and his brother joined up with the Spencer Davis Group.  Seeing success early on with the group as a co-songwriter and/or performer, he had hits such as “I’m a Man”, “Keep on Runnin'”, “Somebody Help Me” and the ever popular “Gimme Some Lovin'”.

Around the same time as being with the Spencer Davis Group he also recorded the song “Incense” in 1965 under the name The Anglos and using the pseudonym Steve Anglo.

Deciding to move on, he teamed up with Jim Capaldi, Dave Mason and Chris Wood and they put together Traffic, which saw his work hitting the charts once again with hits such as “Hole In My Shoe” and “Paper Sun”.

Not content with just being with one group he also lent himself out to work as a session musician and work on other projects in the late 1960s, which resulted in him becoming part of Eric Clapton’s  short lived Powerhouse Four and also working with his friend Jimi Hendrix, appearing on his “Voodoo Chile”.

Becoming extremely sought after he began playing on many albums and singles by other artists and in 1969 became instantly recognisable in his work on the organ/keyboards on “With a Little Help from My Friends” which flew up the charts to become a UK No. 1 for Joe Cocker.  That same year he and Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton and Ric Grech put together the band Blind Faith but after only one tour, Eric left to pursue other ventures.  The others stayed together though and using Denny Laine as a replacement for Eric Clapton, Chris Wood from Traffic and several other musicians, they became known as Ginger Baker’s Air Force, although once again they were relatively short lived.

He continued working with Traffic until the mid-1970s when they finally went their own ways and in 1976 he became a member of the group Go.

1977 saw him releasing his debut album as a solo artist and three years later his second release, Arc of a Diver, was recorded at his home with him performing all the instrumental parts and resulted in a hit for him on the album chart.  A further album was released, although not reaching the same heights as his previous one, and then in 1986 he came back into the limelight and gained a lot of popularity in the US with his hugely successful Back in the High Life which produced several single releases including the No. 1 US hit “Higher Love”, which only made it to No. 13 in the UK.  His next album, Roll With It, once again topped the charts in the US and saw the title track giving him yet another US No. 1 single in 1988 and in 1994 he and Jim Capaldi got back together to record an album and tour once again as Traffic.

Still busy in his solo career he continued to release further albums and in 1997 he and James Taylor appeared together at the VH-1 Honors.  Getting back into being a member of a group he got together with Ed Calle, Tito Puente and Arturo Sandoval to create Latin Crossings, but after making one European tour in 1998 they disbanded.

The 2000s were no less busy for him and in 2004 he re-recorded samples of his song “Valerie” to be used on “Call on Me” by DJ Eric Prydz and once again he was hitting the charts, this time with a UK. No. 1.

2005 saw the release of a DVD of current and past songs he has made throughout his recording history and that same year he was invited to sing on the album Men and Angels Say, which was being made by Ashley Cleveland, who he also led the worship with at the Nashville church, which they both go to.

His long career has seen him working with countless artists, which must number into the hundreds over the years and some of these include Christine Aguilera, Jeff Beck, Maggie Bell, Chuck Berry, James Brown, Rosanne Cash, Julie Covington, Sandy Denny, Bo Diddley, Richard Harris, Richie Havens, John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf, Mick Jagger, B.B. King, John Martyn, Christine McVie, Jimmy Page, Lou Reed, Leon Russell, Rod Stewart, Third World, Toots & The Maytals, Muddy Waters, Paul Weller and The Yardbirds.

Listing anywhere near the amount of albums he has worked on in some capacity or another would be an impossibility here, but a very select few include others of his not mentioned above such as About Time, Chronicles, Junction Seven, Refugees of the Heart, Spy in the House of LoveTalking Back to the Night and Winwood and Friends as well as Blind Faith with Blind Faith, Hot Water by Jimmy Buffett, Live at the Budokan by Chic, Backtrackin’ by Eric Clapton, But Seriously… by Phil Collins, About Face by David Gilmour, Go Live from Paris by Go, Dark Horse by George Harrison, Electric Ladyland by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Small World Big Band by Jools Holland and His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, Right Time by Etta James, The Bridge by Billy Joel, Tommy by the London Symphony Orchestra & Chamber Choir, Autumn ’66, Every Little Bit Hurts and Second Album by The Spencer Davis Group, Lifeboat by Sutherland Brothers & Quiver, The Colour of Spring by Talk Talk, Coloured RainFar from Home, John Barleycorn Must Die, The Last Great Traffic Jam, The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys, Mr. Fantasy and On the Road by Traffic, Tommy and Quadrophenia: Live by The Who, Other Voices by Paul Young and the soundtracks of 1969 and Nuns on the Run.  After nearly five decades in the music industry he is still working tirelessly today, having toured and released the EP Dirty City with Eric Clapton in 2007 and 2008 and then also in 2008 he performed several dates with his own band.

Never stopping in 2008, he released another album, Nine Lives, which would be his highest debut in the US when it immediately flew in at No. 12 on the Billboard album chart and as if that still weren’t enough, he joined up with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers on yet another tour.

Recognised for his contributions to music he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 as a member of Traffic.