Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Rod Argent on Steve Winwood

Classic Rock magazine asked Rod Argent (of The Zombies and, er, Argent) to choose the 10 records that changed his life.

After choosing Elvis and the Beatles, he said:
Spencer Davis Group - Georgia On My Mind 
"I can't overestimate the effect that Stevie Winwood's amazing voice had, and his wonderful soulful piano and organ playing. He came out of nowhere and blew people away. I remember Paul Jones [Manfred Mann singer] saying, 'I've been in a blues band for four years, and suddenly this 17-year-old-kid comes out and he sounds like Ray Charles, and he plays like him!' What a talent: to emerge fully-formed at that age was extraordinary, and it had a huge effect on every musician around that time."
I am reminded of the reason Eric Clapton gave for playing a Stratocaster:
Hank Marvin was the first well known person over here in England who was using one, but that wasn't really my kind of music. Steve Winwood had so much credibility, and when he started playing one, I thought, oh, if he can do it, I can do it.
The version of Georgia on My Mind that Argent chooses is not the live one with Winwood on the organ that I always listen to, but this studio version where he is playing the piano.

Which reminds me of his older brother Muff talking about the young Steve:
"We needed a piano player so I brought Steve along. He was only 11, but he played everything perfectly. They stood with their mouths open. 
Because he was under-age, we had to get him long trousers to make him look older, and even then we'd sneak him in through the pub kitchens. He'd play hidden behind the piano so nobody would know."

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