SW logo The Smiling Phases Compendium:
Winwood: Solo and General

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The Smiling Phases Compendiums are a synthesis of information posted in the Smiling Phases mailing list. It's a summary of what SP contributors found interesting, what they asked and others answered, and what has come together through combined efforts. Some material is a re-iteration of the original SP postings, but many are newly written and some include additional tidbits for completeness or clarification. Topics covered elsewhere on the Smiling Phases and official Steve Winwood sites are generally omitted here, as are reviews, commentary, and favorite / least favorite songs. This synthesis is intended only to aid researchers, and authorship is attributable only to the original contributors of the referenced and linked SP postings for each topic.

The Smiling Phases Compendiums are compiled and edited by Stephen Smith, mostly from original postings by the many contributors to the Smiling Phases mailing list. See the linked SP references for the original postings in the Mailing List Archives.

Information is grouped into linked topics within each page. Source postings are referenced by SP volume and posting. For example, SP 58-04 refers to post 4 in SP volume 58.

Steve Winwood (1977)
Arc Of A Diver (1980)
They Call It An Accident soundtrack (1982)
Chronicles (1987)
Roll With It (1988)
Balto, "Reach For The Light" (1995)
Junction 7 (1997)
"Christmas Is Now Drawing Near At Hand" (1997)
Singles and instrumental versions
Live appearances - non-performing
Live appearances - performing
1996 City of Hope All Star Garage Band
1997 VH-1 Honors Concert
With Joe Walsh
Unreleased songs
Biographical
Bob Seger reference
Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame
Invitations to join other groups
Associates who've passed on
Videos
Tour Musicians' Albums

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Steve Winwood (1977)

The song "Vacant Chair" was written after Graham Bond killed himself in 1974. He had formed the Graham Bond Organization with Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker (pre-Cream) and later worked with Steve in Ginger Baker's Airforce. The chanting is Swahili for "the dead are weeping for the dead", which Steve sings in English later in the song.
See the original postings: SP 05-08.

Arc Of A Diver (1980)

Tony Wright, the artist for the cover of Arc Of A Diver, described the making of the cover on a site to sell lithographs.
Arc of a Diver came out in 1980, a time when record sleeves were still the main visual image that accompanied the music. Just then videos were starting and I knew the record sleeve was on the demise. They had grown from just being a package to being independent works of art to be judged in their own right. "Arc of a Diver" looked like an art print, it had striking presence because of that. I remember making the picture very well. It was the last cover I did in England. I'd gone there for my "last summer". Steve was just finishing the record when I arrived. I wasn't intending to do any work, but quickly this changed. Although I'd done several things for Steve obliquely through Chris Blackwell, I'd never worked directly with him. I had a demo tape of the music to work to. I did about 15 ideas in sketch form to illustrate what the music and title suggested to me. Some were English countryside images like the flash of a kingfisher when it dives, some were about the arc of space, but the one that struck me the most and I hoped he'd choose was a very simple Matisse-like diver. It was a long drive to his place in the country. He was in hiking gear looking incredibly young and healthy. The house maybe dated from the sixteenth century, his studio was built underground in what must have been the cellars. Steve's first wife was there, she thought the diver looked awkward. He replied, "If I did a dive that's the way it would look". She warmed to it and decided the red heart showed the diver had soul. When you first saw the cover you couldn't help but be caught by its unique simplicity.
See the original postings: SP 67-08.

They Call It An Accident soundtrack (1982)

The soundtrack album for They Call It An Accident includes several tracks by Steve Winwood: short and long versions of "Your Silence Is Your Song", "Main Theme", and an instrumental version of "Night Train". "Main Theme" is actually an instrumental version of "Your Silence Is Your Song". This version of "Night Train" is about 30 seconds shorter than the instrumental version on the flip side of the 12" single "Back in the High Life Again".
See the original postings: SP 03-12,
SP 146-01.

Chroncles (1987)

The liner notes for the CD list "Dust" (from Arc Of A Diver) as "Lust".
See the original postings: SP 44-08.

Roll With It (1988)

Steve is singing from the heart on "Hearts On Fire" because it is a true account of his first meeting with his wife, Eugenia.
See the original postings: SP 05-08.

Balto, "Reach For The Light" (1995)

Steve's single "Reach for the Light" was released on October 31, 1995, on MCA Records. It was the theme song for the animated children's film Balto, from Universal Pictures, about a Siberian Husky dog. A subscriber researched this name at the library and found that Balto was a sled dog who, in 1925, saved the town of Nome, Alaska, by delivering diphtheria medicine through a raging snowstorm, a true story. The single was available on CD or cassette and contains two versions of the song (4:21 and 5:21). The longer version contains an extra chorus but does not appear to be different in any other way. Steve produced the song, but did not write it. There are no liner notes, so no indication if he even played any instrument, and no other names of musicians.
See the original postings: SP 14-03.

Junction 7 (1997)

Junction 7 was released in the US and Europe on June 3, 1997, and in Japan on May 28, 1997. The Japan release included a bonus track, the demo version of "Come Out And Dance". The album name signifies that it was Steve's 7th solo album, but also the turn-off on the M6 Motorway which leads to Birmingham Perry Barr, Steve's old home. See SP 78-02 for an interview with Steve about the album.
See the original postings: SP 61-01,
SP 76-11 and 76-06,
SP 78-02.

Other release dates related to Junction 7:
May 19 - release of single "Spy In The House Of Love" to radio.
June 2 or 3 - release of album Junction 7 to stores.
June 3 - release of single "Spy In The House Of Love" to stores.
June 6 - release of video for "Spy In The House Of Love" to MTV and VH-1.
The UK version of the "Spy In The House Of Love" single was Virgin VSCDT 1642, released 5/27/1997. The tracks are:
(1) Single version
(2) "Come out and dance" - demo version
(3) Johnson Somerset Remix
(4) Album version
Virgin's top choice for the first single may have been "Plenty Lovin'". Des'ree's label, Sony, objected because she also had a new release coming out and didn't want the recordings to compete.
See the original postings: SP 69-02,
SP 77-07,
SP 78-03.

The CD single of "Gotta Get Back To My Baby", released in Europe, has four tracks:
(1) Single version
(2) Jazz version
(3) "Roll With It" - live in Munich, Germany
(4) "Put On Your Dancing Shoes" - demo version
A Billboard article mentioned that Steve's wife co-wrote "Gotta Get Back To My Baby", and that the song actually refers to her being away from baby Lilly.
See the original postings: SP 76-02,
SP 118-05.

The producer for Junction 7 was Narada Michael Walden. He started out as a session drummer in England in the late 1960s, and rose to prominence in the early 1970s playing drums with John McGloughlin and the Mahivishnu Orchestra. He also recorded with the Jeff Beck Group (on Wired) and Weather Report (on Black Market). He is also a songwriter and may play other instruments as well. Eventually Narada shifted his focus to production. He has since produced albums by Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and other big artists. He has produced several number one hits, including Whitney Houston's "How Will I Know", Starship's "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now", Aretha Franklin and George Michael's "I Knew You were Waiting For Me", and Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)". Narada was featured in a "super producers" concert in Japan in 1994.
See the original postings: SP 56-03, 56-04, and 56-06.

Virgin issued a 2-CD promotional version of Junction 7, catalog number IVCD3098, with the same cover as the regular release. The promo set has 32 tracks, including all 11 tracks from the album plus interview tracks. In the interview, conducted by Paul Sexton, Steve talks about the recording of each song and then about the involvement of Narada Michael Walden and the making of Junction 7 in more detail.
See the original postings: SP 116-07.

"Christmas Is Now Drawing Near At Hand" (1997)

Steve contributed the track "Christmas Is Now Drawing Near At Hand" to the compilation CD A Very Special Christmas 3, released on October 7, 1997. The Very Special Christmas series supports Special Olympics. The song was also recorded by Elaine Waterson, who as part of the Watersons recorded the version of "John Barleycorn" that Chris Wood brought in for Traffic to record.
See the original postings: SP 103-01,
SP 112-09,
SP 115-06.

Singles and instrumental versions

The UK 12" single of "Night Train" has an instrumental version on the b-side. This version has extra guitar and keyboards, and is much longer than 3:35.
See the original postings: SP 47-05.

The b-side for the "One And Only Man" single was the otherwise unreleased instrumental song "Always".
See the original postings: SP 11-10,
SP 62-11.

The instrumental versions of "Don't You Know What The Night Can Do?" (5:46), "Higher Love" (6:05), "Holding On" (5:37), "Night Train" (3:35), and "Your Silence is Your Song" (4:55) differ substantially from the vocal versions. "Higher Love" has some very odd stereo effects and a lot more percussion, and "Don't You Know What The Night Can Do?" is absolutely unrecognizable until about 1:30 into the song. The instrumental version of "In the Light Of Day" (6:10) is only a little different from the vocal version.
See the original postings: SP 15-09.

On the instrumental version of "Don't You Know What The Night Can Do?", a Moog solo replaces the vocals. On the instrumental versions of "Holding On" and "Hearts on Fire", the vocals are omitted but the music is otherwise changed very little. A long dance version of "Roll With It" (about 7 minutes) has extra organ licks and female vocals. The "Steve Testifies Dub" starts out with just piano playing the rhythm of the song and Steve singing over it. At the chorus, the organ kicks in, then the horns and rest of the rhythm section pulls in.
See the original postings: SP 62-11.

"Night Train", from Arc Of A Diver, has been released on various singles and on the soundtrack They Call It An Accident in both remixed and instrumental versions. One SP subscriber reviewed these releases and felt that even the earlier instrumental versions sound different from the later versions. The common element is that they all have a synthesizer lead in place of the vocal (but different). The earlier release, such as the "Night Train" 12" single b-side (6:30), also has other differences in nearly every part. The overall sound is noticeably more tentative than the album version, so it could be an early working version with some parts from the final version added later. The subscriber felt that the soundtrack version (3:35) is an edit of this. The later releases, on singles for "The Finer Things" and "Back In The High Life", sounded more like the album version.
See the original postings: SP 147-01.

Live appearances - non-performing

Steve appeared on the David Letterman show in 1994, Arsenio Hall in 1991. Rolling Stone magazine published a major interview with Steve in 1988. There have also been interviews in Musician and Goldmine magazines.
See the original postings: SP 46-09.

Steve Winwood was one of many musicians featured on ABC's "Nightline" program on 11/23/1995. The topic was the Beatles. They had about a dozen musicians, ranging from Steve to Brian Wilson to Itzhak Pearlman, talking about their impressions of the band. Steve mentioned, among other things, that he really dug the harmonica on "Love Me Do". He also said that Paul was the main musician of the band.
See the original postings: SP 16-06.

On February 26, 1997, Steve presented the award for Best New Artist to LeAnn Rimes, at the 39th Grammy Awards held at Madison Square Gardens in New York City.
See the original postings: SP 54-03.

Steve appeared on CNN on April 9, 1997, talking about the upcoming VH-1 Honors Concert and the pending new album Junction 7: "It's a soul album, it's a pop-soul album, it's, uh, it's got a lot of energy, and it's fun, and I'm very excited about it".
See the original postings: SP 64-04.

Steve was a presenter at the Fourth Annual Nashville Music Awards at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center on January 21, 1998. Appearing with him were Kathy Mattea, Steve Cropper, John Hiatt, Amy Grant, Bob Carlisle, Rodney Crowell, the trio of Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer and Mike Marshall, dc Talk, Rod McGaha, Buddy and Julie Miller, and Mike Eldred. The Nashville Music Awards are presented by Leadership Music, and the proceeds benefit Humanities Outreach in Tennessee (HOT) as well as Leadership Music. Steve and Peter Frampton presented the best pop album award, which was intended for Amy Grant but she couldn't make it to the stage.
See the original postings: SP 116-14,
SP 117-10.

Live appearances - performing

Steve Winwood once played with Alvin Lee and Mylon LeFevre on the weekly NBC-TV rock show "The Midnight Special". The performance was held at the Rainbow Room of the London department store Biba. The band included Steve Winwood and George Harrison. They sang "Rockin' Til The Sun Goes Down" and two other songs. The show remains unreleased.
See the original postings: SP 132-04.

Steve joined the reunited Band on stage at the Lone Star Cafe in New York in 1986, singing with Richard Manuel and Levon Helm on "Willie and the Hand Jive" in one of Richard's last performances before he killed himself.
See the original postings: SP 21-10.

Steve played guitar on the first stage performance of Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells" in London shortly after release of the album.
See the original postings: SP 29-07.

Steve took part in the Songs And Visions concert on August 16, 1997, at Wembley Stadium in London. Other performers included Seal, Rod Stewart, Jon Bon Jovi, kd lang, Toni Braxton, Robert Palmer, Chaka Khan, and a 50-piece orchestra. Steve was in the opening song "Papa Was A Rolling Stone". The idea was then to play a song from each of the last 40 years, with the stars rotating. Steve did a duet with Seal on U2's "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For", "Gimme Some Lovin'", Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog", joined the end chorus of "Heartbreak Hotel", and a duet with Chaka Khan on "Dancing In The Streets". Seal also did "Stairway To Heaven". The showed was aired on TV in the US.
See the original postings: SP 65-02,
SP 75-08,
SP 96-11 amd 96-12.

Steve performed live at the Virgin Megastare on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles on June 8, 1997. The show and an online chat were broadcast live to all other US Virgin Megastores and on the Internet by Live Concerts. Passes were given to people who purchased Junction 7 in southern California Virgin Megastores in the days between its release and the show. Steve performed for 45 minutes, playing "I'm A Man", "Spy In The House Of Love", "Gotta Get Back To My Baby", "Can't Find My Way Home", "Glad", "Just Wanna Have Some Fun", "Higher Love", and "Gimme Some Lovin'". For the online chat, Steve responded to previously submitted questions, including some from SP subscribers. The online feed included video.
See the original postings: SP 78-08,
SP 80-08 and 80-10,
SP 82-08,
SP 83-06,
SP 84-03 and 84-04.

Live Concerts also presented a Steve Winwood concert on August 24, 1997, but this may have been a re-run of the June 8 show.
See the original postings: SP 93-08,
SP 97-01.

Garth Brooks, Celine Dion, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Shawn Colvin, Steve Winwood, George Michael, the Fugees, and others appeared 12/10/1997 at New York City's Beacon Theatre to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the US Committee for UNICEF. The "Gift of Song" concert, carried live on the TNT network, raised funds for the US Committee and the United Nations Childrens' Fund. The event was produced by Ken Ehrlich, the man behind a similar concert at the United Nations in 1979. That "Gift of Song" event, which included the Bee Gees, Rod Stewart, and Donna Summer, was subsequently marketed through a double album and has raised more than $10 million to date.
See the original postings: SP 108-13,
SP 110-10.

In about October 1997, Steve performed at the Second Annual Gentleman's Quarterly "Men of the Year" celebration. Along with David Bowie, Steve provided the musical entertainment for such honorees as Tom Cruise and Peter Jennings. The event was held at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Steve played "Higher Love" and "Back In The High Life Again". VH-1 aired the show on 11/2/1997.
See the original postings: SP 108-13,
SP 110-03.

1996 City Of Hope All-Star Garage Band

Steve took part in the 1996 City Of Hope All-Star Garage Band on October 16, which also included Don Henley, Bryan Adams, Sheryl Crow, Melissa Etheridge, John Mellencamp, Eddie Van Halen, Me'shell Ndegeocello, Bobby Keys, Tony Rich, Richie Sambora, Jim Price, Narada Michael Walden, and Max Weinberg. Paul Shaffer directed the band, Bill Maher of "Politically Incorrect" was to host the event, and designers Todd Oldham and Tommy Hilfiger were to contribute to the production. The music industry fund-raiser honored VH-1 chief John Sykes with the Spirit of Life Award at the Universal City Walk in Los Angeles. The annual event raises between $3 million and $4 million for the City Of Hope, a non-profit medical and research center dedicated to the prevention, treatment, and cure of AIDS, cancer, Alzheimer's and other life-threatening diseases. The black-tie gala, a key record business event, is also an important industry schmooze-fest. Seats at the gala started at $500 with premium tables as high as $50,000.

The concert was aired by VH-1 in its entirety on March 8, 1997, due to huge demand. A Billboard article described the concert, its charitable contribution, and the performers, and Steve in particular. John Mellencamp was profuse in his praise of Steve. The broadcast was to be simulcast on radio, providing further fund-raising support for City Of Hope with telethon-style breaks between the songs. Viewers were encouraged to make donations to the nonprofit medical and research center via a toll-free line donated by Ticketmaster. Those who donated $20 or more earned a limited edition All-Star Garage Band T-shirt designed by Tommy Hilfiger, and a copy of the VH-1 Big '80s compilation CD.

Songs (lead vocals):
"I Fought The Law" (John Mellencamp, Bryan Adams)
"Stay With Me" (Melissa Etheridge)
"Bitch" (Sheryl Crow)
"In The Midnight Hour" (Don Henley)
"C'mon Everybody" (Bryan Adams)
"Shotgun" (Steve Winwood)
"Get Ready" (Tony Rich)
"When Something Is Wrong With My Baby" (Steve Winwood, Sheryl Crow)
"Hold On I'm Coming" (Don Henley, Steve Winwood)
"Tequila" (Bobby Keys)
"Gloria" (John Mellencamp)
"Gimme Some Lovin'" (Steve Winwood)
"Get Back" (Richie Sambora, Melissa Etheridge)

The concert was aired several times on March 8, along with a 2-hour special called Garage Band Heroes featuring interviews and music of the participants, hosted by Max Weinberg.

See the original postings: SP 37-03,
SP 42-10,
SP 43-06,
SP 49-06,
SP 54-02,
SP 55-01,
SP 57-04.

During the concert, Steve wore devices in both ears which were described by subscribers as head phones to replace the on stage monitors. The head phones are form-fitted to each person and block out all extraneous noises. They serve the dual purpose of being able to hear directly what is being fed into the microphones while screening out a lot of unneeded decibels. Phil Collins started using them on the last Genesis tour. Todd Rundgren wears a brand named Crystal Ear Monitors when performing live, and they look very much the same. A musician in the business indicated that these new monitor devices are commonly used by musicians who have even a slight hearing loss, or more often, problems with separating room noise from music. This kind of hearing loss, he said, is very normal among performers who've done lots of live concerts throughout the years.
See the original postings: SP 58-03 and 58-04,
SP 59-01.

1997 VH-1 Honors Concert


See the original postings: SP 64-06 for a review of the actual concert.

VH-1 aired the show on April 11, with two related shows:

  • The Honors Concert: a special edition of Pop-Up Videos featuring artists from the Honors special.
  • The Save The Music special: examining the foundation and the artists who support it, including videos from the concert participants.

Songs (lead vocals):
"Higher Ground" (Stevie Wonder, Steve Winwood)
"Gimme Some Lovin'" (Steve Winwood, Stevie Wonder)
"Winding Road" (Sheryl Crow)
"Holy River" (Prince)
"Sixth Avenue Heartache" (Wallflowers)
"Living For The City" (Stevie Wonder, George Michael)
"To Love You More" (Celine Dion)
"Higher Love" (Steve Winwood, Chaka Khan)
"Something Better Than This" (Wallflowers)
"Too Close" (Stevie Wonder, Williams Brothers)
"Shower The People" (James Taylor, Shawn Colvin, Williams Brothers)
"Wake Up Suzie" (James Taylor)
"Spy In The House Of Love" (Steve Winwood)
"Sometimes You Make Me Happy" (Sheryl Crow, Emmylou Harris)
"A Family Affair" (Steve Winwood, Chaka Khan)
"Back In The High Life Again" (Steve Winwood)
"The Weight (Levon Helm)"
Medley - "Take Me With You" / "Raspberry Beret" / ? (Prince)

See the original postings: SP 58-01,
SP 59-09,
SP 63-02, 63-03, and 63-08,
SP 64-06.

With Joe Walsh

The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame site said, in early 1996, that Joe Walsh "is putting material together in anticipation of a joint musical project with British rocker Steve Winwood. Walsh contributed a song and played guitar on Winwood's 1986 Back In The High Life album. The two met again recently at an Eagles gig in Nashville and decided to try a new collaboration...The new music could be used for a joint Walsh / Winwood release or be used on separate solo albums." There was also a note on the Joe Walsh Home Page that he was currently working on a new project with Steve. In a 1998 interview on the official Steve Winwood site, Steve said "In fact, we got together and we had a jam. We had not seen each other for a long time. Joe is a very long time friend and has been through a lot. I've also been through a lot, so we just got together for a day. We jammed more than specifically wrote together, so nothing finished came out of that. But I hope that we may finish where we left off at some point."
See the original postings: SP 18-05,
SP 25-07.

Unreleased songs

The BMI site lists many songs written or co-written by Winwood that have not been released. Subscribers evaluated these songs.

  • Steve only: "New Orleans Egg Dance", "Right Now" - Probably instrumentals.
  • Steve, Jimmy Miller, Jacques Andre Chaumelle: "S'il Faut Un Homme" - Possibly "I'm A Man", with the French writer credited for the translation.
  • Steve, Jim Capaldi, Chris Wood, Dave Mason: "Zing" - Obviously early Traffic.
  • Steve, Jim Capaldi, Chris Wood: "Pepsi Cola Jingle" - Again, Traffic.
  • Steve, Jim Capaldi: "Sitting Here Thinking Of My Lo..." - Title cut off.
  • Steve, George Fleming: "Afro Supper", "Billboard Romance", "Black Beauty", "Coming Home", "Fantasy" - Fleming helped out with songs on Steve Winwood and Back In The High Life. "Afro Supper" and "Black Beauty" could be from Aiye-Keta, but Remi Kabaka is credited with all writing on the album, and the former track is "Afro Super" (one "p"). Remi as sole writer here is surprising, though, and probably wasn't the reality.
  • Steve, George Fleming, James Hooker: "Pick Up The Pieces" - Same team as "Freedom Overspill", so this may be from the Back In The High Life sessions.
  • Steve, Will Jennings: "Close Your Eyes", "Waiting For Orders".
  • Steve, Vivian Stanshall: "Dear John", "Dumb Supper", "Footsteps, "If That Gun's For Real", "Lace Curtain" - "If That Gun's For Real" was actually recorded but left off Back In The High Life.
  • Steve, Remi Kabaka: "Meteorite" - Could be from the time of Aiye-Keta, or from an album Steve and Remi did in 1975 that wasn't released.

See the original postings: SP 13-02,
SP 32-06,
SP 52-02,
SP 94-08.

Biographical

Steve's full name is Stephen Lawrence Winwood. His birthday is May 12. Steve and Eugenia were married on Saturday, January 18, 1987. Their four children are Mary Clare, born in June 1987, Elizabeth Dawn, born in July 1988, Steven Calhoun ("Cal"), born in February 1993, and Lillian Eugenia ("Lilly"), born September 25, 1995.
See the original postings: SP 12-05,
SP 13-02 and 13-06,
SP 20-09,
SP 29-08,
SP 45-06,
SP 48-10.

Steve and his first wife, Nicole, were divorced during the making of Back In The High Life (1986). "Freedom Overspill" may have been written about events related to the divorce. Nicole was originally from California.
See the original postings: SP 46-07.

According to a newspaper article, Steve celebrated his 50th birthday on 5/18/1998 with a party at the Lower Broadway bar Seanachie in Nashville, Tennessee. Over 300 people attended, including friends and music business people. Steve brought his band and sang three or four songs including "Roll With It". Others who performed were Delbert McClinton, Emmylou Harris, Bekka Bramlett, John Cowan, saxy Jim Horn, and Felix Cavaliere of the Rascals. Afterward, Steve, Carlos Santana, and others reportedly went to The Trace for a nightcap.
See the original postings: SP 133-05.

Jenny Boyd included some background on Steve in her book Musicians in Tune. Jenny was married to Mick Fleetwood, and Donovan's song "Jennifer Juniper" was written for her. Her more famous sister Patti was married to George Harrison and then, more famously yet, Eric Clapton. Jenny now lives in Los Angeles, California, and has a PhD in psychology. She wrote this book to explore the creative process in contemporary musicians. These excerpts are from pages 34 and 57.
Singer and songwriter Steve Winwood, who started his career at age 15 as vocalist in his brother's jazz band, was surrounded by musical influences as a child: "My father played several different instruments, and my mother was musical, although she never actually exploited it. My grandfather on my mother's side was a musician, a church organist and a fiddle player. All my father's brothers were musicians, and my father's mother played piano. My older brother was also a musician, and there were always instruments around the house. I was gently encouraged toward music, though I was never forced to learn. But I felt sure I was going to be a musician too."

Steve Winwood extricated himself from stifling and uninspiring music education: "Shortly after I turned 5 or 6, I had some music lessons, but I fooled the teacher by doing things by ear instead of reading. That didn't last long, and I didn't really have any training until I was 14. Then I got into the Birmingham and Midland Institute of Music as a part-time music student while I was still at school. I did that for about a year and a half before I got kicked out for playing rock and roll and jazz, which of course was not acceptable. They made me make the choice - so they kicked me out."
See the original postings: SP 04-18.

Bob Seger Reference

On Bob Seger's "Heavy Music single on the Cameo-Parkway label, back when he was still mostly a local phenomenon, Bob sings "Stevie Winwood ain't got nothin' on me".
See the original postings: SP 53-04.

Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

Steve will be eligible to be nominated for the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in the year 2002, which will be 25 years after the release of his first solo album. But Spencer Davis Group (1989), Traffic (1992), and Blind Faith (1994) are all eligible now.
See the original postings: SP 23-05.

Invitations to join other groups

David Downing, in his book A Dreamer of Pictures: Neil Young, describes how Crosby, Stills, and Nash (CSN) considered asking Steve to join them in 1969. CSN had just released their first album, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, to generally good reviews. "There were good musical reasons for adding SOMEONE. First and foremost they needed some help to take their music out on the road. ... For an electric band they would need either another guitarist or a keyboard player, preferably someone who was both. The first choice was Stevie Winwood, at that time between legs of Blind Faith's one, immensely lucrative tour of the US. Stills and drummer Dallas Taylor went to see him in England, trudging through knee-deep mud to Winwood's country cottage, only to find that this particular member of rock's first supergroup had already had enough of such aggregations."

The CSN box set includes a version of "Dear Mr. Fantasy" recorded by Stills and Nash in 1980. In the liner notes, Stephen Stills comments on the group's interest in Steve. "Stevie Winwood was always my favorite singer, that blue-eyed soul sound. It had been our ambition from the start to convince him to join Crosby, Stills and Nash - I wanted an organ player who could sing the blues. He was exceptionally kind to me, but every time I trudged across the moors to see him, he was always occupied. I didn't think there was anyone more shy than me - the phrase painfully shy was invented for this man. We recorded "Dear Mr. Fantasy" a number of times, beginning in 1970. It was intended as a homage. Hats off, Stevie."
See the original postings: SP 04-20,
SP 05-03.

After Roy Orbison passed away, the other Travelling Wilburys may have invited Steve to join. He declined and they decided not to fill Roy's spot.
See the original postings: SP 04-20.

In John McDermott's book Jimi Hendrix: Sessions (1995), Buddy Miles is quoted as saying that they considered asking Winwood to join what would become the Band of Gypsies. A VH-1 special about Jimi Hendrix' album Electric Ladyland also included several references to wanting Steve to join the group.
See the original postings: SP 29-11,
SP 72-06.

Associates who've passed on

Steve was fortunate to have performed with some people who have since passed away. Subscribers noted a few in memory of their accomplishments.

  • Anthony Reebop Kwaku Baah - Traffic (1982)
  • Graham Bond
  • Andy Cavaliere - former manager
  • Sandy Denny
  • Bernard Edwards
  • Jackie Edwards
  • Rory Gallagher
  • Jerry Garcia
  • Rick Grech - Blind Faith and Traffic (March 1990)
  • Bill Haley - played on same bill as SDG in France in 1966
  • Eddie Harris - age 62, of bone cancer and kidney failure (obituary in St. Paul Pioneer Press, 11/8/96)
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Brian Jones
  • Dan Hartman
  • Ronnie Lane (6/7/1997)
  • Richard Manuel
  • Steve Marriott
  • Jimmy Miller - producer
  • Keith Moon
  • Vivian Stanshall
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan
  • Muddy Waters
  • Sonny Boy Williamson
  • Howlin' Wolf (Chester Burnett)
  • Chris Wood - Traffic

Subscribers posted two obituaries for Bernard Edwards.
From USA Today 4/22/1996:
Producer and Chic bassist Bernard Edwards was found dead Thursday in a hotel room in Tokyo, where he performed with Chic and Steve Winwood. He was 43. Hailed for his widely imitated bass style, Edwards produced work by Diana Ross, Sister Sledge and Rod Stewart and had just finished producing and playing on a new Power Station album with Robert Palmer.

From Entertainment Weekly 4/1996:
Deaths: Bassist Bernard Edwards, 43, a founding member of the pop group Chic, of unknown causes, April 18, at a Tokyo Hotel. According to his spokesman, Edwards had been performing in a concert with Steve Winwood, Slash and Simon LeBon, but "during the show, he didn't feel well. He went back to his hotel room to sleep and didn't wake up." Chic was responsible for such classic disco songs as "Dance, Dance, Dance" and "Le Freak".
See the original postings: SP 30-07,
SP 35-07,
SP 39-05,
SP 40-01,
SP 43-04,
SP 44-07,
SP 82-06,
SP 150-13.

According to the book Encyclopedia of Rock Stars, Steve performed "Arc of A Diver" at a memorial service for Vivian Stanshall. Another source indicated that he played "Londonderry Air" on acoustic guitar.
See the original postings: SP 44-02,
SP 75-07.

Linda McCartney, who took the first-ever photos of Traffic while they were still jamming and writing at the cottage at Aston-Tirrold, died Friday, April 17, 1998, in Tucson, Arizona. Her body was cremated and part of the ashes was spread at the McCartney ranch in Tucson.
See the original postings: SP 130-06.

Videos

In the video for "I'm A Man", the Spencer Davis Group does not appear but Brian Jones, George Harrison, John Lennon, and Ringo Starr are in it. The cover photo of the Chronicles album was from the "Freedom Overspill" video. The "Back In the High Life Again" video was shot at the Southern Railway station in Manassas, Virginia.
See the original postings: SP 43-08,
SP 51-09.

Steve did television commercials with Michelob beer using the songs "Talking Back To The Night" and "Don't You Know What The Night Can Do?". The commercial for "Don't You Know..." looked very much like the video for the song. In the "Roll With It" video, there is a Michelob bottle on the organ.
See the original postings: SP 46-09.

Steve Winwood live video: Yokohama Arena (Yokohama, Japan), 3/22/1991
"I'm A Man"
"While You See A Chance"
"Hearts On Fire"
"Another Deal Goes Down"
"One And Only Man"
"In The Light Of Day"
"Valerie"
"The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys"
"Glad"
"Feelin' Alright"
"Medicated Goo"
"Split Decision"
"Finer Things"
"Roll With It"
"Higher Love"
"Back In The High Life Again"
"Gimme Some Lovin'"
Total time: 104 minutes.
Players: Larry Byrom (guitar, keyboards, vocal), Randall Bramblett (sax, keyboards, vocal), Michael Rhodes (bass), Russ Kunkel (drums), Luis Conte (percussion).
Broadcast on television.
See the original postings: SP 38-08,
SP 51-09.

Tour musicians' albums

Bobby Messano, a guitarist and SP subscriber who toured with Steve in 1983, was to release a new CD in late 1996. An advance cassette copy was called Tentatively Untitled, by Bobby Messano and the NBO (New Blues Orchestra). The final album was titled Dominion Roads, for his home state of Virginia, and was released in March 1998 on the Ichiban label. One track is the Spencer Davis Group song "Keep On Running". Bobby's Web site is:
http://members.aol.com/BobbyM3228/Messano.html
See the original postings: SP 36-01,
SP 47-03,
SP 116-01,
SP 128-01,
SP 135-02.

SP subscriber Danny Wilensky, saxophonist and keyboardist on the Steve's 1986 High Life tour, released a solo album in late 1997. The album is called And Then Some, released on independent label Speechless Records. Danny's Web site is:
http://dwilensky.com
See the original postings: SP 113-09,
SP 117-08.


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Revised through Smiling Phases volume 150.
The Smiling Phases Compendiums are compiled and edited by Stephen Smith, mostly from original postings by the many contributors to the Smiling Phases mailing list. See the linked SP references for the original postings in the Mailing List Archives.

Page created March 22, 1999.
Last updated December 14, 1999.
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