’60s British Rocker Spencer Davis Dead at 81

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’60s British Rocker Spencer Davis Dead at 81

Spencer Davis, guitarist and bandleader of the influential 1960s British rock band, The Spencer Davis Group, has died at age 81. According to AP, Davis died in a hospital while being treated for pneumonia.

Davis’ band was known for ’60s rock standards like “Gimme Some Lovin,’” “I’m a Man” and “Keep on Running.” He formed the group in 1963 with vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist Steve Winwood (Traffic, Blind Faith, Go), bassist Muff Winwood and drummer Pete York. The band released seven albums and scored two U.K. number one singles—“Keep on Running” and “Somebody Help Me”—plus several British top 40 hits.

Much like his British peers, Davis was influenced by American blues and skiffle, and had a profound impact on rock music for decades to come. He’s been covered by everyone from the Allman Brothers Band and The Grateful Dead to Ty Segall and Los Lonely Boys.

Winwood wrote in a statement on Davis’ passing, “He was definitely a man with a vision, and one of the pioneers of the British invasion of America in the sixties. I never went to the U.S. with Spencer, but he later embraced America, and America embraced him. I feel that he was influential in setting me on the road to becoming a professional musician, and I thank him for that.”

Listen to Spencer Davis perform at Fillmore East in 1971 via the Paste archives below.

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