Singer-songwriter, legendary vocalist, guitarist, keyboardist, mandolin player, producer, Grammy winner and BMI Icon Steve Winwood has sold over 50 million records in the course of his five-decade career. His compositions include “Gimme Some Lovin’”, “Back In The High Life Again”, “Can’t Find My Way Home”, “Arc Of A Diver”, “Higher Love”, “Roll With It”, “While You See A Chance”, “Dear Mr. Fantasy”, “Split Decision”, “The Finer Things”, “Valerie”, and “The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys”, among many others.
For more than five decades, Steve Winwood has remained a primary figure in Rock ‘n’ Roll, a respected innovator who has helped to create some of the genre’s most celebrated achievements. His skills as a composer, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist have developed an impressive catalog of popular music.
Winwood burst into prominence in 1963 at the age of 15 with the Spencer Davis Group. The band enjoyed a string of chart-topping hits by way of such enduring classics as “Gimme Some Lovin’”, “I’m A Man”, and “Keep On Running”. The international success of these singles bolstered his confidence and strengthened his resolve to seek out new rhythmic possibilities.
In 1967, Steve left the Spencer Davis Group and co-founded Traffic. Beloved for their eclectic style and superbly crafted songs, Traffic routinely defied convention to celebrate a host of diverse sounds and influences. Landmark albums such as ‘Mr. Fantasy’, ‘The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys’, and ‘John Barleycorn Must Die’ confirmed their position as one of the most important British groups of the 1960’s and 1970’s.
Eager to try his hand with other creative partnerships, Winwood left Traffic in 1969 to form a new group called Blind Faith with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker. The pairing of Winwood with Cream’s Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and later, former Family bassist Rick Grech, created what many critics dubbed Rock’s first supergroup. The international popularity of ‘Blind Faith’, the group’s sole #1 album, confirmed their special chemistry. Blind Faith staples written by Winwood such as “Can’t Find My Way Home” and “Had To Cry Today” continue to rank among his finest achievements.
In 1970, Steve reformed Traffic with Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood and guided a highly successful run with the innovative albums ‘The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys’, ‘John Barleycorn Must Die’, and ‘Shoot Out At The Fantasy Factory’. By 1975, Traffic splintered as the allure of solo projects and new creative partnerships proved too tempting to resist.
1977’s solo debut ’Steve Winwood’ signaled a bold new artistic direction, including writing partnerships with Viv Shanshall and Will Jennings. This shift kickstarted the creation of Steve’s landmark solo albums including ‘Arc Of A Diver’, the three-time Grammy-Award-Winning ‘Back In The High Life’, and the Grammy-award-winning ’Roll With It’. Winwood has always nurtured a restless creative spirit, mining rich musical traditions such as Delta Blues, English Folk, Plainsong, R&B, Afro-and Caribbean & Brazilian rhythms; merging these diverse influences within his own unmistakable sound.
Winwood’s solo career has yielded a rich catalog of popular songs including “Back In The High Life,” “While You See A Chance,” “Roll With It”, “Valerie,” and “Higher Love”. The latter was nominated for seven Grammy Awards, winning three: ‘Record Of The Year’, ‘Best Engineered Non-Classical Album’, and ‘Best Male Pop Vocal Performance’. ’Roll With It’ received four Grammy nominations in 1989 and won ‘Best Engineered Album’. Steve’s most recent solo albums, ‘About Time’ and ‘Nine Lives’ have received critical acclaim, earning Winwood one of his highest Billboard chart entries.
Steve has since renewed his creative partnership with Eric Clapton. Their expansive CD and DVD ‘Live At Madison Square Garden’ was nominated for two Grammys and rewarded their many fans with some of the most exciting performances of their careers. Subsequent tours of the United States and Japan make clear the lasting appreciation fans have for their unique talents.
In addition to his many achievements as a solo artist, Winwood has remained an in-demand session player throughout his career, contributing to landmark recordings by Jimi Hendrix (Voodoo Chile), The Who (Tommy), James Brown (Gravity), Leon Russell (1970 self-titled solo debut album), George Harrison (Dark Horse, George Harrison), Tina Turner (Break Every Rule), Eric Clapton (The Rainbow Concert, Powerhouse), Billy Joel (The Bridge), Joe Cocker (With A Little Help From My Friends, Joe Cocker), Lou Reed (Berlin), Toots & The Maytals (Reggae Got Soul), Jimmy Buffett (Hot Water), Phil Collins (But Seriously), Van Morrison (Duets), Marianne Faithfull (Broken English, Dangerous Acquaintances), David Gilmour (About Face), B.B. King (In London), John Martyn (Inside Out, One World), Robert Palmer (Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley), Talk Talk (The Colour Of Spring), Shawn Phillips (Contribution, Faces), Muddy Waters (The London Muddy Waters Sessions), Howlin’ Wolf (London Revisited), Christina Aguilera (Back To Basics), Paul Weller (Stanley Road), Miranda Lambert (Four The Record), Christine McVie (Christine McVie), and Etta James (The Right Time). He has toured with Joe Cocker, Tom Petty, Carlos Santana, The Allman Brothers, Eric Clapton, Steely Dan, The Grateful Dead, Tito Puente, Arturo Sandoval, The Funk Brothers, and The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, among others.
Steve Winwood is a recipient of the Ivor Novello Outstanding Song Collection, the BMI Icon Award, the Musicians Union Classic Rock Award, The Nashville Symphony Harmony Award, and has been nominated for 11 Grammys, winning two. Steve has received Honorary Doctorate degrees in Music from Berklee College Of Music, Aston University in his hometown of Birmingham, England; and from the University of Gloucestershire.
Steve performed at the Golden Jubilee commemoration of Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in 2002. Traffic was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2004, and the following year, Steve was honored for his “enduring influence on generations of music makers” by BMI. In 2005, Steve received the Golden Eagle Medal from Hungarian Ambassador Andras Simonyi. Rolling Stone Magazine named Steve Winwood one of the ‘Greatest Singers Of All Time’ in 2010, and Steve performed for President Obama at the 2013 Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C.. On June 5th 2014, he was inducted into the Walk Of Fame in Nashville, TN.
Steve released his first-ever live album as a solo artist in September, 2017. ‘Winwood: Greatest Hits Live’ is a new 2CD/4LP collection sourced from Steve’s personal archives of live performances. With a 23-song tracklist handpicked by Steve, featuring his best-loved songs, ‘Greatest Hits Live’ offers fans a definitive musical portrait of his five-decade career.
The expanded 2CD/4LP gatefold package features rare, previously unreleased material touching on all aspects of Winwood’s extensive catalog, including contemporary arrangements of the music he created with the Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, Blind Faith, and on his classic solo recordings. The collection channels R&B, Jazz, Funk, Folk, Classic Rock, Pop, and Afro-Caribbean & Brazilian rhythms, highlighting Winwood’s unique ability to fuse multiple genres into a singular, cohesive musical expression. The record not only demonstrates Steve’s mastery of the Hammond B3 Organ, but also showcases his remarkable guitar skills.
Steve Winwood forges ahead undaunted, continuing to create and perform new and exciting material. He remains one of the most important and influential artists in all of popular music.
‘Greatest Hits Live’ is available now on Amazon, iTunes, AppleMusic, Spotify, and GooglePlay. Each vinyl set includes a digital download card.
“I’m excited about the release because I have recorded every show for many years and so it evoked many memories of the performances and reactions from the fans over the years who have supported me. I suppose it is sort of a tribute to the band members and crew I’ve been fortunate to have with me on the road. The songs were chosen for being the ones most recognized throughout my career which have left an impression and so I hope the record will be a souvenir that brings to mind happy memories of a good time experienced at one of my shows.” – SW