Spencer Davis, the two-time United Kingdom chart-topper and guitarist for the 1960s rock band bearing his name, has died of pneumonia at the age of 81, his booking agent confirmed.
From “Gimme Some Lovin'” and “I’m a Man” to “Somebody Help Me” and “Keep on Running,” The Spencer Davis Group helped popularize the distinctly United States' sounds of blues and R&B in the U.K., The Guardian reported.
Formed in Birmingham in 1963, the band also featured Pete York, Muff Winwood and launched the career of vocalist Steve Winwood, who was only 15 when Davis discovered him and went on to form Traffic in 1967, The New York Times reported.
Davis, who played rhythm guitar, co-wrote the group’s biggest hit, “Gimme Some Lovin,'” and lent his baritone occasionally on lead vocals, the Times reported.
According to The Guardian, Davis and his bandmates disbanded the group in 1969, partially re-formed for two years in the mid-1970s, and again in 2006, when Davis resumed international touring with the band.
Born Spencer David Nelson Davies in Swansea, Wales, on July 17, 1939, Davis formed his first band, The Saints, with Bill Perks, who later joined The Rolling Stones as Bill Wyman.
Alongside contemporaries such as The Dave Clark Five and The Kinks, The Spencer Davis Group embraced the flourishing “beat” scene of the mid-1960s and were dubbed “Brum beat” to distinguish them from the London and Liverpool scenes, The Guardian reported.
In the 1970s, Davis poured himself into his label, Island Records, and helped develop artists such as Bob Marley and Robert Palmer, as well as Winwood’s solo career, the outlet reported.
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