The multi-instrumentalist star of The Spencer Davis Group who had two No 1 hit in the mid-60s, Spencer Davies, has died. He was 81.
Spencer Davis was a musician and multi-instrumentalist from Wales, and the founder of The Spencer Davis Group, the beat band of the 1960s. In Wales, “Davies” is pronounced “Davis” but would be misread as “Davees” in the US, so he dropped the E from the spelling professionally to prevent confusion. He was born on 17 July 1939 in Swansea, Wales, UK.
He was 81 years old.
At the age of six, Spencer Davis started learning to play the harmonica and the accordion. He then attended Dynevor College, where seven GCE O-level exams were passed. When he was sixteen, he moved to London and started working as a clerical officer in the civil service at the Post Office Savings Bank in Hammersmith, and for HM Customs and Excise.
He returned to his old school, however, to prepare for A-levels in languages and became Head Boy in 1959. He moved to Birmingham in 1960, to read German at the University of Birmingham. Davis was later named “Professor” in music circles.
Skiffle, jazz, and blues were his early musical influences. Big Bill Broonzy, Huddy Ledbetter, Buddy Holly, Davey Graham, John Martyn, Alexis Korner, and Long John Baldry are all prominent musicians. Davis was hooked on guitar by the time he was sixteen, and American rhythm and blues music was finding its way across the Atlantic.
Davis searched out every success that came to town with little chances of hearing R&B in south Wales. Davis founded a band called The Saints, with Bill Perks, later known as Bill Wyman, when he heard a Dixieland band perform a skiffle version of the R&B song “John Henry”.
Spencer Davis Group — (1965) Keep on Running [High-Quality Sound, Subtitled]
Davis moved to California after the group split up and recorded an acoustic album with Peter Jameson in mid-1971 for Mediarts, It’s Been So Long. He followed it up with a solo album, recorded and featuring Sly Pete Kleinow, called Mousetrap for United Artists.
Neither album sold well either. He moved back to the UK shortly afterward, formed a new Spencer Davis Group, and signed with Vertigo Records. Furthermore, in the mid-1970s, Davis was an executive at Island records.
Spencer Davis Group – Gimme Some Lovin’
Davis died from a heart attack in California at the age of 81 on 19 October 2020. Suzy Wilde, a Radio Caroline presenter who found the guitarist one of her friends, went on Twitter on remembering her memories. He posted an image of the late star alongside a throwback. “I’m so very, very saddened to learn of the passing of Spencer Davis. He was such a lovely man, generous and kind, warm and funny, and will be much missed. RIP dear Spencer,”
I’m so very, very saddened to learn of the passing of Spencer Davis. He was such a lovely man, generous and kind, warm and funny, and will be much missed. RIP dear Spencer. pic.twitter.com/q51qEloBC3
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