Cream (band)

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Cream
Cream Clapton Bruce Baker 1960s.jpg
Cream in 1967. L–R: Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton.
Background information
Origin London, England
Genres
Years active
  • 1966 (1966)–1968
  • 2005
(one-off reunion: 1993)
Labels
Associated acts
Past members

Cream were a British rock band formed in London in 1966. The group consisted of bassist Jack Bruce, guitarist Eric Clapton, and drummer Ginger Baker. All three members sang lead and backing vocals. The group's third album, Wheels of Fire (1968), is the world's first platinum-selling double album. [2] [3] Formed from members of previously successful bands, they are widely regarded as the world's first supergroup. [4] [5] [6] [7] In their career, they sold more than 15 million records worldwide. [8] Their music spanned many genres of rock music, including blues rock ("Crossroads", "Born Under a Bad Sign"), psychedelic rock ("Strange Brew", "White Room"), and hard rock ("Sunshine of Your Love", "SWLABR").

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily from the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly from a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with the largest municipal population in the European Union. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

Jack Bruce Scottish musician, bassist of Cream

John Symon Asher Bruce was a Scottish musician, singer and songwriter known primarily for his contributions to the British supergroup Cream, which also included the guitarist-singer Eric Clapton and the drummer Ginger Baker. In March 2011 Rolling Stone readers selected him as the eighth greatest bass guitarist of all time. "Most musicians would have a very hard time distinguishing themselves if they wound up in a band with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker," the magazine said at the time, "but Jack Bruce was so gifted on the bass that he did it with ease."

Contents

The band made a significant impact on the popular music of the time, and, along with Jimi Hendrix and other notable guitarists and bands, popularised the use of the wah-wah pedal. They provided a heavy yet technically proficient musical theme that foreshadowed and influenced the emergence of British bands such as Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath in the late 1960s and the early 1970s. They also influenced American southern rock groups the Allman Brothers Band [9] and Lynyrd Skynyrd. [10] The band's live performances influenced progressive rock acts such as Rush. [11]

Jimi Hendrix American guitarist, singer and songwriter

James Marshall Hendrix was an American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter. His mainstream career lasted only four years, but he is widely regarded as one of the most influential guitarists in history and one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes him as "the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music".

Wah-wah pedal effects unit that mimics the sound of "wah wah"

A wah-wah pedal is a type of electric guitar effects pedal that alters the tone and frequencies of the guitar signal to create a distinctive sound, mimicking the human voice saying the onomatopoeic name "wah-wah". The pedal sweeps the peak response of a frequency filter up and down in frequency to create the sound, a spectral glide, also known as "the wah effect". The wah-wah effect originated in the 1920s, with trumpet or trombone players finding they could produce an expressive crying tone by moving a mute in and out of the instrument's bell. This was later simulated with electronic circuitry for the electric guitar when the wah-wah pedal was invented. It is controlled by movement of the player's foot on a rocking pedal connected to a potentiometer. Wah-wah effects are used when a guitarist is soloing, or creating a "wacka-wacka" funk-styled rhythm for rhythm guitar playing.

Led Zeppelin English rock band

Led Zeppelin were an English rock band formed in London in 1968. The group consisted of vocalist Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones and drummer John Bonham. Along with Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, the band's heavy, guitar-driven sound has led them to be cited as one of the originators of heavy metal. Their style drew from a wide variety of influences, including blues, psychedelia and folk music.

Cream were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. [12] They were included in both Rolling Stone and VH1's lists of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time", at number 67 and 61 respectively. [13] [14] They were also ranked number 16 on VH1's "100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock". [15]

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Hall of fame located on the shore of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, United States

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a museum and hall of fame located in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, on the shore of Lake Erie, that documents the history of rock music and the artists, producers, engineers, and other notable figures who have influenced its development. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation was established on April 20, 1983, by Ahmet Ertegun, founder and chairman of Atlantic Records. In 1986, Cleveland was chosen as the Hall of Fame's permanent home, and the museum was dedicated on September 1, 1995.

"The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time" is a special issue published by the American magazine Rolling Stone in two parts in 2004 and 2005 and updated in 2011. The list presented was compiled based on input from musicians, writers, and industry figures and is focused on the rock & roll era. It predominantly features American and British musicians.

VH1 American cable television network

VH1 is an American pay television network based in New York City owned by Viacom. It was originally created by Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment, at the time a division of Warner Communications and the original owner of MTV, and launched on January 1, 1985, in the former space of Turner Broadcasting System's short-lived Cable Music Channel.

History

Formation (1966)

By July 1966, Eric Clapton's career with the Yardbirds and John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers had earned him a reputation as the premier blues guitarist in Britain. [16] Clapton, however, found the environment of Mayall's band confining, and sought to expand his playing in a new band. In 1966, Clapton met Ginger Baker, then the leader of the Graham Bond Organisation, which at one point featured Jack Bruce on bass guitar, harmonica and piano. Baker felt stifled in the Graham Bond Organisation and had grown tired of Graham Bond's drug addictions and bouts of mental instability. "I had always liked Ginger", explained Clapton. "Ginger had come to see me play with the Bluesbreakers. After the gig he drove me back to London in his Rover. I was very impressed with his car and driving. He was telling me that he wanted to start a band, and I had been thinking about it too." [17]

Eric Clapton English musician, singer, songwriter, and guitarist

Eric Patrick Clapton, is an English rock and blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist and separately as a member of the Yardbirds and of Cream. Clapton has been referred to as one of the most important and influential guitarists of all time. Clapton ranked second in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" and fourth in Gibson's "Top 50 Guitarists of All Time". He was also named number five in Time magazine's list of "The 10 Best Electric Guitar Players" in 2009.

The Yardbirds English blues and psychedelic rock band

The Yardbirds are an English rock band, formed in London in 1963. The band's core lineup featured vocalist and harmonica player Keith Relf, drummer Jim McCarty, rhythm guitarist/bassist Chris Dreja and bassist/producer Paul Samwell-Smith. The band is known for starting the careers of three of rock's most famous guitarists, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck, all of whom ranked in the top five of Rolling Stone magazine's list of 100 greatest guitarists. The band had a string of hits throughout the mid-1960s, including "For Your Love", "Heart Full of Soul", "Shapes of Things" and "Over Under Sideways Down".

John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers English blues band

John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers was an English blues rock band, led by singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist John Mayall, OBE. While never producing a radio-friendly hit on their own, the Bluesbreakers' greatest legacy is as an incubator for British rock and blues musicians. Many of the best known bands to come out of Britain in the 1960s and 1970s had members that came through the Bluesbreakers at one time, forming the foundation of British blues music that still appears heavily in classic rock radio. Among those with a tenure in the Bluesbreakers are Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood, and John McVie, Mick Taylor, Aynsley Dunbar, and numerous other musicians.

Each was impressed with the other's playing abilities, prompting Baker to ask Clapton to join his new, then-unnamed group. Clapton immediately agreed, on the condition that Baker hire Bruce as the group's bassist; [3] according to Clapton, Baker was so surprised at the suggestion that he almost crashed the car. [18] Clapton had met Bruce when the bassist/vocalist briefly played with the Bluesbreakers in November 1965; [3] [19] the two also had recorded together as part of an ad hoc group dubbed Powerhouse (which also included Steve Winwood and Paul Jones). Impressed with Bruce's vocals and technical prowess, Clapton wanted to work with him on an ongoing basis.

Eric Clapton and the Powerhouse was a British blues rock studio group formed in 1966. They recorded three songs, which were released on the Elektra Records sampler album What's Shakin' in 1966. A possible fourth song remained unreleased.

Steve Winwood English musician

Stephen Lawrence Winwood is an English singer and musician whose genres include progressive rock, blue-eyed soul, rhythm and blues, blues rock, pop rock, and jazz. Though primarily a vocalist and keyboardist, Winwood also plays a wide variety of other instruments; on several of his solo albums he has played all instrumentation, including drums, mandolin, guitars, bass and saxophone.

Paul Jones (singer) British singer, actor, harmonica player, radio personality and television presenter

Paul Jones is an English singer, actor, harmonica player, radio personality and television presenter. He presented The Blues Show on BBC Radio 2 for thirty-two years.

In contrast, while Bruce was in Bond's band, he and Baker had been notorious for their quarrelling. [20] Their volatile relationship included on-stage fights and the sabotage of one another's instruments. [20] After Baker fired Bruce from the band, Bruce continued to arrive for gigs; ultimately, Bruce was driven away from the band after Baker threatened him at knifepoint. [21]

Baker and Bruce tried to put aside their differences for the good of Baker's new trio, which he envisioned as collaborative, with each of the members contributing to music and lyrics. The band was named "Cream", as Clapton, Bruce, and Baker were already considered the "cream of the crop" amongst blues and jazz musicians in the exploding British music scene. Initially, the group were referred to and billed as "The Cream", but starting officially with its first record releases, the trio came to be known as "Cream". [22] Despite this, the band was referred to as "The Cream" on several occasions by promoters and disc jockeys, and even on occasion by the band members themselves. Before deciding upon "Cream", the band considered calling themselves "Sweet 'n' Sour Rock 'n' Roll". [2] Of the trio, Clapton had the biggest reputation in England; however, he was all but unknown in the United States, having left the Yardbirds before "For Your Love" hit the American Top Ten. [16]

The band made its unofficial debut at the Twisted Wheel on 29 July 1966. [3] [23] Its official debut came two nights later at the Sixth Annual Windsor Jazz & Blues Festival. [3] [23] Being new and with few original songs to its credit, they performed blues reworkings that thrilled the large crowd and earned it a warm reception. In October the band also got a chance to jam with Jimi Hendrix, who had recently arrived in London. Hendrix was a fan of Clapton's music, and wanted a chance to play with him onstage. [3]

It was during the early organisation that they decided Bruce would serve as the group's lead vocalist. While Clapton was shy about singing, [24] he occasionally harmonised with Bruce and, in time, took lead vocals on several Cream tracks including "Four Until Late", "Strange Brew", "World of Pain", "Outside Woman Blues", "Crossroads", and "Badge".

Fresh Cream (1966)

The band's debut album, Fresh Cream , was recorded and released in 1966. The album reached number 6 in the UK charts and number 39 in the United States. [25] It was evenly split between self-penned originals and blues covers, including "Four Until Late", "Rollin' and Tumblin'", "Spoonful", "I'm So Glad" [7] and "Cat's Squirrel". The rest of the songs were written by either Jack Bruce or Ginger Baker. ("I Feel Free", a UK hit single, [3] was included on only the American edition of the LP.) The track "Toad" contained one of the earliest examples of a drum solo in rock music as Ginger Baker expanded upon his early composition "Camels and Elephants", written in 1965 with the Graham Bond Organisation.

Early Cream bootlegs display a much tighter band showcasing more songs. All of the songs are reasonably short, including five-minute versions of "N.S.U.", "Sweet Wine" and "Toad". But a mere two months later, the setlist shortened, with the songs then much longer.

Disraeli Gears (1967)

The band first visited the United States in March 1967 to play nine dates at the RKO 58th Street Theatre in New York. There was little impact, as impresario Murray the K placed them at the bottom of a six-act bill that performed three times per date, eventually reducing the band to one song per concert. [26] They returned to record Disraeli Gears in New York between 11 and 15 May 1967. [27] This, the band's second album, was released in November 1967 and reached the Top 5 in the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. [28] Produced by Felix Pappalardi (who later co-founded the Cream-influenced quartet Mountain) and engineer Tom Dowd, it was recorded at Atlantic Studios in New York. Disraeli Gears is often considered to be the band's defining effort, successfully blending psychedelic British rock with American blues.

In addition to "Strange Brew" and "Tales of Brave Ulysses", Disraeli Gears features "Sunshine of Your Love", which became the group's unofficial anthem, and is probably their best-known song today. [7] Bruce and Pete Brown came upon the idea in a state of near desperation in the wee hours. In a last-ditch attempt to salvage something from the long and fruitless night at his apartment, the bleary-eyed Bruce pulled out his double bass again and played a riff. At that point, Brown looked out the window and saw the sun was about to rise: "It's getting near dawn", he said to himself. Brown put the words on paper then thought some more: "When lights close their tired eyes".

Cream performing on Dutch television in January 1968 Cream on Fanclub 1968 (2).png
Cream performing on Dutch television in January 1968

The album was originally slated for release in the summer of 1967, but the record label opted to scrap the planned cover and repackage it with a new psychedelic cover, designed by artist Martin Sharp, and the resulting changes delayed its release for several months. The cover was remarkable for the time, with a psychedelic design patterned over a publicity photo of the trio.

Although the album is considered one of Cream's finest efforts, it has never been well represented in the band's live sets. Although they consistently played "Tales of Brave Ulysses" and "Sunshine of Your Love", several songs from Disraeli Gears were quickly dropped from performances in mid-1967, favouring longer jams instead of short pop songs. "We're Going Wrong" was the only additional song from the album the group performed live. In fact, at their 2005 reunion shows in London, the band played only three songs from Disraeli Gears: "Outside Woman Blues", "We're Going Wrong", and "Sunshine of Your Love"; at their three October 2005 performances in New York, "Tales of Brave Ulysses" was also included in the setlist.

In August 1967, the band played their first headlining dates in the US, first at The Fillmore in San Francisco and later at The Pinnacle in Los Angeles. The concerts were a great success and proved very influential on both the band itself and the flourishing hippie scene surrounding them. Upon discovering a growing listening audience, the band began to stretch out on stage, incorporating more time in their repertoire, some songs reaching jams of twenty minutes. Long, drawn-out jams in numbers like "Spoonful", "N.S.U.", "I'm So Glad", and "Sweet Wine" became live favourites, while songs like "Sunshine of Your Love", "Crossroads", and "Tales of Brave Ulysses" remained reasonably short.

Wheels of Fire (1968)

Cream performing in 1968 Cream on Fanclub 1968.png
Cream performing in 1968

In 1968 came the band's third release, Wheels of Fire , which topped the American charts. The album was recorded in a spate of short sessions in from July 1967 to June 1968. Still a relative novelty, the double album of two LP records was well-suited to extended solos. The Wheels of Fire studio recordings showcased the band moving way from the blues and more towards a semi-progressive rock style highlighted by odd time signatures and various orchestral instruments. However, the band did record Howlin' Wolf's "Sitting on Top of the World" and Albert King's "Born Under a Bad Sign". According to a BBC interview with Clapton, the record company, Atco Records, also handling Albert King, asked the band to cover "Born Under a Bad Sign", which became a popular track off the record. The opening song, "White Room", became a radio staple. Another song, "Politician", was written by the band while waiting to perform live at the BBC. [17] The album's second disc featured three live recordings from the Winterland Ballroom and one from the Fillmore. Clapton's second solo from "Crossroads" has made it to the top 20 in multiple "greatest guitar solo" lists. [29] [30]

After the completion of Wheels of Fire in mid-1968, the band members had grown tired of their exhausting touring schedule and increasingly loud jamming, and wanted to go their separate ways. Baker stated in a 2006 interview with Music Mart magazine, "It just got to the point where Eric said to me: 'I've had enough of this', and I said so have I. I couldn't stand it. The last year with Cream was just agony. It damaged my hearing permanently, and today I've still got a hearing problem because of the sheer volume throughout the last year of Cream. But it didn't start off like that. In 1966, it was great. It was really a wonderful experience musically, and it just went into the realms of stupidity." Bruce and Baker's combustible relationship proved even worse as a result of the strain put upon the band by non-stop touring, forcing Clapton to play the perpetual role of peacekeeper. On more than one occasion Clapton was reduced to tears by their arguments.

Clapton had also become interested in the music of Bob Dylan's former backing group, now known as the Band, and their debut album, Music from Big Pink , [3] which proved to be a welcome breath of fresh air, to Clapton, in comparison to the psychedelia and volume that had defined Cream. Furthermore, he had read a scathing Cream review in Rolling Stone , a publication he had much admired, in which the reviewer, Jon Landau, called him a "master of the blues cliché". [3] In the wake of that article, Clapton wanted to end Cream and pursue a different musical direction.

At the beginning of the band's farewell tour on 4 October 1968, in Oakland, California, nearly the entire set consisted of songs from Wheels of Fire: "White Room", "Politician", "Crossroads", "Spoonful", and "Deserted Cities of the Heart", with "Passing the Time" taking the place of "Toad" for a drum solo. "Passing the Time" and "Deserted Cities" were quickly removed from the setlist and replaced by "Sitting on Top of the World" and "Toad".

Goodbye and break-up (1968–1969)

Ginger Baker at the drumkit Ginger Baker 1980.jpg
Ginger Baker at the drumkit

From its creation, Cream was faced with some fundamental problems that would later lead to its dissolution in November 1968. The antagonism between Bruce and Baker created tensions in the band. Clapton also felt that the members of the band did not listen to each other enough. Equipment during these years had also improved; new Marshall amplifier stacks produced more power, and Jack Bruce pushed the volume levels higher, creating tension for Baker, who would have trouble competing with roaring stacks. Clapton spoke of a concert during which he stopped playing and neither Baker nor Bruce noticed. [20] Clapton has also commented that Cream's later gigs mainly consisted of its members showing off. [31]

Cream decided that they would break up in May 1968 during a tour of the US. [32] Later, in July, an official announcement was made that the band would break up after a farewell tour of the United States and after playing two concerts in London.

Cream were eventually persuaded to do one final album. The album, the appropriately titled Goodbye , was recorded in late 1968 and released in early 1969, after the band had broken up. It featured six songs: three live recordings dating from a concert at The Forum in Los Angeles, California, on 19 October, and three new studio recordings (including "Badge", which was written by Clapton and George Harrison, who also played rhythm guitar and was credited as "L'Angelo Misterioso"). "I'm So Glad" was included among the live tracks.

Cream's "farewell tour" consisted of 22 shows at 19 venues in the United States from 4 October to 4 November 1968, and two final farewell concerts at the Royal Albert Hall on 25 and 26 November 1968 that were opened by Yes who had formed three months earlier. The final U.S. gig was at the Rhode Island Auditorium on 4 November. The band arrived late and, due to local restrictions, were able to perform only two songs, "Toad" and a 20+ minute version of "Spoonful".

The two Royal Albert Hall concerts were filmed for a BBC documentary and released on video (and later DVD) as Farewell Concert . Both shows were sold out and attracted more attention than any other Cream concert, but their performance was regarded by many as below standard. Baker himself said of the concerts: "It wasn't a good gig ... Cream was better than that ... We knew it was all over. We knew we were just finishing it off, getting it over with." Bruce had three Marshall stacks on stage for the farewell shows but one acted only as a spare, and he only used one or two, depending on the song. [32] In an interview from Cream: Classic Artists, he added that the band was getting worse by the minute. [33]

Cream's supporting acts were Taste (featuring a young Rory Gallagher) and the newly formed Yes, who received good reviews. Three performances early in Cream's farewell tour were opened by Deep Purple. Deep Purple had originally agreed to open the entire U.S. leg of the tour, but Cream's management removed them after only three shows, in spite of favourable reviews and good rapport between the bands. [34]

Jack Bruce performing on Dutch television in 1968 Jack Bruce (Cream) on Fanclub 1968.png
Jack Bruce performing on Dutch television in 1968

Post-Cream

Eric Clapton performing in Barcelona years after leaving Cream, 1986 Eric "slowhand" Clapton.jpg
Eric Clapton performing in Barcelona years after leaving Cream, 1986

Blind Faith, a band that included both Clapton and Baker, was formed after the demise of Cream, following an attempt by Clapton to recruit Steve Winwood into Cream in the hope that he would help act as a buffer between Bruce and Baker. [35] Inspired by more song-based acts, Clapton went on to perform much different, less improvisational material with Delaney & Bonnie, Derek and the Dominos, and in his own long and varied solo career.

Bruce began a varied and successful solo career with the 1969 release of Songs for a Tailor , while Baker formed a jazz-fusion ensemble out of the ashes of Blind Faith called Ginger Baker's Air Force, which featured Winwood, Blind Faith bassist Rick Grech, Graham Bond on saxophone, and guitarist Denny Laine of the Moody Blues and (later) Wings.

All three members continued to explore new musical ideas and partnerships, play concerts and record music for over four decades after ending Cream.

Reunions

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

In 1993, Cream were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and re-formed to perform at the induction ceremony. [36] Initially, the trio were wary about performing, until encouraging words from Robbie Robertson inspired them to try. [37] The set consisted of "Sunshine of Your Love", "Crossroads", and "Born Under a Bad Sign", a song they had not previously played live.[ citation needed ] Clapton mentioned in his acceptance speech that their rehearsal the day before the ceremony had marked the first time they had played together in 25 years. [3] This performance spurred rumours of a reunion tour. Bruce and Baker said in later interviews that they were, indeed, interested in touring as Cream.[ citation needed ] A formal reunion did not take place immediately, as Clapton, Bruce and Baker continued to pursue solo projects, although the latter two worked together again in the mid-1990s as two-thirds of the power trio BBM with Irish blues rock guitarist Gary Moore.

2005 Royal Albert Hall and Madison Square Garden concerts

At Clapton's request, Cream reunited for a series of four shows, on 2, 3, 5, and 6 May 2005 at the Royal Albert Hall in London, the venue of their final concerts in 1968. [38] Although the three musicians chose not to speak publicly about the shows, Clapton would later state that he had become more "generous" in regard to his past, and that the physical health of Bruce and Baker was a major factor: [38] Bruce had recently undergone a liver transplant for liver cancer in 2003, and had almost lost his life, while Baker had severe arthritis.

Tickets for all four shows sold out in under an hour. The performances were recorded for a live CD and DVD. Among those in attendance were Bill Wyman, Steve Winwood, [39] Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Roger Waters, Brian May, Jimmy Page, and Mick Taylor. [40] The reunion marked the first time the band had played "Badge" and "Pressed Rat and Warthog" live. [38]

Inspired by the success of the reunion, the band agreed to an additional set of three shows at the Madison Square Garden in New York City, from 24–26 October 2005. [41] According to Clapton, these concerts didn't live up to the Royal Albert Hall performances due to, among other reasons, lack of rehearsal and the resurgence of old grudges among band members. [42]

2006–2014

In February 2006, Cream received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of their contribution to, and influence upon, modern music. [43] [44] That same month, a "Classic Albums" DVD was released detailing the story behind the creation and recording of Disraeli Gears. On the day prior to the Grammy ceremony, Bruce made a public statement that more one-off performances of Cream had been planned: multiple dates in a few cities, similar to the Royal Albert Hall and Madison Square Garden shows.

However, this story was refuted by both Clapton and Baker, first by Clapton in a Times article from April 2006. The article stated that when asked about Cream, Clapton said: "No. Not for me. We did it and it was fun. But life is too short. I've got lots of other things I would rather do, including staying at home with my kids. The thing about that band was that it was all to do with its limits ... it was an experiment." In an interview in the UK magazine Music Mart, about the release of a DVD about the Blind Faith concert in Hyde Park 1969, Baker commented about his unwillingness to continue the Cream reunion. These comments were far more specific and explosive than Clapton's, as they were centred around his relationship with Jack Bruce. Ginger said, "When he's Dr. Jekyll, he's fine ... It's when he's Mr. Hyde that he's not. And I'm afraid he's still the same. I tell you this – there won't ever be any more Cream gigs, because he did Mr. Hyde in New York last year." [45]

When asked to elaborate, Baker replied:

Oh, he shouted at me on stage, he turned his bass up so loud that he deafened me on the first gig. What he does is that he apologises and apologises, but I'm afraid, to do it on a Cream reunion gig, that was the end. He killed the magic, and New York was like 1968 ... It was just a get through the gig, get the money sort of deal. I was absolutely amazed. I mean, he demonstrated why he got the sack from Graham Bond and why Cream didn't last very long on stage in New York. I didn't want to do it in the first place simply because of how Jack was. I have worked with him several times since Cream, and I promised myself that I would never work with him again. When Eric first came up with the idea, I said no, and then he phoned me up and eventually convinced me to do it. I was on my best behaviour and I did everything I could to make things go as smooth as possible, and I was really pleasant to Jack. [45]

Baker and Bruce would reunite on stage in London when Baker was awarded a lifetime achievement award by Zildjian.

Bruce told Detroit's WCSX radio station in May 2007 that there were plans for a Cream reunion later in the year. It was later revealed that the potential performance was to be November 2007 in London as a tribute to Ahmet Ertegün. The band decided against it and this was confirmed by Bruce in a letter to the editor of the Jack Bruce fanzine, The Cuicoland Express, dated 26 September 2007:

Dear Marc,
We were going to do this tribute concert for Ahmet when it was to be at the Royal Albert Hall but decided to pass when it was moved to the O2 Arena and seemed to be becoming overly commercial.

The headlining act for the O2 Arena Ahmet Ertegün Tribute Concert (postponed to December 2007) turned out to be another reunited English hard-rock act, Led Zeppelin. In an interview with BBC 6 Music in April 2010, Bruce confirmed that there would be no more Cream shows. He said, "Cream is over." [46]

On 25 October 2014, Bruce died of liver disease in Suffolk, England at the age of 71, putting an end to any possibilities of another reunion.

Band members

Discography

Bibliography

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Disraeli Gears is the second studio album by the British rock band Cream. It was released in November 1967 and went on to reach No. 5 on the UK Albums Chart. It was also the group's American breakthrough, becoming a massive seller in 1968, and reaching No. 4 on the American charts. The album was No. 1 for two weeks on the Australian album chart and was listed as the No. 1 album of 1968 by Cash Box in the year-end album chart in the United States. The album features the two singles "Strange Brew" and "Sunshine of Your Love," as well as their respective B-sides "Tales of Brave Ulysses" and "SWLABR."

Sunshine of Your Love Song first recorded by Cream in 1967

"Sunshine of Your Love" is a 1967 song by the British rock band Cream. With elements of hard rock, psychedelia, and pop, it is one of Cream's best known and most popular songs. Cream bassist and vocalist Jack Bruce based it on a distinctive bass riff, he developed after attending a Jimi Hendrix concert. Guitarist Eric Clapton and lyricist Pete Brown later contributed to the song. Recording engineer Tom Dowd suggested the rhythm arrangement in which drummer Ginger Baker plays a distinctive tom-tom drum rhythm, although Baker has claimed it was his idea.

White Room 1968 single by Cream

"White Room" is a song by British rock band Cream, composed by bassist Jack Bruce with lyrics by poet Pete Brown. They recorded it for the studio half of the 1968 double album Wheels of Fire. In September, a shorter US single edit was released for AM radio stations, although album-oriented FM radio stations played the full album version. The subsequent UK single release in January 1969 used the full-length album version of the track.

<i>Gold</i> (Cream album) 2005 greatest hits album by Cream

Gold is a two-disc compilation album by the British rock band Cream, released in 2005 to help celebrate the band's reunion at the Royal Albert Hall. It was a part of the larger Gold series.

<i>Royal Albert Hall London May 2-3-5-6, 2005</i> 2005 live album by Cream

Royal Albert Hall London May 2-3-5-6, 2005 is a live album by the British rock band Cream, recorded at the Royal Albert Hall in 2005 during the band's reunion tour. As the title implies, the recording includes songs from their four reunion shows on 2, 3, 5, and 6 May 2005.

Tales of Brave Ulysses 1967 song performed by Cream

"Tales of Brave Ulysses" is a song recorded in 1967 by British group Cream. In the UK and US, it was released as the B-side to the "Strange Brew" single in June 1967. In November, the song was included on Cream's second album, Disraeli Gears. The song features one of the earliest uses of a wah-wah pedal, which guitarist Eric Clapton plays throughout the song.

Janet Godfrey is a British songwriter, known for being the first wife and occasional writing partner of bassist Jack Bruce. Together, Godfrey and Bruce had two sons, Jonas (Jo) Bruce, who grew up to play keyboards in his father's band and formed a band called AfroCelts, and Malcolm Bruce, who grew up to play the guitar with his father and played with Ginger Baker's son, Kofi. Jonas died in 1997 from respiratory problems many years after Janet and Jack had ended their marriage in 1980.

<i>Heavy Cream</i> 1972 compilation album by Cream

Heavy Cream is a compilation album of material recorded by the British rock band Cream from 1966 to 1969.

"SWLABR" is a song by British rock band Cream. Recorded in 1967, it first appeared on the album Disraeli Gears (1967). Later, the song was included as the B-side to Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love" single.

"We're Going Wrong" is a song by British supergroup Cream from the album Disraeli Gears. The song was written by bassist Jack Bruce and was the only song on Gears that Jack wrote without lyricist Pete Brown.

<i>Creams Farewell Concert</i> 1969 film by Tony Palmer

Farewell Concert is the live recording of the band Cream's final concert at the Royal Albert Hall on 26 November 1968. Aside from the band's reunion concert in 2005 it is Cream's only official full concert release on video. It was originally broadcast by the BBC on 5 January 1969. It was not released on video in the US until 1977. The opening acts for the concert were future progressive rock stars Yes who were just starting out and Taste, an Irish trio led by Rory Gallagher.

<i>Best of Cream</i> 1969 greatest hits album by Cream

Best of Cream is a compilation album of material recorded from 1966 to 1968 by the rock band Cream, and released shortly after their disbanding. The album was originally released by Cream's U.S. label Atco (Atlantic) Records, and was available on that label during the years 1969–72. The album was briefly reissued in the U.S. in 1977 by RSO/Polydor Records, to whom U.S. distribution rights for Cream's recordings had reverted by that time. A re-release was pressed in 2014 by Polydor on 180g vinyl.

Strange Brew (song) single

"Strange Brew" is a song by the British rock band Cream. First released as a single in June 1967 in the UK and US, it was later added to their second studio album Disraeli Gears. The song features Eric Clapton on lead vocals rather than the usual lead by Jack Bruce. The single peaked at number 17 on the UK Singles Chart in July of that same year. In the UK, it was the last Cream single to be released by Reaction Records.

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