Wormz Biographies

Spencer Davis

 

    Spencer Davis was born on 17th July, 1939 in Swansea, South Wales, United Kingdom. At the age of six, influenced by his Uncle Herman's mandolin playing, Spencer began learning to play harmonica and accordion . He moved to London when he was sixteen, and began working in the civil service as a clerical officer at the Post Office Savings Bank in Hammersmith, and for HM Customs and Excise. In 1960, Spencer moved to Birmingham, to read German at the University of Birmingham and in music circles, he was later known as "Professor".
    Spencer's early musical influences were skiffle, jazz, and blues. By the time he was sixteen, Spencer was hooked on the guitar and the American rhythm and blues music making its way across the Atlantic. With few opportunities to hear R&B in South Wales, Spencer sought out any performance that came to town. When he heard a Dixieland band perform a skiffle version of the R&B song "John Henry", Spencer formed a band called The Saints, along with Bill Perks, later known as Bill Wyman.
    When Spencer Davis moved to Birmingham, as a student he often performed on stage after his teaching work day was finished. While in Birmingham, he dated Christine Perfect, who later married Fleetwood Mac's John McVie. They busked and played in folk clubs. With Christine Perfect on piano and Spencer Davis on 12 string guitar, they performed Canadian folk songs, such as "Spring Hill" and "Nova Scotia" and also interpreted W.C. Handy and LeadBelly songs.
    In 1963, Spencer Davis went to a Birmingham public house, the Golden Eagle, to see a traditional jazz band featuring Muff and Steve Winwood. Steve, only fifteen at the time, was already gaining notice for his musical abilities. Spencer Davis persuaded them to join him and drummer Pete York as the Rhythm and Blues Quartet. Spencer Davis performed on guitar, vocals and harmonica, Steve Winwood on guitar, organ and vocals, Muff Winwood on bass, and Pete York on drums. Playing mainly R&B covers, the band performed first at the Golden Eagle, but within a year they had landed a regular gig at The Marquee, in London's West End and by 1964 had adopted the name The Spencer Davis Group. The group had number 1 hits in the UK with consecutive single releases in 1966 and Steve Winwood sang lead vocals on all the Spencer Davis Group's hits up to "I'm A Man" in 1967.
The Spencer Davis Group continued after Steve Winwood left to form Traffic in April 1967. Another version of the group with Spencer Davis and York appeared in 1973 and disbanded in late 1974. Various incarnations of the band have toured in recent years, under Spencer Davis' direction.
After the Spencer Davis Group broke up, Spencer Davis moved to California and recorded an acoustic album with Peter Jameson, 'It's Been So Long for Mediarts' in mid-1971. He followed it up with a solo album 'Mousetrap' for United Artists. Soon after, he moved back to the UK, formed a new Spencer Davis Group and signed with Vertigo Records.

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