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The Spencer Davis Group Biography

Birth Place: Birmingham, England
Years Active: 1963 - 1968, 2006 -
Genres: Beat, British Invasion, Psychedelic Rock

The Spencer Davis Group is a beat group that formed in Birmingham, England in the1960s. Guitarist Spencer Davis formed the band with the Winwood brothers – vocalist and organist Steve Winwood and bassist Muff Winwood – and Pete York who played drums.

Of note are the hits: “Somebody Help Me,” “Keep on Running,” “I'm a Man” and “Gimme Some Lovin',” which peaked at #2 in the U.K. Singles Chart and #7 on the Billboard Chart.

The group got their professional start picking up gigs in and around Birmingham, originally calling themselves the Rhythm and Blues Quartette. The group came to the attention of music producer Chris Blackwell, who spotted them playing in a local club. A record deal with Island Records followed in 1964. The group changed their name to The Spencer Davis Group and landed their first hit in 1965 with, “Keep On Running.” Their debut album “Their First LP,” was released in the U.K. in 1965 where it reached #6 on the U.K. Albums chart.

1966 saw the hits, “Gimme Some Lovin'” and “I'm a Man,” explode on the U.K. and U.S. singles charts. The band issued two albums in 1966 in the U.K., the #3 “The Second Album,” and the #4 “Autumn '66 .” The group’s debut U.S album, “Gimme Some Lovin;” arrived in 1967 and reached #54 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. The Winwood brothers parted ways with the group that same year. Steve Winwood went on to form the massively successful band Traffic, while Muff Winwood took a job at Island Records. Davis recruited new members, guitarist Phil Sawyer and keyboardist/vocalist Eddie Hardin and followed up with the release of their third U.S. studio album, “With Their New Face On,” in 1968. At that time Ray Fenwick had replaced Sawyer.

The band went through more line-up changes that same year with Hardin and York leaving to form the duo, Hardin & York. Bassist Dee Murray and drummer Dave Hynes replaced the duo. As the 1970s emerged, the line-up of Davis, York, Harin and Fenwick reunited for a brief moment, releasing the albums, “Gluggo” in 1973 and “Living a Back Street,” in 1974.

Davis continued to produce jazz albums during the late 1970s to early 1980s, with Steve Winwood going on to have an internationally successful solo career. 2006 saw Davis form a new group, while The Spencer Davis Group still performs limited shows around the U.S. and Europe with varying line-ups.