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The Spencer Davis Group was a mid-1960s Britishmarker beat group from Birminghammarker, Englandmarker. In its heyday the group consisted of Spencer Davis, Steve Winwood, Muff Winwood and Pete York; Jimmy Miller was their producer. The Guinness Book of British Hit Singles & Albums states "This big selling Birmingham band scored two number ones in the UK Singles Chart penned by the reggae artist, Jackie Edwards. Teenager Winwood left in 1967, to form Traffic before joining Blind Faith, then forging a career as a soloist".


Spencer Davis (born 17 July 1939, Swanseamarker, Walesmarker) moved to Birminghammarker from Londonmarker in 1960 to study. In 1963, he recruited the Winwood brothers and started the Spencer Davis Group. The band performed regularly in the city. They signed their first recording contract after Chris Blackwell of Island Records saw them at an appearance in a local club; Blackwell also became their producer.

The group's first professional recording was a cover version of "Dimples", but they came to success at the end of 1965 with "Keep On Running", the group's first number one single. In 1966, they followed this with "Somebody Help Me" and "When I Come Home". For the Germanmarker market the group released "Det war in Schöneberg, im Monat Mai" and "Mädel ruck ruck ruck an meine grüne Seite" (the first is from a 1913 Berlin operetta, the second is a Swabian traditional) as a tribute single for that audience, Davis having studied in West Berlin in the early 1960s.

By the end of 1966 and the beginning of 1967, the group released two more hits, "Gimme Some Loving" and "I'm a Man". These tracks proved to be their two best-known successes, especially in the U.S.marker

In 1967, Winwood left to form Traffic; his brother Muff moved into the music industry as A&R man at Island Records. In a joint venture, the soundtrack to the film Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush featured both the Spencer Davis Group and Traffic.

Despite the Winwoods' departure, the Spencer Davis Group continued performing and released more singles, though not repeating earlier successes. These included "Time Seller" in July 1967; the b-side, "Don't Want You No More," also received radio airplay.

This was followed by "Mr. Second-Class" in late 1967, which received heavy airplay on Radio Caroline (at that time one of the two remaining pirate radio ships off the British coast) and the group's last minor hit, "After Tea", in 1968. The latter song was released at the same time by the Germanmarker band The Rattles, providing competition that led finally to a temporary stop to all activities of the band. Davis continued working, however, producing some jazz-oriented albums in the late 1970s and early 1980s.


Although short-lived, the Spencer Davis Group - particularly its incarnation with Steve Winwood - proved to be influential, with many of the band's songs covered by other artists over the years. Notable among these are Chicago's 1969 version of "I'm a Man", same song that later became a Disco Music top ten chart hit (Billboard, october, 1978) performed by Jacques Fred Petrus´s group Macho, The Allman Brothers Band's 1969 take of Davis' instrumental "Don't Want You No More," Three Dog Night's 1970 recording of "Can't Get Enough of It," and The Blues Brothers' 1980 recording of "Gimme Some Loving." The Grateful Dead also covered Spencer Davis Group material in live performance on occasion; in particular, Spencer Davis himself performed "I'm a Man" with the Dead at a 1989 performance at Los Angelesmarker' Great Western Forummarker.

The band reformed in 2006, although only Davis and Hardin remained from the 1960s group line-ups.


UK albums

  • Their 1st LP (Fontana TL 5242) (July 1965) - UK #6
  • The 2nd LP (Fontana TL 5295) (January 1966) - UK #3
  • Autumn '66 (Fontana TL 5359) (September 1966) - UK #4
  • With Their New Face On (United Artists ULP 1192) (1968)
  • Funky (Date/One Way) (1997; recorded 1968)

US albums

  • I'm a Man (United Artists UAL 3859) (1966)
  • Gimme Some Lovin' (United Artists UAL 3578) (1967)
   1 "Gimme Some Loving"
   2 "Keep On Running"
   3 "This Hammer (The Hammer Song) "
   4 "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out"
   5 "When I Come Home"
   6 "It Hurts Me So"
   7 "Somebody Help Me"
   8 "Midnight Special"
   9 "Here Right Now"
  10 "Trampoline"
  11 "Sittin' and Thinkin'"
  12 "Goodbye Stevie"
  • With Their New Face On (United Artists UAS 6652) (1968)

Special recordings

  • The Somebody Help Me Project (1993)

UK singles

  • "Dimples" (1964) - Did not chart
  • "I Can't Stand It" (Fontana TF 499) (November 1964) - UK #47
  • "Every Little Bit Hurts" (Fontana TF 530) (February 1965) - UK #41
  • "Strong Love" (Fontana TF571) (June 1965) - UK #44
  • "Keep On Running" (Fontana TF 632) (December 1965) - UK #1
  • "Somebody Help Me" (Fontana TF 679) (March 1966) - UK #1
  • "When I Come Home" (Fontana TF 739) September 1966) - UK #12
  • "Gimme Some Loving" (Fontana TF 792) (November 1966) - UK #2
  • "I'm a Man" (Fontana TF 785) (January 1967) - UK #9
  • "Time Seller" (Fontana TF 854) (August 1967) - UK #30
  • "Mr Second Class" (United Artists UP 1203) (January 1968) - UK #35
  • "After Tea" (1968) - Did not chart
  • "Short Change" (1968) - Did not chart


  1. Richie Unterberger, Review of Funky;

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