Spencer Davis Dies: British Invasion Band Leader & Hit Maker Was 81

Spencer Davis, the Welsh rhythm guitarist and songwriter who lent his name to one of the most popular and influential British Invasion groups of the 1960s with hits including “Gimme Some Lovin’” and “I’m a Man”, died Monday of pneumonia in Los Angeles. He was 81.

His death was announced by longtime agent and friend Bob Birk, who said Davis had been hospitalized for a week.

In addition to its hits, which combined young England’s fascination with American rhythm & blues and post-Beatles pop, The Spencer Davis Group is remembered as the band that introduced a young Steve Winwood to the world. Discovered at 14 by Davis, who recognized a vocal talent that would continue charting records for decades, Winwood left the group in 1967 to cofound the seminal FM-radio band Traffic, and, in 1969, Blind Faith with Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Ric Grech.

While Winwood went on to a successful solo career that continues today, Davis pivoted to the business side of the recording industry, becoming a successful promoter for Island Records, where he worked with Bob Marley, Robert Palmer and his former protege Winwood. Davis continued to tour with reformed versions of his namesake band through the years.

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