1960’s Music Legend Spencer Davis Dead at Age 81

Spencer Davis, whose talented innovation brought chart-topping hits for his 1960’s band, The Spencer Davis Group, died at the age of 81 on Monday while undergoing hospital treatment for pneumonia. The British-born songwriter/guitarist/multi-instrumentalist, who was heavily influenced by Blues and Skiffle styles of music, performed with many now famous artists in the early 60’s, including Christine Perfect, later known as Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie, and pre-Rolling Stones’ Bill Wyman.

The Spencer Davis group, formed in 1963, consisted of Davis on vocals and guitar, a very young 15-year-old Stevie Winwood on guitar, keys and vocals, Winwood’s brother Muff on bass and Pete York on drums. Their most popular songs include “Gimme Some Lovin’” and “Somebody Help Me.” Two transatlantic hits made the UK number 1 singles charts – “Keep on Running” and “I’m a Man.” The band also had seven top 40 hits in Britain prior to the departure of Steve Winwood in 1967. Nigel Olson, longtime drummer for Elton John, joined the band for one year in 1969.

Spencer Davis is regarded as an important influence in popularizing Blues Rock and R&B in the UK. Later in life, Davis came to be known as “rock’s elder statesman.”