Traffic formed in Berkshire, England in 1967, led by a young Stevie Winwood (from the Spencer Davis Group) along with Jim Capaldi, Chris Wood and Dave Mason. The four engineered a truly eclectic sound mixing psychedelia, rock, folk and blues, which was innovative for their time and simultaneously characteristic of the late ’60s aura. Their first album, Mr. Fantasy, was released in 1967 on Island Records. Singles like “Paper Moon” and “Dear Mr. Fantasy” won the band instant success.
In 1968 Traffic released their second album, a self-titled disc that contained the now classic “Feelin’ Alright” (the song was later popularized by Joe Cocker, Grand Funk Railroad and Three Dog Night). The band broke up at the end of 1968, when Mason decided to work on a solo album and Winwood left to form Blind Faith, with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker.
Nearly a year later, however, the band re-formed to record John Barleycorn Must Die. The album, containing the singles “Glad” and “Every Mother’s Son,” is considered the group’s masterwork.
The next four years saw the release of six additional Traffic albums with a revolving door of musicians. After the release of When the Eagle Flies, Traffic played their last gig in August 1974 at the Reading Festival.
Winwood and Capaldi re-formed the band in 1994 (Wood died in 1983 of liver failure and Mason chose not to participate in the reunion) to record Far From Home, and launch a nationwide tour.