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Saturday 27 March, 2100 - 2200
Presented by Kate Thornton

Steve Winwood
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Kate Thornton tells the story of a great songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and performer who's been a key figure in pop music for over forty years - Steve Winwood.

Steve Winwood is one of those rock musicians who seems to have played with everybody at some point of his career - he was in the Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, Blind Faith and Ginger Baker's Airforce, and is now a solo artist. He's played with Jimi Hendrix, Marianne Faithfull, B.B.King, Eric Clapton, James Brown, Joe Cocker, Howlin' Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Toots and the Maytals, Muddy Waters, Viv Stanshall, Phil Collins, Billy Joel, Paul Weller, Chaka Khan and Lou Reed - pretty well the gamut of rock and pop!

Steve showed incredible musical talent at a very early age - brought up on jazz, and later blues, rhythm and blues, skiffle and rock'n'roll, Steve absorbed all kinds of musical influences, but his real hero was Ray Charles.

After two years with the Spencer Davis Group, success came in a big way - they had huge hits like "Keep on Runnin'", "I'm a Man" and "Gimme Some Loving", and Steve had to learn to deal with the adulation of screaming teenage girls. Encouraged by manager Chris Blackwell, Steve left the Spencer Davis Group and joined Traffic in 1967 alongside Jim Capaldi, Chris Wood and Dave Mason. Wild and crazy days ensued, all based around a cottage in the heart of the Berkshire countryside at Aston Tirrold, where artists like Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend and Steven Stills would drop by and where "substances" were all part of the experience.

Traffic's music was very much bound up with the spirit of that lifestyle - it was innovative, eclectic and inspired by improvisation; although many associate Traffic with their biggest hit "Hole in my Shoe", that quirky song wasn't really representative of the broad range of the music, from the 1967 album "Mr Fantasy" to "When the Eagle Flies", seven years later. The band reformed in 1994 for one album only and Steve moved on once again, though there has been some movement on the Traffic front recently with their induction this year into the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame.

During his time with Traffic, Steve had also branched out in other directions, doing session work with anyone and everyone, and drifting in and out of several bands, including Blind Faith with Clapton, Stomu Yamashta's Go and Ginger Baker's Airforce.

His first solo album "Steve Winwood" came out in 1977 but it was the second one, "Arc of a Diver" that was such a great success - it went to Number 3 in the US; although Steve played all the instruments on it and produced, engineered and mixed it, the album marked the beginning of his collaboration with lyricist Will Jennings, at the same time continuing his working partnership with ex-Bonzo Viv Stanshall. With Will he was to write another four highly successful albums - "Talking Back to the Night", "Back in the High Life" "Roll With It" and "Refugees of the Heart", with hit singles including"Valerie" and "Higher Love".

A collaboration with Narada Michael Walden resulted in the 1997 album "Junction 7", one of those records, like "Back in the High Life", with a spattering of "guest stars", such as Lenny Kravitz, Nile Rodgers and Des'ree; it also included drummer Walfredo Reyes Jnr and guitarist Jose Neto, who are both now working with Steve and are performing on his new album, "About Time".

The programme will begin with Steve's solo albums and then go back to his work with Spencer Davis followed by Traffic - it will include new interviews with Spencer Davis drummer Pete York, Muff Winwood, ex-Go and Tangerine Dream Klaus Schulze, journalist and biographer Chris Welch, producers Russ Titelmann and Tom Lord Alge, ex-Traffic Jim Capaldi, Nile Rodgers, Van Morrison, Will Jennings, Walfredo Reyes Jnr, Jose Neto and Steve himself.

Steve Winwood dot com
News, tour dates, timeline and a mailing list.
Steve Winwood Clips
Hear clips from Arc Of A Diver and more albums.

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