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Guitarist Spencer Davis dies at the age of 81

Spencer Davis

Classic Rock

Guitarist Spencer Davis dies at the age of 81

Spencer Davis, British musician who founded the band The Spencer Davis Group, that had hits like “Gimme Some Lovin ‘”, “Keep On Running” died at the age of 81, in a hospital in Los Angeles, CA. His agent Bob Birk told BBC and The New York Times that Davis had been hospitalized for a week due to pneumonia.

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The Spencer Davis Group was one of the groups that formed the so-called “British invasion” of the 1960s. As the success of several British pop bands in the United States in that decade is colloquially known.

With the bands The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Who as standards, the “British invasion” also includes the group The Spencer Davis Group. Which began its journey in the early 1960s in Birmingham (United Kingdom).

One of the successes of Spencer Davis, who was born in 1939 in the Welsh city of Swansea, was to hire an unknown and teenage musician named Steve Winwood. The legend goes that the rest of the band members allowed Spencer Davis to give his name to the group so that he could give interviews. While the others slept in that period.

With Davis on guitar, Steve Winwood as vocalist, guitarist and keyboards, his brother Muff Winwood on bass, and Peter York on drums, the band achieved their first triumph in 1965 with “Keep on Running”.

Steve Winwood talked about Spencer Davis death, saying:

“I’ve known Spencer since I was about 13–he would have been about 22. I was playing a show at Birmingham University with my brother and his band. Spencer, who was a student at Birmingham, was playing with a small group of musicians. We met and the the seeds of The Spencer Davis Group were sown.”

“Spencer was an early pioneer of the British folk scene. Which, in his case embraced folk blues, and eventually what was then called “Rhythm and Blues”. He influenced my tastes in music, he owned the first 12-string guitar I ever saw. And he was taken with the music of Huddie “Lead belly” Ledbetter, and Big Bill Broonzy. I’d already got a big brother who influenced me greatly. Spencer became like a big brother to me at the time.”

“He was definitely a man with a vision. One of the pioneers of the British invasion of America in the sixties. I never went to the U.S. with Spencer. But he later embraced America, and America embraced him. I feel that he was influential in setting me on the road to becoming a professional musician, and I thank him for that. Thank you, Spencer.”

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Statement on the passing of Spencer Davis: “I’ve known Spencer since I was about 13–he would have been about 22. I was playing a show at Birmingham University with my brother and his band. Spencer, who was a student at Birmingham, was playing with a small group of musicians. We met and the the seeds of The Spencer Davis Group were sown. Spencer was an early pioneer of the British folk scene, which, in his case embraced folk blues, and eventually what was then called “Rhythm and Blues”. He influenced my tastes in music, he owned the first 12-string guitar I ever saw, and he was taken with the music of Huddie “Lead belly” Ledbetter, and Big Bill Broonzy. I’d already got a big brother who influenced me greatly, and Spencer became like a big brother to me at the time. He was definitely a man with a vision, and one of the pioneers of the British invasion of America in the sixties. I never went to the U.S. with Spencer, but he later embraced America, and America embraced him. I feel that he was influential in setting me on the road to becoming a professional musician, and I thank him for that. Thank you, Spencer.” – Steve Winwood

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Gimme Some Lovin

But this success would be little compared to that of 1966 with “Gimme Some Lovin'”, his most popular song and a classic still on rock radio today. However, just as the incorporation of Steve Winwood was a boost for the project, his departure in 1967 to form Traffic and left The Spencer Davis Group in a bad situation. When they were at the top moment on both sides of the Atlantic.

The band continued for some time without reaching the brightness of other times. After that Davis, who moved to California, worked on the other side of the music industry as an executive.

I am a Brazilian journalist, a Classic Rock and Heavy Metal lover. Music has always been part of my life, helped me through tough moments and was with me to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After college I did a postgraduate degree in digital communication. This has helped me to make the website better and bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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