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Steve Winwood Biography

Home > Music > W > Winwood, Steve > Biography

Birth Name: Stephen Lawrence Winwood
Born: 1948/05/12
Birth Place: Handsworth, Birmingham, England
Years Active: 1963-present
Genres: Blue-Eyed Soul, Rock, Blues-rock, Psychedelic Rock, Jazz

Steve Winwood (born Stephen Lawrence Winwood, May 12, 1948) is an English songwriter and musician whose genres include blue-eyed soul, R&B, rock, blues-rock, pop-rock, and jazz. A multi-instrumentalist, he plays the electric organ, synthesizers, bass, drums, guitar, mandolin, violin and other strings. A star performer for nearly fifty years, he has also done notable work as a producer. After performing in the bands, Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, Blind Faith and Ginger Baker's Air Force, Winwood launched a solo career in 1977.

Winwood's self-titled debut album was released on Island Records in June 1977. Although the album peaked at #12 in the United Kingdom and in the Top 40 in the United States, its singles failed to gain success in either country. His second album, “Arc of a Diver” was issued in December 1980, certifying platinum in the United States and silver in the United Kingdom. The album's second track, “While You See a Chance” became a major hit in the United States, reaching #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart.

His 1982 follow-up album, “Talking Back to the Night,” did not produce any hits in the United States. However, the lead single, “Still in the Game” reached #19 on the Canadian Singles chart and the second single, “Valerie” charted at #13 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.

1986’s “Back in the High Life” was aimed more towards a pop sound, selling three million copies in the United States. The single, “Higher Love” became Winwood's first #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, while also peaking at #13 on the UK Singles chart. Other singles, “Freedom Overspill,” “Back in the High Life Again” and “The Finer Things” became major hits in the United States between 1986 and 1987.

His fifth album “Roll with It” was released on Virgin Records in 1988, spawning the title track as the lead single. The song became Winwood's second #1 single on the Billboard Hot 100. “Don't You Know What the Night Can Do” and “Holding On” both became major hits on the Hot 100 and Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart in 1988.

1990’s “Refugees of the Heart” contained more soul-inspired elements, debuting at #26 on the UK Albums Chart and #27 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. The first single, "One and Only Man" reached #18 in the United States.

Winwood released his next album, “Junction Seven” in 1997, which gained mixed reviews and had less success. It was followed by 2003's “About Time” and 2008's “Nine Lives.” “Nine Lives” opened at #12 on the Billboard 200 marking his highest United States debut ever.

Winwood has sold about 7.5 million records in the United States according to the Recording Industry Association of America. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Traffic in 2004. In 2005, Winwood was honored as a BMI Icon at the annual BMI London Awards for his “enduring influence on generations of music makers.”