Led by the great, soulful vocals of Steve Winwood and an exotic, meandering array of distorted grooves, Traffic stood alongside the likes of Cream and Jimi Hendrix as blues-rock favourites who took rock music into a new chaotic, warped, psychedelic territory in the late 1960s and early '70s. Winwood originally found fame as a 15-year-old on the R&B scene in Birmingham and was regarded as the closest thing anybody in England had heard at that time to Ray Charles and the great American soul singers. As front man of The Spencer Davis Group, he topped the UK Charts with singles 'Keep On Running' and 'Somebody Help Me' and had major success with 'The Second Album' and 'Autumn '66', but left the band in 1967 and started informally jamming with local musicians Jim Capaldi, Chris Wood and Dave Mason. They went on to live together in a cottage in Berkshire, where Winwood and Capaldi's songwriting partnership crafted Traffic's debut album 'Mr Fantasy' and the UK top ten singles 'Paper Sun' and 'Hole in My Shoe' for Island Records. Their mix of pop harmonies, folk fantasies and jazz improvisations grew more melodic on their self-titled second record and they gained a loyal following in America, before Winwood briefly took time out to front supergroup Blind Faith with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker. When he returned, Traffic reached number five in the US Album Charts with folk-rock gem 'John Barleycorn Must Die' in 1970 and sold over a million copies of 'The Low Spark of the High Heeled Boys' which featured a new line-up, including Ric Grech on bass, Jim Gordon on drums and Rebop Kwaku Baah on percussion, and was regarded by most critics as their creative high point. Growing into a sprawling prog-rock group they toured heavily across the world and remained hugely popular despite receiving lukewarm reviews for later albums 'Shoot Out at the Fantasy Factory' and 'When the Eagle Flies', before they split in an exhausted mess in 1974 when Winwood walked off stage during a gig in Chicago. Capaldi and Winwood both went on to release solo records but Chris Wood died of liver failure before the band reformed in 1994 to record the album 'Far from Home' and were later inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 by Dave Matthews.