beat group from Birmingham, England, formed by Spencer Davis with Steve Winwood and his brother Muff Winwood. Their best known songs include "Somebody Help Me", the UK number one "Keep on Running" (both of which were written by reggae musician Jackie Edwards), "I'm a Man" and "Gimme Some Lovin'", which peaked at #2 in the UK and #7 in the United States.
Spencer Davis (born 17 July 1939, Swansea, Wales) moved to Birmingham
from London 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.
Somebody Help Me Now.
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 German
market the group released "Det war in Schoneberg, im Monat Mai" and
"Madel ruck ruck ruck an meine grune 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
Till The End Of Time
By the end of 1966 and the beginning of 1967, the group released two
more hits, "Gimme Some Lovin'" and "I'm a Man". These tracks proved to
be their two best-known successes, especially in the U.S.
Gimme Some Lovin
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.
keep On Runnin
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.
Nobody Knows When You Down and Out (From "The Ghost Goes Gear")
In 1966 the group starred in The Ghost Goes Gear, a British musical comedy film, directed by Hugh Gladwish, and also starring Sheila White and Nicholas Parsons. The plot involved the group in a stay at the childhood home of their manager, a haunted manor house in the English countryside. The film would later be considered a mistake by Winwood.
When i Come Home (From "The Ghost Goes Gear")
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," 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 Lovin'." 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 Angeles' Great Western Forum.