Traffic was formed in 1967 by musicians Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi, Chris Wood and Dave Mason. All had been professionally performing already; Winwood in particular had just abruptly departed the highly successful Spencer Davis Group.
Right from the word “go,” Traffic was on the US and UK charts. Although of the three popular singles they first released (Mr Fantasy), their biggest hit wasn’t really anything like what you would think of by them. Most of the band members thought it was “silly” and not like the sound they envisioned at all. They loathed the tune, refusing to ever perform the song live; Dave Mason, who wrote it and was getting intense criticism over it, quit the band in January of 1968.
1. “Hole in my Shoe” (1967)
Of course, no history of Traffic would be complete without this tune from the same album.
2. “Dear Mister Fantasy” (1967)
In May of ’68, Mason rejoined the band, staying on for the rest of the tour. While there, he penned half of the songs for their second album (Traffic), but shortly thereafter left again, for the same reasons as the first time. In an odd turn, as the album rose in the charts, Winwood announced that Traffic would disband at the beginning of 1969.
3. “Feeling Alright” (1968)
Following the release of their third album, Last Exit (a collection of non-LP singles, outtakes and live recordings), they went their separate ways, Winwood joining the short-lived “Supergroup,” Blind Faith. But by early 1970, still owing the record company two more albums, Winwood began on what rapidly turned into a reformed Traffic’s fourth work, John Barleycorn Must Die.
4. Glad (1970)
In the spring of 1971, they began work on their next and possibly most iconic album, Low Spark of High Heeled Boys.
5. “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” (1971)
Several more albums were produced in quick succession, Shootout at the Fantasy Factory, Welcome to the Canteen, a live performance and When the Eagle Flies.
6. “Shouldn’t Have Took More Than You Gave” (1971)
In keeping with this band’s creations and dissolutions, comings and goings of various members, Traffic quietly disbanded in the Fall of 1974. Steve Winwood and Dave Mason would both go on to further acclaim. Regrettably, over the years, Jim Capaldi and Chris Woods have passed away, making a reunion impossible.