Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Steve Winwood’s Musical Genius

Seems underappreciated to me ...  

Musical genius Steve Winwood wrote this classic when he was just 20 years old: 

Of course that’s “Can’t Find My Way Home” on solo acoustic guitar. 

Did you know he played guitar, in addition to keyboards, drums, bass, mandolin, saxophone, and several other instruments? Neither did I. 

He joined the Spencer Davis Group (“I’m a Man”, “Gimme Some Lovin”, etc) when he was 14 after playing in local jazz and blues-rock bands starting at age 8, including gigging with famous blues artists on tour in the U.K. like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker, and Bo Diddley. 

He started Traffic when he was 19. He started Blind Faith with Eric Clapton when he was 20. He was always the youngest member by far of every band he played in, from my estimation. By the time he was 25, he had been playing many instruments professionally for over 15 years, and created timeless music that still sounds good today, as a main creative force in multiple bands. 

The timeless classic Traffic album “John Barleycorn Must Die” is mostly his creation. Just one of the great songs on it, “Glad”:

He wrote or co-wrote most of Traffic’s other well-known songs like “Paper Sun” and“Dear Mr. Fantasy”. 

And, as a guy who plays multiple instruments and writes the music, he obviously had a very big hand in the arrangements on all this great music. 

Again:  all this before he turned 25 years old. Then of course, he went on to a long successful solo career and session work. 

Island Records founder and producer Chris Blackwell said of Winwood, “He was really the cornerstone of Island Records. He's a musical genius and because he was with Island all the other talent really wanted to be with Island.”.