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Steve Winwood – Arc of a Diver (1980)

January 25, 2020

[Album 714/1001]

Have you seen the film, The Circle?

There’s a good scene where Emma Watson is being interviewed for a position at a seemingly ideal tech company.

When we talk about image editing in my computer class, I like to show my students this scene (as her answer to the correct pronunciation of ‘.gif’ is well-delivered).

Although I’ll often just show the humourous ‘.gif’ line, the scene-closing question & answer is even more intriguing:

Interviewer: You’re most scared of…?
Interviewee: Unfulfilled Potential.



When it comes to music, there’s nothing more frightening than a beloved artist performing below their perceived potential.

Case in point: how many would rank McCartney’s solo debut as Sir Paul’s finest hour?

For listeners with (somehow) no previous knowledge of his prior songwriting credits, McCartney might be seen as a fun, do-it-yourself adventure.

But there’s a chance some Beatle fans had difficulty seeing it through that lens.


Now, in this case, as someone who didn’t grow up with Steve Winwood, I was not aghast upon hearing Arc of a Diver.

I like my lyrics with a bit of optimism & I admire when artists do all the instruments themselves.220px-Arc_of_a_Diver_cover

As a personal bonus, this type of ’80s blue-eyed soul &/or soft rock inevitably brings back fond teenage memories of working in a grocery store. Alongside artists like Simply Red or George Michael, a few of these Winwood tunes would have fit seamlessly on those continuous lite hits playlists.

Ironically however, I imagine it was the relatively ignorable/inoffensive nature of Arc of a Diver that caused offense to many longtime Winwood devotees.

For fans that grew up with albums like John Barleycorn Must Die, would this have been another frightening example of a beloved artist, perceived to be performing below their potential?



Verbalize the Positive

Even though I grew up watching Jason Bateman in the comedy, Necessary Roughness, I’ve enjoyed watching his transformation into a more serious actor/director.

My wonderful wife & I just finished season 2 of The Ozark, terrific show!

From → 1980s

  1. I love Steve Wineood and Ozark.

    • I was relieved to see there’s a season 3 on the way – still many things to be resolved!

      • My daughter and I watched Arrested Development and my wife and I watched Ozark, so I got a lot of Jason Bateman viewing.

        On a side note, I just found out he is married to Paul Anka’s daughter.

      • Both quality shows – the ladies at your house have excellent taste in entertainment!

  2. Both seasons of Ozark are brilliant.
    That Winwood cover of Arc of Diver is kinda cool. Neat color scheme. Winwood really took off in the late 80s with Higher Love and Valerie etc.
    In some cases, the debut solo albums are sometimes the artist’s best ones. Ace Frehley’s self-titled from 78 is, in my opinion, the best of all of his stuff.

    How’s that for an Arc? haha

  3. This reminds me that I have that album among the many that I ought to give more time to! I might pull it from the shelve right now, actually.

    As for Ozark, I’m another that’s very fond of that show. New season drops at the end of March, I believe.

    • When the season 2 finale ended, I was quite relieved to see the text ‘season 3 coming March 27’ appear on screen!

      • That’s Ozark and Pearl Jam to look forward to!

      • That’s a formidable pair!
        Actually, now that you mention it – the whole reason I got into the Ozark was because of Radiohead. My wife was watching the first episode & I overheard Decks Dark playing during the final scene. I was quickly reeled in!

      • That’s as good a way to fall into a TV show as any!

  4. Winwood’s 1980s stuff is kind of second tier, but a great second wind for a major 1960s artist.

    • And perhaps that’s the main reason it’s on here. I remember we’ve discussed 1001-list bias & I think that’s another category they tend to reward: the second wind (Sinatra in the ’50s, Morrissey in the 2000s, Winwood in the ’80s…)

      • And British bias…. I think Winwood had some amazingly good singles in the 1980s for an artist in his third decade.

  5. jprobichaud permalink

    I remember Steve Winwood… but only from his 80s days – Higher love, etc. Someone will have to work hard to convince me he’s worth searching out, just based on what little I know…

    • I hadn’t realized he sang ‘higher love’ until I heard this album – I thought, that voice sounds awfully familiar!

  6. Since I’m already on board with Winwood, it looks like I need to check out The Circle and Ozark.

    • The Circle – the book is infinitely better. The actors were fine in the movie but they changed the story completely.
      Ozark – I might suggest putting that off until March. As season 3 comes out in March & even though we just finished season 2, it’s difficult waiting. Now I understand what Tom Petty was saying that’s the hardest part!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. 1980 | 1001albumsin10years

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