Okay, so you have this friend - uh, yeah! A friend! That's it! - who,
having been mysteriously entombed down an old mine-shaft for the last 35 years, has never heard
of Steve Winwood; he needs an education. So you agree to make him a 90-minute tape from your
vast collection of Winwood's recordings. You could make him 2 or 3 tapes, but you don't
want to try his patience - just 'hook' him. So what songs should you put on it? Here's your
We're not describing a 'greatest hits' collection here, nor a selection of favorites (for that, see the Most Beloved Songs page), but a history of sorts, a collection of the most important works in Winwood's oeuvre. As always, email me with your thoughts, corrections, additions, or outrage at the absence of what you think is important.
|Dimples||most SDG compilations||1964||2.18||Sheesh, the kid was 15 when he covered this old standard.|
|Gimme Some Lovin'||almost any SDG compilation||1967||2.53||SW has said he's tired of people asking him about his covering "this old Blues Brothers song", so let's give credit where credit is due.|
|Dear Mr Fantasy||Mr Fantasy||1968||5.39||A classic from the first Traffic album. Stream-of-consciousness kinda druggy song.|
|You Can All Join In||Traffic||1968||3.34||A sample of Dave Mason's pop influence.|
|Can't Find My Way Home||Blind Faith||1969||3.17||Quintessential Blind Faith.|
|John Barleycorn||John Barleycorn Must Die||1970||6.20||The folk-influence and pure flute of Chris Wood.|
|Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys||Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys||1971||11.43||Can't make a Traffic tape without this.|
|Walking in the Wind||When the Eagle Flies||1974||6.51||From Traffic's last incarnation. A little cynical, but gentle.|
|Crossing the Line (the studio, not the live version)||Stomu Yamashta's Go||1976||4.46||This represents the interim, session-man period between the break-up of Traffic and SW's solo career. Powerful vocals seem to illustrate his increasing self-confidence.|
|Total:||47.31||Most tapes have a couple fudge-factor minutes on 'em.|
|Midland Maniac||Steve Winwood||1977||8.26||Steve's first completely-solo song - written, sung, all instruments, engineered, produced.|
|While You See a Chance||Arc of a Diver||1980||5.13||After the first solo album stiffed, Steve almost resolved to hang up his career. This song and album signaled his resolve to give it one more chance, giving everything he had, on a completely-solo album.|
|Higher Love||Back in the High Life||1986||5.45||I know, it's a cliché, but it was SW's first #1 hit, too. The duet with Chaka Khan and the participation of 8 session musicians marked the end of the completely-solo work on the previous 2 albums.|
|The Morning Side||Roll With it||1988||5.14||This song symbolizes SW's escape from the 'tunnel' and the major changes current in his life.|
|In the Light of Day||Refugees of the Heart||1990||9.35||Evidence of increasing spiritual concerns, and of talent on an unusual instrument - vibraphones.|
|Nowhere Is Their Freedom||Far From Home||1994||8.33||The closest we'll ever get to a true Traffic reunion - the flute was 'sampled' from old tapes of Chris Wood's work.|
|Gotta Get Back to My Baby||Junction 7||1997||4.52||A sorta world-music thing. Is this the direction Steve's heading in? Who knows what tomorrow may bring!|
After your 'friend' has heard this hypothetical tape, he will undoubtedly rush out to buy every album in Winwood's back catalogue, don't you think?
My thanks for the idea and the fabulous title of this page go to Jen!
I'm not crazy about the yellow background either, but this is the color of the book series.
Page created January 24, 1998.
Last updated February 4, 1998.