Winwood For Dummies

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 answer!

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.

A-side: (1964-1976)
Song: From: Year: Length: Justification:
Dimples most SDG compilations 1964 2.18 Sheesh, the kid was 15 when he covered this old standard.
Gimme Some Lovin'almost any SDG compilation19672.53 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 FantasyMr Fantasy19685.39 A classic from the first Traffic album. Stream-of-consciousness kinda druggy song.
You Can All Join InTraffic19683.34 A sample of Dave Mason's pop influence.
Can't Find My Way HomeBlind Faith19693.17 Quintessential Blind Faith.
John BarleycornJohn Barleycorn Must Die19706.20 The folk-influence and pure flute of Chris Wood.
Low Spark of High-Heeled BoysLow Spark of High-Heeled Boys197111.43 Can't make a Traffic tape without this.
Walking in the WindWhen the Eagle Flies19746.51 From Traffic's last incarnation. A little cynical, but gentle.
Crossing the Line (the studio, not the live version)Stomu Yamashta's Go19764.46 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.

B-side: (1977-1997)
Song: From: Year: Length: Justification:
Midland ManiacSteve Winwood19778.26 Steve's first completely-solo song - written, sung, all instruments, engineered, produced.
While You See a ChanceArc of a Diver19805.13 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 LoveBack in the High Life19865.45 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 SideRoll With it19885.14 This song symbolizes SW's escape from the 'tunnel' and the major changes current in his life.
In the Light of DayRefugees of the Heart19909.35 Evidence of increasing spiritual concerns, and of talent on an unusual instrument - vibraphones.
Nowhere Is Their FreedomFar From Home19948.33 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 BabyJunction 719974.52 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?

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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.