British rocker Spencer Davis, bandleader behind 'Gimme Some Lovin' dead at 81

Associated Press; Gary Dinges, USA TODAY, USA TODAY
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British rocker Spencer Davis, whose band The Spencer Davis Group was known for 1960s hits “Gimme Some Lovin’” and “I’m a Man,” died Monday at age 81.

Davis’ agent, Bob Birk, told USA TODAY Tuesday that he died in a hospital while being treated for pneumonia. He didn't give a location, but British media reported that Davis lived in California.

"He was a very good friend," Birk said. "He was a highly ethical, very talented, good-hearted, extremely intelligent, generous man. He will be missed."

Davis was born in Swansea, Wales in 1939. He began working as a musician while he was a student at the University of Birmingham.

Members of the Spencer Davis Group were, from top left: Muff Winwood, Pete York and Steve Winwood and Spencer Davis, foreground. Davis has died at the age of 81.
Members of the Spencer Davis Group were, from top left: Muff Winwood, Pete York and Steve Winwood and Spencer Davis, foreground. Davis has died at the age of 81.

Influenced by the burgeoning British blues and skiffle scenes, he performed in bands with future stars including the Rolling Stones’ Bill Wyman and Christine Perfect — later Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie. He formed the Spencer Davis Group in 1963, with a teenage Steve Winwood on keyboards and guitar, his brother Muff Winwood on bass and Pete York on drums.

With Steve Winwood as lead vocalist, the band had two No. 1 U.K. singles — “Keep on Running” in 1965 and “Somebody Help Me” in 1966 — and seven British top 40 hits before Steve Winwood’s departure in 1967.

Davis released several solo albums without recapturing his 1960s fame, and later reformed the Spencer Davis Group without the Winwood brothers. In later years he was regarded as an influential elder statesman of British rock.

Davis is survived by his partner June and three adult children.

Follow Gary Dinges on Twitter @gdinges

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Spencer Davis: 'Gimme Some Lovin' ' musician dead at 81