By his mid-twenties, Steve Winwood already may have  been on a hall of fame career pace, singing and playing hits as a mere teenager with the Spencer Davis Group (“Gimme Some Lovin’ “,” I’m a Man”), Traffic, and Blind Faith. Yet Winwood told me in this  classic rock interview about 1986’s Back in the High Life  that a 1972 bout with peritonitis almost killed him, and the sobering realization of the fragility of his own life, and the lengthy recuperation back to health, had a profound impact on Steve Winwood’s personal, spiritual, and musical life ever since. There is no better example of that fact than “Higher Love”, the #1 seller and winner of both the “Record of the Year” and “Song of the Year” Grammys for 1986.

“Higher Love” isn’t about doing it in the top bunk . It’s about love on a spiritual plane, not an airplane, and even though the lyrics were penned by Texas Oscar-winner Will Jennings (Winwood’s “While You See a Chance”; “Up Where We Belong” for Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warren; Eric Clapton‘s “Tears in Heaven”; Titanic   theme “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion),  Steve Winwood shares In The Studio that the spiritual themes expressed in “Higher Love” are those by which he has tried to live ever since the near-fatal illness. –Redbeard