Writers: Steve Winwood and Jim Capaldi
Producers: Jimmy Miller
Recorded: April 1967 at Olympic Studios, London
Released: Summer 1967
|Players:||Steve Winwood — vocals, keyboards
Dave Mason — guitar, bass, vocals
Chris Wood — woodwinds
Jim Capaldi — drums, vocals
|Album:||Mr. Fantasy (United Artists)|
Traffic was formed in April 1967 by former Spencer Davis Group singer and keyboardist Steve Winwood, who was then 19 years old, and Spencer Davis roadie Dave Mason. Chris Wood andJim Capaldi were slightly older veterans of the British music scene.
The quartet recorded “Paper Sun” in a London studio in the spring of 1967 before heading to a cottage in the Aston Tirrold section of Berkshire, England, where the quartet planned to “get it together in the country.”
“Paper Sun” proved a fine calling card, hitting Number Five on the U.K. pop chart and Number 94 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Capaldi adopted the song's title from a phrase he read in a newspaper during a visit with Winwood to Newcastle, England, while Winwood was finishing some touring commitments with Spencer Davis. The duo wrote much of the song on a piano in the hotel lobby.
Mason said the song was about “a girl looking for work and chasing a paper sun.” Remember–it was the ‘60s.”
Its success, particularly in Europe, hastened Traffic's progress on its debut album, Mr. Fantasy, which hit Number 88 on the Billboard 200 and Number Nine on the U.K. album chart.