Years: Jul 11, 1966 - Nov,26 1968
Styles: Acid Rock, Blues Rock, Classic Rock, Hard Rock, Jazz Rock, Psychedelic Rock
Eric Clapton - 12 string guitar, Guitar, Lead guitar, Rhythm guitar, Vocals (in band: 1966 - 1968)
Ginger Baker - Bells, Drums, Glockenspiel, Percussion, Timpani, Vocals (in band: 1966 - 1968)
Jack Bruce - Acoustic guitar , Bass Guitar, Calliope, Cello, Harmonica, Lead vocals, Organ, Piano, Recorder, Vocals (in band: 1966 - 1968)
This fine pedigree led to Robert Stigwood signing them to his newly-founded Reaction label, after their lauded debut at The National Jazz & Blues Festival in Windsor on the 3rd of July ’66. Their initial 45, „Wrapping Paper”, give them the first of many Top 40 hits, a track that didn’t inspirē much critical praise. To end the year, they issued a debut , „Fresh Cream”, lifting from it, the breezy psychedelic single „I Feel Free”, a number which united Bruce and poet/lyricist Peter Brown in a new songwritting partnership. It also give Cream their biggest hit to date, reaching No.11 in UK. Alongside orginal material, the album featured updated blues standarts, „Spoonful” (Willie Dixon), „Rollin’&Tumblin’” (Muddy Waters) and „I’m So Glad” (Skip James).
Over the course of the next six months, they became increassingly influenced by the pioneering psychedelic blues of Jimy Hendrix. This was much in evidence on the next 45, „Strange Brew”, a slow-burning piece of sinister psych-blues. One of the highlights of their second albom „Disreali Gears”, this record also featured such enduring Cream classic as, „Sunshine of Your Love” (as US-only Top 5 hit), „Tales of Brave Ulysses” & „World of Pain”. In fact every track was fantastic and the album remains an essential purchase for any self-respecting record collector.
Their third set, „Wheels of Fire”, recorded in San Francisco and New York, consisted of two records, one studio – one live. The former featured an omminous cover of Booker T’s „Born Under a Bad Sign”, while the live disc included a definitive re-working of Robert Johnson’s „Crossroads”. However, the album (which was soon split into two single LP’s) failed to garner of same critical praise as its predecessor, pandeing to heavlyto commerciality. They played their farewell tour in November ’68, culminating in legendary sell-out show on the 26th at The Royal Albert Hall. They were already in the US Top 10 with the George Harrison and Clapton-penned „White room”, the song later becoming a fitting epitaph after it was given a UK release in early ’69.
All went on to high profile solo careers, the most obvious beeing Eric „God” Clapton.
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