Arc of a Diver

Arc of a Diver is the second solo studio album by singer/multi-instrumentalist Steve Winwood, released in 1980. Winwood played all of the instruments on the album.

Arc of a Diver
Arc of a Diver cover.jpg
Studio album by
Released31 December 1980[1]
StudioNetherturkdonic Studios, Gloucestershire, England
ProducerSteve Winwood
Steve Winwood chronology
Steve Winwood
Arc of a Diver
Talking Back to the Night

Featuring his first solo hit, "While You See a Chance" (which peaked at number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States), this was Winwood's breakthrough album as a solo artist. It peaked at number 3 on the Billboard 200 album chart, establishing him as a commercially viable act.

The cover artwork for the album is by Tony Wright. He took inspiration from Jazz by Henri Matisse, notably VIII: Icarus.


The album was recorded at Winwood's Netherturkdonic Studios, built at his farm in Gloucestershire;[2] he played all the instruments, wrote all the music, and produced and engineered it himself.[3]

Critical receptionEdit

Retrospective professional reviews
Review scores
AllMusic     [4]
Christgau's Record Guide: The '80sB–[5]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music     [6]
The Great Rock Discography8/10[6]
MusicHound Rock4.5/5[6]
Music Story     [6]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [6]

Reviewing for The Village Voice in June 1981, Robert Christgau credited Winwood for overdubbing all his self-performed instruments, but still found his brand of "British-international groove" more atmospheric than song-oriented and ultimately "lulling".[7] Robert Palmer was more enthusiastic in The New York Times, saying that Winwood has transformed himself into a "rock traditionalist" with the album. While highlighting "Dust" and the album's title track as "first-rate lyrics", Palmer said that "Winwood's impressive playing and arranging and utterly distinctive vocals make several of his collaborations with Will Jennings, especially the brooding 'Night Train,' almost as memorable."[8] In a retrospective review for AllMusic, William Ruhlmann wrote of the album, "Utterly unencumbered by the baggage of his long years in the music business, Winwood reinvents himself as a completely contemporary artist on this outstanding album, leading off with his best solo song, "While You See a Chance.""[9]

The album was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die,[10] and was voted number 455 in the third edition (2000) of Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums.[11]

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by Steve Winwood and Will Jennings, except where noted.

Side one
1."While You See a Chance" 5:12
2."Arc of a Diver"Winwood, Vivian Stanshall5:28
3."Second-Hand Woman"Winwood, George Fleming3:41
4."Slowdown Sundown" 5:27
Side two
5."Spanish Dancer" 5:58
6."Night Train" 7:51
7."Dust"Winwood, Fleming6:20
Total length:40:02
2012 deluxe reissue: disc two
1."Arc of a Diver" (edited US single version)Winwood, Stanshall4:16
2."Night Train" (instrumental version) 6:44
3."Spanish Dancer" (2010 version) 6:13
4."Arc of a Diver: The Steve Winwood Story" (originally aired on BBC Radio 2) 56:33


  • Steve Winwood – lead and backing vocals, pianos, synthesizers, organ, acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, bass, drums, percussion, drum machines, production, engineering, mixing
  • John "Nobby" Clarke – additional engineering


Chart singlesEdit

Year Title US Billboard US Cash Box CAN
1981 "While You See a Chance" 7 10 3
"Arc of a Diver" 48 64 19


  1. ^ Chronicles liner notes
  2. ^ 1001 Albums: You Must Hear Before You Die. Hachette UK. 5 December 2011. p. 1315. ISBN 9781844037148. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
  3. ^ Robert Palmer (21 January 1981). "Arc of a Diver Review : New York Times : Steve Winwood". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
  4. ^ Allmusic review
  5. ^ Christgau, Robert (1990). "W". Christgau's Record Guide: The '80s. Pantheon Books. ISBN 0-679-73015-X. Retrieved 10 July 2020 – via
  6. ^ a b c d e Anon. (n.d.). "Steve Winwood - Arc of a Diver". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved 10 July 2020.
  7. ^ Christgau, Robert (8 June 1981). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved 10 July 2020 – via
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (7 February 2006). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 0-7893-1371-5.
  11. ^ Colin Larkin, ed. (2000). All Time Top 1000 Albums (3rd ed.). Virgin Books. p. 164. ISBN 0-7535-0493-6.
  12. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  13. ^ "Top Albums/CDs – Volume 34, No. 23" (PHP). RPM. 16 May 1981. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
  14. ^ " Steve Winwood – Arc of a Diver". MegaCharts. Archived from the original (ASP) on 28 October 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
  15. ^ "InfoDisc: Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste" (in French). Archived from the original on 7 May 2013. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
  16. ^ " Steve Winwood – Arc of a Diver" (ASP). Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  17. ^ " Steve Winwood – Arc of a Diver". Archived from the original (ASP) on 18 October 2013. Retrieved 11 May 2014.
  18. ^ " Steve Winwood – Arc of a Diver". Sverigetopplistan. Archived from the original (ASP) on 28 January 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  19. ^ "Steve Winwood > Artists > Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  20. ^ "allmusic ((( Arc of a Diver > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  21. ^ "Album Search: Steve Winwood – Arc of a Diver" (ASP) (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  22. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1981". RPM. 26 December 1981. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  23. ^ "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1981" (ASP) (in Dutch). Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  24. ^ "Les Albums (CD) de 1981 par InfoDisc" (PHP) (in French). Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  25. ^ "Billboard Top Pop Albums of 1981". Billboard. 26 December 1981. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  26. ^ "Major fight economics with quirky rock originals". Billboard. 12 June 1982. Retrieved 31 December 2018.
  27. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Steve Winwood – Arc of a Diver". Music Canada. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
  28. ^ "British album certifications – Steve Winwood – Arc of a Diver". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 10 October 2013.Select albums in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Arc of a Diver in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  29. ^ "American album certifications – Steve Winwood – Arc of a Diver". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 10 October 2013. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 

External linksEdit