Spencer Davis

Jul 17, 1939
Oct 19, 2020

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From Wikipedia:

Spencer Davis (born Spencer David Nelson Davies; 17 July 1939 – 19 October 2020) was a Welsh musician. He founded the Spencer Davis Group, a band that had several hits in the 1960s including “Keep On Running”, “Gimme Some Lovin'”, and “I’m a Man”, all sung by Steve Winwood. Davis subsequently enjoyed success as an A&R executive with Island Records. […]

The Spencer Davis Group

In 1963, Davis went to the Golden Eagle in Birmingham to see the Muff Wood Jazz band, a traditional jazz band featuring Muff Winwood and his younger brother, Steve Winwood. Davis persuaded them to join him and drummer Pete York as the Rhythm and Blues Quartet. Davis performed on guitar, vocals and harmonica, Steve Winwood on guitar, organ and vocals, Muff Winwood on bass and Pete York on drums. Reportedly, they adopted the name the Spencer Davis Group because Davis was the only band member who agreed to press interviews, allowing the other band members to sleep longer.

The group’s live reputation attracted the attention of Island Records founder Chris Blackwell who signed the group to its first contract and became their manager. The group had No. 1 hits in the UK with consecutive single releases in 1966 (“Keep On Running” and “Somebody Help Me”). 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 Winwood left to form Traffic in April 1967. The group recorded two more albums before splitting in 1969. Another version of the group with Davis and York appeared in 1973 and disbanded in late 1974. Various incarnations of the band toured in later years under Davis’s direction. […]

On September 13, 1967, The Beatles stayed at a hotel in Newquay, while filming their “Magical Mystery Tour“. In the evening, musician Spencer Davis, who was on holiday with his family in a nearby location, came to visit The Beatles.

The Spencer Davis Group had just finished a tour and I was having a holiday, staying with my wife and daughters at the Tywarnhale pub in Perranporth, which was owned by the parents of our road, Alec Leslie. I knew the Beatles quite well, so when I heard that they were filming at the Atlantic Hotel in Newquay I called up and asked Mal Evans what was going on. Mal immediately invited me over, so the whole family got into the Mini and drove over there.

Spencer Davis – From “The Making of The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour” by Tony Barrow, 1999

The Beatles and Spencer Davis met again the following day in a pub.

THURSDAY: Today and Friday turned out to be my favourite days — although we were supposed to be heading for home today, but filming got delayed because of bad weather. Today we filmed in a field. Within minutes of our arrival hundreds of holidaymakers gathered and the police were called to cope with a traffic jam! In this scene John, Paul, Sylvia and I had to crouch in a small tent. It was difficult enough trying to keep my balance without having to swat wasps and avoid sitting on beetles. Paul kept telling us to keep very still and the wasps would go away. One did — but not until after it had crawled all over Paul’s motionless mouth! This evening after getting a refreshing wash, Sylvia, Paul, Ringo, yours truly and a few others took Spencer Davis up on his invitation to come over to the little pub he was staying at and have a bit of a party. We didn’t get back until three in the morning!

Jeni Crowley – From The Beatles Monthly Book, November 1967

THURSDAY : We used the morning looking for locations to do more filming. The Beatles found a suitable field, as remote as possible. But there were crowds in no time. George sat down in the middle of the cornfield and drifted into meditation while the cameras were being set up. At four in the afternoon we had lunch — a special one because it was being filmed. We tucked in to the accompaniment of music played by the groovy band we’d listened to in the ballroom the previous evening. Later Jeni and I went to the small party Spencer Davis was throwing for the boys. We left in the small hours feeling very depressed about the return trip to London. The tour had had a rare quality of magic and fantasy about it but everything on this earth comes to an end and we had to accept the fact.

Sylvia Nightingale – From The Beatles Monthly Book, November 1967

Last updated on May 1, 2024


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