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Album: Arc Of A DiverReleased: 1980Charted:
Winwood did very well in the '60s and '70s with his bands The Spencer Davis Group, Blind Faith and Traffic, but he was struggling to find success as a solo artist. He teamed up with lyricist Will Jennings, who had written songs for Barry Manilow, B.B. King, Joe Cocker and The Crusaders, and the pair wrote most of the songs for Arc Of A Diver. Jennings told us:
"'While you see a chance take it, find romance, fake it, because it's all on you'" - the lyric of the song is about realizing that you are all alone in this life and you have to do with it what you can - it was written around 1980 in a certain part of my life when I realized it was all on me to do, the lyric inspired by Steve's transcendent track."
Jennings is renowned for his ability to write meaningful lyrics for talented musicians. He and Winwood spent a lot of time together, not just working, but hanging out and getting to know each other. Says Jennings, "It's like writing... if you're writing a play, you're writing for a particular persona, a particular character, and you try to feel as deeply inside them as you can - where are they coming from and what they've been through. It's the same with Steve, 'While You See A Chance,' because he was coming out of a whole period with Spencer Davis and Traffic, and then where else do you go? I was up there at his place in rural England, and I was in his life so to speak, and trying to see through his eyes as well as mine. And that's what all those things were about, all the songs we wrote."
Jennings explains the line, "While you see a chance take it, find romance, fake it":
"Well the next line explains it: 'Because it's all on you.' There's an old English expression called "Fake it till you make it." If you don't have romance in your life, meaning in the broader sense, really, something to make life interesting, just imagine it until it's there." (Check out our interview with Will Jennings
This became Winwood's first Top 40 hit as a solo artist. In 1986 he hit #1 in the US with "Higher Love," which also had lyrics written by Jennings.
During production, Winwood accidentally erased the drum track from part of the song as he prepared to record a vocal. After months of trying to patch up the damage, he left the drums off the erased part and restructured the song.
Winwood played all the instruments on the album.