Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Band's Namesake is Not the Singer: The Spencer Davis Group

In our third installment of “The Band’s Namesake is Not the Lead Vocalist,” we turn to a band named for the lead guitarist – Spencer Davis, but the vocals were handled by a teenage Steve Winwood. The band was named for Davis as he was the only one who had no problems being interviewed – so the band elected that he be the namesake of the unit.

When the band recorded the Steve Winwood/Jimmy Miller composition of “I’m A Man” in 1966 Winwood was 18 years old. The song shows off the synergistic talent of the group. Bassist Muff Winwood, Steve’s older brother, and drummer Peter York set the driving beat for this rock classic in 6/8 time.

Davis guitar and Steve Winwood’s Hammond organ punctuate the fourth beat of the measure. The Hammond is the glue that holds the entire song together and Steve does some amazing overdubbed accompaniment leads during the song’s reprise. Handclaps and cowbell add to the mix of “I’m a Man.”

Winwood and Miller would later earn additional royalties when Chicago covered the song in 1969 and it charted at #49. The original by The Spencer Davis Group hit the Top 10 in the UK and the US in January 1967.

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