News, Culture & Society

Spencer Davis dies aged 81: Welsh-born musician suffers heart attack at his California home 

Tributes have poured in for musician Spencer Davis after the sixties music legend died from a heart attack aged 81.  

Spencer died from a heart-attack at his Californian home on Monday, October 19, according to the his friend drummer Pete York.

The talented instrumentalist, who was born in Wales, founded The Spencer Davis Group band.

Davis played alongside the Barr brothers Muff Winwood, who played bass, and Steve Winwood on the vocals and keyboards, and drummer, Pete York. 

The group enjoyed a series of chart-topping hits in the mid-60s including Keep on Running, Gimme Some Lovin’ and I’m A Man. 

Their music is still played widely to this day, more than 50 years after it was recorded.

Pictured playing the guitar at the band's peak

Talented instrumentalist Spencer Davis was born in Wales and founded The Spencer Davis Group band which had a string of hits in the 1960s 

The group, pictured here in 1965, enjoyed a series of chart-topping hits in the mid-60s including Keep on Running, Gimme Some Lovin' and I'm A Man

The group, pictured here in 1965, enjoyed a series of chart-topping hits in the mid-60s including Keep on Running, Gimme Some Lovin’ and I’m A Man

A new film about  the late Helen Reddy called I Am Woman has just been released in the UK and carries The Spencer Davis Group record of the same name on the soundtrack.

Gimme Some Lovin’ also featured in The Blues Brothers movie, directed by John Landis in 1960.

Following the news of his death, tributes from fellow musicians and friends of Davis have been posted online.

A new film about the late Helen Reddy called I Am Woman has just been released in the UK and carries The Spencer Davis Group (pictured) record of the same name on the soundtrack. Pictured: Spencer Davis second from right

A new film about the late Helen Reddy called I Am Woman has just been released in the UK and carries The Spencer Davis Group (pictured) record of the same name on the soundtrack. Pictured: Spencer Davis second from right 

The sixties music legend died from a heart attack at his Californian home aged 81

The sixties music legend died from a heart attack at his Californian home aged 81

 Radio presenter Suzy Wilde, who regarded the guitarist as one of her friends, wrote on Twitter that Davis was a ‘lovely, generous and kind man’ who would be sorely missed. 

She posted a picture of the two of them together and said: ‘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.’ 

Another fan posted: ‘RIP Spencer Davis, thanks for the music…’  

Following the news of his death, tributes from fellow musicians and friends of Davis have been posted online

Following the news of his death, tributes from fellow musicians and friends of Davis have been posted online

Davis (far right) is pictured here with musicians Walter Eagan, John Zambetti and Peter Jameson

Davis (far right) is pictured here with musicians Walter Eagan, John Zambetti and Peter Jameson

Davis was born in Swansea and was first introduced to music when an American rhythm and blues band played a rare gig in his hometown.

As a teenager, he was drawn to the music and launched his own band called The Saints, alongside Bill Perks – who later went on to become the bassist for the Rolling Stones and change his name to Bill Whyman.

Davis then moved to Birmingham and studied German at the University of Birmingham. 

It was here that he met his bandmates and formed The Spencer Davis Group in 1963 after the Welsh guitarist ran into the Winwood brothers as they performed at the Golden Eagle pub as the Muff Woody Jazz Band.

Davis recruited the Woodward brothers when they were only 14 fter seeing them playing in a pub in Birmingham

 Davis recruited the Woodward brothers when they were only 14 fter seeing them playing in a pub in Birmingham

The brothers were only 14 at the time, but Davis recruited them to play alonside York, and the quartet formed the Rhythm and Blues Quartette, which performed regularly in the city. 

Legend amongst the group’s fanbase suggets the unusual band’s name stemmed from the fact that nobody in the group could think of a name for the band.

Some of the members did not want to be hounded for interviews it if was named after them – so they called it The Spencer Davis Group.

Their first breakthrough came with  a cover version of 1956’s ‘Dimples’ by blues singer-songwriter John Lee Hooker, and their fame spiralled. 

The band was named after Spencer Davis

The guitariast died aged 81 in his Californian home

 The group led by Spencer Davis (pictured)  disbanded in the late 1960s though they reunited on various tours in recent years

They went on to have a series of hits, including two No 1s, four top ten hits and seven singles which made the top 40.

They spent three weeks at No 1 (Keep on Running, December 1965 – one week; Somebody Help Me, March 1966 – two weeks), 19 weeks in the top ten and 55 weeks in the top 40.

Gimme Some Lovin’ peaked at No 2 in November, 1966 and I’m a Man reached No 9 in February, 1967.

Spencer Davis (centre) and Group are pictured here with actresses Vanessa Howard (left) and Angela Scoular (bottom right)

Spencer Davis (centre) and Group are pictured here with actresses Vanessa Howard (left) and Angela Scoular (bottom right)

The 60s star had a string of number 1 hits

Although the group disbanded they toured together over the years

All three of the band’s albums made the top six without getting any higher than No 3, although they had several records that sold over a million copies and were awarded gold record status

Both of records sold over one million copies, and were awarded gold record status. 

All three of the band’s albums made the top six without getting any higher than No 3.

The group disbanded in the late 1960s though they reunited on various tours in recent years, under Davis’ direction.  

Steve Winwood on the vocals and keyboards went on to enjoy further acclaim with Traffic and Blind Faith.

Davis later moved to Catalina Island, a small island off the coast of Southern California, where he lived until his death on Monday.   

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk