As a solo artist, Steve Winwood is primarily associated with the highly polished blue-eyed soul-pop that made him a star in the '80s. Yet his turn as a slick, upscale mainstay of adult contemporary radio was simply the latest phase of a long and varied career, one that's seen the former teenage R&B shouter move through jazz, psychedelia, blues-rock, and progressive rock. Possessed of a powerful, utterly distinctive voice, Winwood was also an excellent keyboardist who remained an in-demand session musician for most of his career, even while busy with high-profile projects. That background wasn't necessarily apparent on his solo records, which established a viable commercial formula that was tremendously effective as long as it was executed with commitment.
Stephen Lawrence Winwood was born May 12, 1948, in the Handsworth area of Birmingham, England. First interested in swing and Dixieland jazz, he began playing drums, guitar, and piano as a child, and first performed with his father and older brother Muff in the Ron Atkinson Band at the age of eight. During the early '60s, Muff led a locally popular group called the Muff Woody Jazz Band, and allowed young Steve to join; eventually they began to add R&B numbers to their repertoire, and in 1963 the brothers chose to pursue that music full-time, joining guitarist Spencer Davis to form the Spencer Davis Group. Although he was only 15, Steve's vocals were astoundingly soulful and mature, and his skills at the piano were also advanced beyond his years. Within a year, he'd played with numerous American blues legends both in concert and in the studio; in 1965, he also recorded the solo single "Incense" as the Anglos, crediting himself as Stevie Anglo. Meanwhile, the Spencer Davis Group released a handful of classic R&B-styled singles, including "Keep on Running," "I'm a Man," and the monumental "Gimme Some Lovin'," which stood with any of the gritty hardcore soul music coming out of the American South.
2004 saw his 1982 song "Valerie" used by DJ Eric Prydz, in a song called "Call On Me". It spent five weeks at number 1 on the UK singles chart. Winwood heard an early version of Prydz' remix and liked it so much, he not only gave permission to use the song, he re-recorded the samples for Prydz to use. In 2005, the Soundstage Performances DVD was released, featuring his recent work from the album About Time along with his classic hits including "Higher Love" and "Back in the High Life". Winwood also performs hits from his days with Traffic (inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004) as well as current recordings that represent a tapestry of tastes woven after 40 years in music. He is currently working on his new studio album slated for release in 2006, and is preparing a live album from his American 2005 tour. Steve also recently announced his 2006 tour. Additionally, Christina Aguilera features Winwood on one of her songs from her 2006 record Back to Basics, called "Makes Me Wanna Pray"
What does "you know bloody who" think about Steve Winwood?
With 'Back In The High Life,' Steve Winwood has created the first undeniably superb record of an almost decade-long solo career, and the news of its arrival is as momentous as its protracted deferment was disturbing. Indeed, the passion long smoldering in his finest work explodes in the album-opening duet with Chaka Kahn, "Higher Love," as Winwood cuts through their lustrous harmony to intone, "I could light the night up with my soul on fire/I could make the sun shine from pure desire!" This kinetic anthem to the sensuality of faith makes good on every one of Winwood's soul-stirring boasts as it rises, breaks and then surges again to a still-loftier crest. Grand stuff – so why the frustrating delay?
The Prophet 5 electronic-keyboard signatures and other alluring control-room devices that Winwood developed on his solo records are in sparing but effective evidence on Back in the High Life, and he's traded the sterile autonomy of the studio for the give-and-take of a band, a diverse group of players including the guitarists Nile Rodgers and Joe Walsh and the dexterous Quincy Jones session drummer John Robinson. But the real collaboration is with coproducer Russ Titelman, who has carefully framed Winwood's singing in all its reedy-to-radiant brassy splendor. On tracks like "Higher Love," "Take It As It Comes" and "Wake Me Up on Judgment Day," Winwood's phrasing is so sharp he rises far above everything else in Titelman's mix, even the earth wind and fire - inspired synth-horns.
And just when you think you've got another Phil Collins - like case of Brit soul larceny, these songs slip out along delightfully unanticipated avenues. No track on High Life is less than five minutes in length, and each unfolds with deliberate precision. Even the casually synchronized backing harmonies by James Ingram on "The Finer Things" and James Taylor on the title track become springboards for Winwood to jump to the upper reaches of his vocal range, and the shadings he himself provides on keyboards and mandolin deftly advance these vibrant narratives of self-discovery. By the time Winwood's keyboards begin parrying with Joe Walsh's frisky guitar figures on the propulsive "Split Decision," it's plain that the reluctant star has finally found the knack of shining without awkwardness or apology. (RS 478/479)
Welcome to "The Definitive 1000 Songs of All Time 1955 to 2005" & the Mellow Mix Volumes.This site is merely to question Rolling Stone Magazine's Top 500 Songs. Everyone has songs they
like and everyone has dislikes. Remember music is like clothing.. there are many styles,
so why on earth would all people want to wear jockey "Y" fronts???
Oh, & don't forget to RATE the songs. Ta