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Cream

Although Cream was only together for a little more than two years, their influence was immense, both during their late-'60s peak and in the years following their breakup. Cream was the first top group to truly exploit the power-trio format, in the process laying the foundation for much blues-rock and hard rock of the 1960s and 1970s. It was with Cream, too, that guitarist Eric Clapton truly became an international superstar. Critical revisionists have tagged the band as overrated, citing the musicians' emphasis upon flash, virtuosity, and showmanship at the expense of taste and focus. This was sometimes true of their live shows in particular, but in reality the best of their studio recordings were excellent fusions of blues, pop, and psychedelia, with concise original material outnumbering the bloated blues jams and overlong solos.

Cream could be viewed as the first rock supergroup to become superstars, although none of the three members were that well-known when the band formed in mid-1966. Eric Clapton had the biggest reputation, having established himself as a guitar hero first with the Yardbirds, and then in a more blues-intensive environment with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. (In the States, however, he was all but unknown, having left the Yardbirds before "For Your Love" made the American Top Ten.) Bassist/singer Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker had both been in the Graham Bond Organisation, an underrated British R&B combo that drew extensively upon the jazz backgrounds of the musicians. Bruce had also been, very briefly, a member of the Bluesbreakers along Clapton, and also briefly a member of Manfred Mann when he became especially eager to pay the rent.

All three of the musicians yearned to break free of the confines of the standard rock/R&B/blues group, in a unit that would allow them greater instrumental and improvisational freedom, somewhat in the mold of a jazz outfit. Eric Clapton's stunning guitar solos would get much of the adulation, yet Bruce was at least as responsible for shaping the group's sound, singing most of the material in his rich voice. He also wrote their best original compositions, sometimes in collaboration with outside lyricist Pete Brown.

At first Cream's focus was electrified and amped-up traditional blues, which dominated their first album, Fresh Cream, which made the British Top Ten in early 1967. Originals like "N.S.U." and "I Feel Free" gave notice that the band were capable of moving beyond the blues, and they truly found their voice on Disraeli Gears in late 1967, which consisted mostly of group-penned songs. Here they fashioned invigorating, sometimes beguiling hard-driving psychedelic pop, which included plenty of memorable melodies and effective harmonies along with the expected crunching riffs. "Strange Brew," "Dance the Night Away," "Tales of Brave Ulysses," and "S.W.L.A.B.R." are all among their best tracks, and the album broke the band big time in the States, reaching the Top Five. It also generated their first big U.S. hit single, "Sunshine of Your Love," which was based around one of the most popular hard rock riffs of the '60s.

With the double album Wheels of Fire, Cream topped the American charts in 1968, establishing themselves alongside the Beatles and Hendrix as one of the biggest rock acts in the world. The record itself was a more erratic affair than Disraeli Gears, perhaps dogged by the decision to present separate discs of studio and live material; the concert tracks in particular did much to establish their reputation, for good or ill, for stretching songs way past the ten-minute mark on-stage. The majestically doomy "White Room" gave Cream another huge American single, and the group was firmly established as one of the biggest live draws of any kind. Their decision to disband in late 1968 -- at a time when they were seemingly on top of the world -- came as a shock to most of the rock audience.

Cream's short lifespan, however, was in hindsight unsurprising given the considerable talents, ambitions, and egos of each of its members. Clapton in particular was tired of blowing away listeners with sheer power, and wanted to explore more subtle directions. After a farewell tour of the States, the band broke up in November 1968. In 1969, however, they were in a sense bigger than ever; a posthumous album featuring both studio and live material, Goodbye, made number two, highlighted by the haunting Eric Clapton-George Harrison composition "Badge," which remains one of Cream's most beloved tracks.

Clapton and Baker would quickly resurface in 1969 as half of another short-lived supergroup, Blind Faith, and Clapton of course went on to one of the longest and most successful careers of anyone in the rock business. Bruce and Baker never attained nearly as high a profile after leaving Cream, but both kept busy in the ensuing decades with various interesting projects in the fields of rock, jazz, and experimental music. ~ Richie Unterberger, Rovi
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Comments

Still sounds great now as it did back then...I probably appreciate this music more today
You like cream
The summer before my senior year ('69) I would hang out at an arcade on the Seahorse Pier in Bringantine, NJ. I would pop quarters in the juke box til I wore this 45 out.
ph724
Got stoned with Ginger Baker. Great guy.
csa_98902
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you've started reading so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lover's name will come on the screen in big letters. This is so scary because it actually works
just heard this song on the radio earlier this afternoon
krypstyle
What a bass line!classic hit.
White Room, SWLABR, Sunshine of Your Love, I Feel Free, Strange Brew, World of Pain, Tales of Brave Ulysses, Born Under a Bad Sign, Badge.
Music will forever be changing, rather for good or worse. The musical roots of the 60's will live on and on and never change. It was a time of peace, love and rock 'n' roll. I lived it and what a life it was. my fondest memories were from the 60's. I was able to go to many concerts back then and enjoy the power of the music as well as the performance.
Love cream greatsong
I have loved Cream since they first recorded. It is to neat to be able to hear all of the music I used to party to......
I've listened to this music for years Good music never gets old
I don't know how I feel about Clapton anymore after he dissed Bonzo.
This is what I listened to in high school I feel sorry for kids today and the quality of music they have
Love these mofos
I could imagine this song in a quentin tarantino film
Hey can you pass that joint over, thanks. Keep on truckin
Is this song about drug downloading?
I saw their farewell tour in in SoCal and was saddened at that time by the knowledge that Cream was finished.
Thankfully are left with this body of work; It shows after 45 years what true talent and genius truly is. Thank you : )
steeles159
It is
holt56
Isn't it nice to hear a band that sounds good and fresh 40+ years after?
irishkid4561
Wow that's awsome
Follow 4 a Follow ;)
nicslager
Ah cream, so talented
nicslager
60s-70s the best music ever created
all humanity. The death of man's emotions was not a good thing as far as the artistic realities of this entire worlds future is concerned. In this sense, the world has obviously lost big time.

Take all the great music of such the time period, both rock and pop, going even well into the seventies if one wants, it is to ask, for this is what I do, in all the emotional qualities of music that is what gave all this music its very vitality and power itself, what would have otherwise been if man's emotions were not killed and had otherwise been allowed to thrive giving rise to many other powers of the emotions brilliance the emotions truly possesses that it's genies would have given all hu
Not all the songs have lyrics...
They do show the lyrics foo
please show lyrics to the songs you are streaming to me, thanks very much!
Good song know how to play it on the guitar
You have to see beware of ginger baker.!?:):(
Saw TenYears, Fleetwood mac who had Pete Green and shs n na one night.whole building smoking Panama Red
Kiss your left hand 15 times, say your crushes name close your hand and say a school day than open your hand and post this on 15 other songs and that day that you said u crush will ask you out.
What kind of drugs were these guys on to come up with those lyrics?
Actually the title Badge was when Eric and George were writing the song and Eric misread the word Bridge and they went with it..
...Ten Years After.....
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life.However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. You've started reading so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes. When you're done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen.this is so scary but it actually works
James gang
Brightue where y to nite, no comments
Gotta love Clapton!
Im 15, and I love playing cream, really has taken my guitar playing too new heights.
Cream /sunshine of your love. Follow for follow. Classic Clapton .
Good tie rock on
Just gotta say it badge is the stuff
Wow! Guess I'm not the only one who loves cream
Saw them live really good
Good tunes ha ?
My favorite
Jack Bruce, Vernon Reid, Cindy Blackman-San t a n a and John Medeski in Spectrum Road! The supergroup of the 2010's!
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