This rock star from Wales, who created the famed Spencer Davis Group in 1963, has close to twenty top 10 hit songs, including “Gimme Some Lovin”, “Somebody Help Me”, “I’m A Man”, and “Keep On Runnin”, helping to bring British rock ‘n roll to the rest of the world. The popularity of his songs live on as he continues to tour throughout the world.
Starting out with degrees in modern languages (fluency in German, French and Spanish) Spencer left his teaching career to begin his music career in Birmingham with drummer, Pete York and brothers, Steve and Muff Winwood.
Touring with the Rolling Stones and The Who when they were still working in clubs, having after- hour drinks with the Beatles, jamming with Charlie Watts, Long John Baldry and Jack Bruce were heady days for Spencer. When the hits started to come one after the other, his momentum spurred major US success.
Moving to America in 1970, Spencer went on to record a now-hard-to-find solo album, played in an acoustic blues band, which included Richard Landis (former Juice Newton producer and manager) and Peter Jameson, who later recorded with John Lennon. By the mid-’70s Spencer worked at Island Records (his group’s label) as a record company executive, and furthered the profiles of artists, including Robert Palmer and Bob Marley.
In the early 80’s Spencer was head of A&R for Allegiance Records, a Hollywood-based independent label but the itch to play in a band again came back again, after encouragement from his mate Bill Wyman. That’s when he made his next album, “Crossfire”, with guests Dusty Springfield, Flo and Eddie, and Booker T. Jones.
In 1984 Spencer was back on the road with his own band in America. He toured Europe and The Middle East with Pete York, plus British rock legends, Brian Auger and Chris Farlowe. It was during this time he recorded CDs for German and Swiss releases.
Days on the road increased, as did the number of fans, and by 1987 he was performing well over 100 shows a year. He made guest appearances with the Grateful Dead, Gary US Bonds, Levon Helm, Springsteen’s E Street Band, Peter Noone, The Downchild Blues Band, and Alvin Lee.
In the early 90’s, audiences watched Spencer pick up the pace on club and concert tours. His stature as a rock and roll “legend” opened doors to a wide variety of benefits, telethons and special TV and radio appearances — criss-crossing throughout the US and Canada with forays into Europe, guesting with Hall & Oates and the Marshall Tucker Band.
His guest appearances on TV and radio talk shows increased throughout most of 1990 as Spencer became involved promoting the definitive photo collection of Michael Cooper’s book, “Blinds and Shutters,” — Spencer being one of many contributors to the book. His tours during that time took him through Australia, the US, Canada and Japan with his own group.
In 1993, Spencer united with three other famed musicians to form one super group, The Classic Rock All-Stars. (Mike Pinera – Iron Butterfly, Jerry Corbetta – Sugarloaf, and Pete Rivera – Rare Earth) The group released a CD together, simply titled, “The Classic Rock All-Stars” and they toured the US, Canada and Japan.
Davis left the Classic Rock All-Stars in the summer of 1995, and continued touring in Europe and the US, the rest of the year and then into 1996 and 1997. In Europe, he played with drummer Pete York (the original drummer of the Spencer Davis Group), and the Spencer Davis Group’s popularity in Europe put Spencer on a World Tour with his European members, hitting Japan, the Far East, Middle East and Scandinavia.
Spencer also signed a record deal with CMC, who released the recording throughout Europe. It consisted of a mix of many originals, old hits and classic songs.
In the fall of 1996, Spencer teamed up with the World Classic Rockers, similar in concept to the Classic Rock All-Stars but with a larger line-up, comprising of Carmine Appice – Vanilla Fudge, Bobby Kimball – Toto, Denny Laine – McCartney and Wings, Randy Meisner – The Eagles, and Michael Monarch – Steppenwolf. Spencer also contributed to the release of World Classic Rockers-Double CD and toured extensively with them.
Spencer’s songs continue to live on in today’s movies, such as Iron Eagle, The Big Chill, Mr. Destiny, Days of Thunder, Top Gun, Mr. Holland’s Opus, Notting Hill and Flight of the Phoenix, just to name a few! The mid 90’s also landed him on television commercials, documentaries and the TV Special “The History of Rock n Roll” as well as a co-starring role in the hit series “Married With Children.”
2001 proved to be as busy as any of the mid and late 90’s. From state fairs to casinos throughout the USA and Canada, the Spencer Davis Group continued entertaining millions with their classic repertoire. Along with their spring and fall tours, Germany and Europe were thrown in for good measure.
Spencer undertook another marathon tour with the Spencer Davis Group during the spring of 2002, with 47 shows over 60 days, up and down The U.K. Drawing upon his teaching skills from the past, Spencer was invited on the famous cruise ship QE2 in the summer of 2002 as a guest lecturer and performer with the “60’s British Invasion”. He then headed straight to Alaska, followed by a foray into the Middle East, with a mini tour of Europe right behind it.
The first half of 2003 brought Spencer through tours of Italy, side-stepping into the studio to record three new songs for his upcoming CD, and then back to Italy and Germany. There were more state fairs and concerts in the park, where Spencer next hooked up with friend Alan White of Yes to guest with him in the Washington State area.
The 2004 Tour Season took him to Illinois and Florida, through Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, and Austria up until spring. After a brief rest, the Spencer Davis Group headed out for a month-long tour of the U.K. starting in Southern England, going as far north as Scotland, and west into his native Wales. He finished up in the Royal Festival Hall in London with his friends, the Yardbirds, before heading back to Hungary and Germany again.
In 2005 Spencer teamed up with the Rock and Roll Army, consisting of Felix Cavaliere, Mitch Ryder, and Rick Derringer. He went to New Zealand in June, playing acoustic shows with Ed Tree for the British Lions Tour, then on to Australia in July 2005 with his own Spencer Davis Group. He rounded out October and November with tours in Germany.
The Grand Finale of 2005 was a special guest appearance New Year’s Eve at the Cologne Arena with Cologne’s own Black Foess in front of 12,000 people – a great time was had by all!
In 2006 Spencer made a special guest appearance at David Fishof’s “Rock ‘n Roll Fantasy Camp” at SIR in Hollywood, followed by a Battle of the Bands at the HOB (House Of Blues) and a concert with Roger Daltry, Neal Schon, Jack Blades, among others.
SDG made a quick foray into The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and Scandinavia. In August 2006 Spencer was a counselor at the “Rock n Roll Fantasy Camp” in New York, followed by a three-week tour of the U.K. He wrapped up the year with three appearances in California in September, returning to Germany in October, followed by an extensive tour of Australia in November.
Highlights of 2007 were The Rock ‘n Roll Fantasy camp in London at Abbey Road Studios and ending the year teaming up with the Animals and Friends for a tour of Europe.
In early 2008, Spencer performed at the NAMM convention in Los Angeles, started a world tour with an SDG date in Kent, OH,and a visit to Dusty Street at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. He played in Florida and went on to a Central American Cruise. In June of 2008, he toured New Zealand and Australia, rounding out the end of June, heading straight to Las Vegas beginning of July to perform at Beatlefest, along with Donovan, Billy J. Kramer, Mark Hudson and the band Liverpool. August through November took him back to Europe dividing his time touring partially with the SDG and teaming up once again with the Animals and Friends for dates in Germany, Austria, France and the UK. In October of 2008 Spencer took the stage for the BMI Awards at the Dorchester Hotel in London to accept an award for over 4 million airplays of “Gimme Some Lovin”.
Spencer also completed twelve tracks, all original, for a new CD/DVD, titled SO FAR that was released in August of 2008 on Fuel 2000 records.
As you can see this ol’ rocker just CAN’T STAND STILL and KEEPS ON RUNNING…