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It's hard to imagine that back in the early 60s with the Spencer Davis Group that Steve Winwood was a mere 15. It was only 4 years later that he would put together the band Traffic, one of the first bands to delve into jazz fusion. I first came to know about Steve Winwood through his work in Blind Faith with Eric Clapton, but it didn't take me too long to check out Traffic and the rest of his catalog. Although some people might be more familiar with his solo work in the 80s, I always though that Winwood was at his best with Clapton and Traffic. Anyway you look at it though, he's a great musician who's certainly left his mark, and earned my admiration and appreciation.
This past week (May 12th actually I believe) Steve Winwood turned 60 years of age. I thought it would be a good way to celebrate and wish him a happy birthday with a little video from 1972 of the reunited Traffic tearing it up on what is probably the band's most well known song, but also one of my all time favorites: "Dear Mr. Fantasy".
Special thanks as always to Yotube and geodaw for helping out.
So why is this such an awesome song? It's just epic, massive and larger than life from the first notes, building through multiple melodies and to the ultimate hard hitting climax... just great rock and roll for sure. Add in that Winwood sings with tons of soul (as he always did) and rocks out pretty good on the ole' guitar as well, and you got a killer performance for sure.
If this is your first real experience with Traffic, than they're definitely a band to check out if you're into the rockin' out jams of the late 60s and 70s. I think when it comes to classic rock, they're a band that often goes a little unappreciated... a shame because they made some great albums. Same goes for Blind Faith, as some of my favorite Clapton songs came out of his short lived collaboration with Winwood (look straight to "Had to Cry Today" for some killer riffs and more great guitar work).
I also had the privilege of seeing Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton get back together for one heck of a show at 2007's Crossroads festival. It blew my mind, and they've come together a few times since then as well, but you can't go wrong catching Winwood on his own either, so keep an eye out if you want to catch an amazing show.
That concludes this little tribute to Steve Winwood, around the time of his 60th birthday. Happy Belated Birthday Steve and here's hoping you're going to keep touring and making great music for many years to come.