May 7, 2008 / 11:53 AM / 10 years ago

Steve Winwood - a '60s rock 'n' roller turning 60

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Turning 60, Steve Winwood is starting to believe rock ‘n’ roll may be a younger man’s game. Maybe.

Steve Winwood performs during the "Hommage a Ahmet Ertegun" show at the 40th Montreux Jazz festival in Montreux late June 30, 2006. REUTERS/Dominic Favre

“I think to be a musician (at 60) is fine, but to be a rock ‘n’ roller at a ripe old age is maybe slightly questionable,” said the singer, guitarist and organist who played with 1960s rock legends the Spencer Davis Group, Traffic and Blind Faith.

“If rock ‘n’ roll is, indeed, what I play, I’m not sure whether it is, as I try and combine bits of folk and jazz.

“The music I write, I feel, is not the kind of music for a 25-year-old,” Winwood acknowledged in an interview.

Half a lifetime ago, Winwood was aware of the contradiction of an aging musician playing essentially youthful music. “‘Cause my rock ‘n’ roll is putting on weight/ and the beat it goes on,” he sang on his 1980 album, “Arc of a Diver.”

Winwood has been performing for 45 years — as long as the Rolling Stones, who are still playing well into their 60s.

Whatever the definition of his music, Winwood has played his share of genres, from backing blues greats like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, performing with Eric Clapton, arranging English folk with Traffic and recording artfully produced 1980s hits like “Higher Love” in the early years of MTV. His new solo album, “Nine Lives,” just came out.


Asked how he felt about turning 60 on May 12, the youthful-looking Englishman was philosophical. “I’m OK, I’m lucky to still be doing what I love to do.

“I might slow down a little bit after 60 but I’m going out on a long tour this summer with Tom Petty and I still enjoy playing live. So as long as people want to come and hear me or buy the record, I shall keep going, I think.”

Winwood, whose fath

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