Today’s music video is ‘While You See A Chance’ from Steve Winwood.
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While today’s featured song is Steve Winwood’s first hit as a solo artist, he already had a huge career of 15 years in some of the most celebrated bands of the 60’s and the 70’s.
This song today was from his second solo album ‘Arc Of A Diver’, released in 1980. The song was a huge hit in many Countries, including the huge markets of both the U.S. and the UK. On the back of the hit single, the album was also a monster as well, although this was a time when people were buying albums for the sake of the whole album, and not just because it had a hit single on it. The album only has seven songs on it, and you may feel cheated in this day and and age of Compact Disks with more than an hour of music on them, but on vinyl, you could only fit so much on each of the sides, and Winwood preferred longer songs, and because of that, not very many received airplay, and in fact the only other song I recall hearing on the radio at the time was the title track, ‘Arc Of A Diver’, which was a minor hit in some places around Australia.
The introduction for this song is of interest because it was originally planned to be a drum solo type of intro, but when it came time to record the song, Winwood found he had deleted the intro, and had nothing in the studio to recreate it, so he wrote the distinctive organ solo introduction on the spot, and used that instead.
So as the song could get airplay on radio, it had to be truncated from its original length of more than five minutes down to just shorter than four minutes, and that cut portion is the centre instrumental break in the song.
As I mentioned Winwood already had a celebrated career leading up to his move into a solo career.
He was always a talented multi instrumentalist, and nowadays, it’s hard to believe that someone so young could start out on a career as a rock musician.
Steve joined the band The Spencer Davis Group at the age of only 14 in 1962.
In 1965, that band had their first huge Number One smash hit with ‘Keep On Running’, with Winwood still barely 17.
The success of this song gave Steve enough money to purchase what he really wanted, a Hammond B3 Organ, usually only the province of the rich, as one of these organs cost as much as a high end luxury car. These large Hammond B3’s were coming into prominence with many of the English bands at the time, and most of the keyboards you hear from some of the top bands in the mid and late 60’s were in fact produced from these Hammond B3 organs.
On the back of this huge Number One in the UK, the band had a further two Number Ones while Winwood was still with the band, and in late 1967, he left to form the band Traffic. He stayed with Traffic for the next two years which included two Top 5 Singles, and then left that band to form Blind Faith with Eric Clapton, following the break up of super group Cream. What is hard to believe with Blind Faith is that they only had the one album and lasted barely longer than a year.
From Blind Faith, Winwood went back to Traffic, and he stayed with them for a further four years. Locked into playing a certain style of music was not Winwood’s style, and ever restless he left Traffic and became a celebrated session musician, and in fact played on many of the top albums around that time for the next five or six years, and in fact branched out into numerous genres of the music industry.
He was always a talented multi instrumentalist, and played a variety of instruments very well.
This next clip shows The Spencer Davis group with their first big smash hit ‘Keep On Running’. That’s Steve Winwood playing lead guitar and singing the lead vocal, and as you watch it, be aware that here he is only just 17 years old.
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