Spencer Davis Dead at 81

Spencer Davis of The Spencer Davis Group performs onstage at The Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza

Steve Winwood, who served as lead singer of the Spencer Davis Group, called Davis "an early pioneer of the British folk scene" in a statement released Tuesday and said Davis was "like a big brother" to him. "I was playing with my brother and his band at the University of Birmingham (and) Spencer was a student in Birmingham with a small group of musicians".

And while Winwood left the group in 1967, Davis remained at the helm, leading them to more success with popular tunes in England like "Time Seller" and "Mr. With his band The Spencer Davis Group, he enjoyed hits in the sixties which would influence an entire generation, with songs like "Gimme Some Lovin", "Keep on Running" and 'I'm A Man" still regarded as some of the finest work the decade produced.

With their dynamic frontman gone, the band would go on to record a few more minor hits, but ultimately did split after Davis chose to move to California in 1967. When Davis moved to California he released two albums, neither of which made any impact and, on his return in 1973, re-formed the group with himself at the front, only to disband again after little more than a year.

Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet also paid respect, tweeting: "RIP Spencer Davis".

Spencer Davis performing live on stage at Alexandra Palace London

The band released seven albums and scored two United Kingdom number one singles-"Keep on Running" and "Somebody Help Me"-plus several British top 40 hits". Their new R&B cover band would be later known as The Spencer Davis Group. He worked with acts including Bob Marley and Robert Palmer, as well as helping to launch Winwood's successful solo career. I never went to the US with Spencer, but he later embraced America, and America embraced him.

"He was influential in setting me on the road to becoming a professional musician, and I thank him for that", he added.

Survivors include his partner, June, and three children.