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Back In the High Life

Steve Winwood

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iTunes Editors’ Notes

The 1980s were defined by high-tech productions specializing in electronic grandeur that made even the quietest songs sound as if they were being transmitted across the universe by laser jet. Pop songs were produced with an ear towards keeping things exciting with hyperactive keyboards and exaggerated electric guitars screaming into the endless night. Steve Winwood had been an earthy experimenter, fusing jazz, folk and psychedelia into his own homegrown rock, most notably with his group Traffic. His solo career began a search for a voice that could stand on its own and he’d hit upon the winning formula with the infectious “While You See A Chance” on his second solo album, Arc of a Diver. With his fourth solo album, Back in the High Life, he hit his jackpot with nominations for six Grammys, winning three. “Higher Love” and the title track came to define the ‘80s bright, plucky style and the remainder of the album continues in this sleek, forward-moving style. “Take It As It Comes,” “Freedom Overspill” and “Split Decision “ are jammed with ramped-up horns, perky keyboards and commanding beats as oversized as the best of the era.

Customer Reviews

Stands the test of time

The year I really started to take interest in music was 1986. It was the summer inbetween 6th and 7th grade and every song that I liked I would go out and buy the 45 single. Because I didn't have much money an album would really have to strike my interest to get me to buy it. "Back in the High Life" was one of those albums. The song "Higher Love" was a huge hit and I loved the song "Back in the High Life Again". Because there were at least two songs I liked I saved up the money and bought the tape. Every song sounded like a hit and I played the heck out of that tape until it wore out. When I got a CD player in the late 80s this was on my purchase list. There were many albums and songs that I enjoyed in 1986 but very few albums that have held up well. Many albums had a lot of songs that sounded the same. You would have an artist that had a HUGE hit in one style and half of the next album would be trying to copy that style in order to get another big hit. Albums like this was an exception. Of course it helps that this is Steve Winwood's first big solo hit album. There is a lot of varity to keep this album interesting from the first to the last song and it is short enough that it doesn't over stay it's welcome. It is now 2007 and I have yet to get tired of this album and it has remained in my essential favorites for over 20 years. If you are a fan of the 80s, even though you may have "Higher Love" on one of the many 80s compilations out there, the other songs are just as good and in some cases better (like "Finer Things" and "Freedom Overspill"). Give this one a chance. My only complaint is this album is in much need of remastering. This is a minor complaint because all I have to do is turn up the volume a tad more than I have to do with other CDs.

AWESOME!!!

I have always liked Steve Winwood, so I was shocked when I found out that "The Finer Things" is the theme song to "Date With an Angel." I love that song along with "Higher Love." They are just great songs from the eighties.

One of My Favorite 80's Albums

"Back in the High Life" is one of my favorite albums to emerge from the 80's. The music is sophisticated pop/rock and is very catchy. Higher Love is easily the best track, but everything else through "Wake Me Up on Judgement Day" is excellent. "The Finer Things" is great as it blends a slower ballad-like tempo with an upbeat chorus. "Take It As It Comes" is great and sounds like a Phil Collins song with minimalistic guitar, dominant drums, and horns. "Freedom Overspill" continues the horns with an almost tropical sound. The title track is slower paced, but good nonetheless. This is an amazing album and my favorite work from Winwood's long career.

Biography

Born: May 12, 1948 in Birmingham, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

As a solo artist, Steve Winwood is primarily associated with the highly polished blue-eyed soul-pop that made him a star in the '80s. Yet his turn as a slick, upscale mainstay of adult contemporary radio was simply the latest phase of a long and varied career, one that's seen the former teenage R&B shouter move through jazz, psychedelia, blues-rock, and progressive rock. Possessed of a powerful, utterly distinctive voice, Winwood was also an excellent keyboardist who remained an in-demand session...
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Back In the High Life, Steve Winwood
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