Jack Bruce – circa 1969
“How his naked ears were tortured / By the sirens sweetly singing” – ‘Tales Of Brave Ulysses’ (Eric Clapton, Martin Sharp)
“It seemed to me you could do anything with a trio,” says British guitarist Eric Clapton. This is why, in June 1966, Clapton forms a musical trio with bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker. Their first rehearsals take place in the front room of Baker’s maisonette (a small compact house). Each of the three members of the group is highly regarded for their ability on their chosen instruments. They are, effectively, ‘the cream of the crop.’ For this reason, they decide to call the group Cream.
Eric Patrick Clapton is born on 30 March 1945 in Ripley, Surrey, England. His parents are Edward Walter Fryer and Patricia Molly Clapton. Fryer is a Canadian pilot who meets 15 year old Patricia Clapton in a Surrey pub during World War Two. Eric is born out of wedlock as a result of their tryst. Edward Fryer is shipped off to combat prior to Eric’s birth and doesn’t know about the child. In a convenient fiction, Eric is raised by his maternal grandparents, Jack and Rose Clapp, under the belief that Patricia is his sister rather than his mother. Eric doesn’t learn the truth until he is 9. By that time, the family situation has changed. When Eric is ‘only a few years old,’ Patricia Clapton marries Frank MacDonald, another Canadian military man. She moves to Germany where her new spouse is stationed. Patricia and Frank MacDonald have three children together: Brian MacDonald, Cheryl MacDonald and Heather MacDonald. Eric is never asked to join this family; he remains with his grandparents. (Note: Jack Clapp is Rose Clapp’s second husband and Patricia’s stepfather. Her father, Rose’s first husband, was Reginald Cecil Clapton.)
Eric Clapton describes himself as “a loner” in his childhood. He gets his first guitar as a birthday present when he is 13. “I talked my grandparents into buying it for me,” Clapton says. As a teenager, he begins to listen to rock ‘n’ roll. A note on the sleeve of one of these recordings indicates that ‘rock ‘n’ roll has its roots in the blues.’ This leads Eric Clapton to seek out blues music. “I am and always will be a blues guitarist,” testifies Clapton. The only odd thing about this is that blues music is almost exclusively the domain of African-American recording artists from the 1930s to 1950s and Clapton is a white, British teenager. However, he is part of a generation of young white musicians who are becoming blues fans. Clapton attends St. Bede’s Secondary Modern School, then Hollyfield School in Surbiton up to 1961. At Kingston College of Art he studies stained glass design until he is ‘chucked out’ in 1963 because his focus is more on music than art.
Eric Clapton plays guitar in The Roosters (January 1963-August 1963), a British rhythm and blues band. He briefly becomes the guitarist in a more pop-oriented cover band called Casey Jones And The Engineers (two weeks in October 1963).
In 1963 Eric Clapton dates British model Krissy Findlay. She later marries Ron Wood, a guitarist best known for his work with The Rolling Stones.
The next step in Eric Clapton’s musical career is The Yardbirds (October 1963-March 1965). The Yardbirds play ‘electrified Chicago blues,’ but it is a British band. Clapton replaces the group’s original guitarist Anthony ‘Top’ Topham. During Clapton’s tenure, The Yardbirds’ line-up is: Keith Relf (vocals, harmonica), Eric Clapton (lead guitar), Chris Dreja (rhythm guitar), Paul Samwell-Smith (bass) and Jim McCarty (drums).
The Yardbirds is the first act with whom Eric Clapton records. During his time in their ranks, Clapton appears on three singles and four albums by The Yardbirds. The singles are: ‘I Wish You Would’ backed with ‘A Certain Girl’ (May 1964), ‘Good Morning Little Schoolgirl’ (UK no. 44) b/w ‘’I Ain’t Got You’ (October 1964) and ‘For Your Love’ (UK no. 3, US no. 6) (March 1965). The albums are: ‘Five Live Yardbirds’ (1964) (released 31 December); ‘For Your Love’ (1965) (US no. 65) (released 15 June); ‘Having A Rave Up With The Yardbirds’ (1965) (US no. 53) (released 15 November); and ‘Sonny Boy Williamson And The Yardbirds’ (1965) (a live recording of a gig from 8 December 1963). Eric Clapton sings ‘Good Morning Little Schoolgirl’ (a 1937 Sonny Boy Williamson song, by way of Don And Bob’s 1961 cover version) because regular Yardbirds vocalist Keith Relf is temporarily out of action with a collapsed lung. Most of The Yardbirds’ output is interpretations of old blues songs. Their breakthrough hit, ‘For Your Love’, is a new pop song written by Graham Gouldman (later of British pop group 10cc). ‘Clapton hates it so much that he only plays on the bluesy middle eight’ section of the song. When The Yardbirds persist in going in a more pop direction, Clapton quits the band.
During his time with The Yardbirds, Eric Clapton gains the nickname ‘Slowhand.’ It starts ‘because of audiences giving him a slow hand clap when he would replace guitar strings on stage.’ The tag is popularised by Giorgio Gomelsky, The Yardbirds’ manager and record producer. Clapton says that, “He [Gomelsky] coined it as a good pun. He kept saying I was a fast player, so he put together the slow hand clap phrase into Slowhand as a play on words.’
After leaving The Yardbirds in March 1965, the need to earn a wage sees Eric Clapton working as a day labourer on construction sites for several weeks.
From 1965 to 1968 Eric Clapton dates French model Charlotte Martin.
Eric Clapton signs up with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers (April 1965-July 1966), a more purist blues act than The Yardbirds has become. In April 1965 the line-up of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers is: John Mayall (vocals, keyboards, guitar), Eric Clapton (guitar, vocals), John McVie (bass) and Hughie Flint (drums). ‘Bluesbreakers With Eric Clapton’ (1966) (UK no. 6) is released on 22 July. Bassist Jack Bruce fills in for John McVie in The Bluesbreakers from August 1965 to November 1965.
While still with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Eric Clapton forms a short-lived side project called Powerhouse (March 1966). The line-up is: Steve Winwood (vocals), Eric Clapton (guitar), Paul Jones (harmonica), Ben Palmer (piano), Jack Bruce (bass) and Pete York (drums). Powerhouse records three songs – ‘I Want To Know’, ‘Steppin’ Out’ and ‘Crossroads’ – that show up on the various artists album ‘What’s Shakin’’ (1966), released in June.
It is also during his time with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers that Eric Clapton’s prowess as a guitarist results in walls being adorned with graffiti proclaiming ‘Clapton is God’ and crowds shouting, “Give God a solo!”
Jack Bruce (14 May 1943-25 October 2014) is born John Symon Asher Bruce in Bishopbriggs, Lanarkshire, Scotland. He is called ‘Jack’ by his family at an early age and the name sticks. Jack is the son of Charles ‘Charlie’ Bruce and Betty Bruce (nee Asher). Jack is their second child; his elder brother is named Charles after their father. Jack Bruce recalls that, “Growing up in inner city Glasgow [in Scotland], it sometimes seemed to me money hadn’t been invented. We lived in a council flat, my dad worked in a factory and my mother worked in a baker’s shop and scrubbed floors at the local hospital.” It is also a musical family. “My mother sang Scottish folk songs [with the Glasgow Socialist Choristers] and my father was a huge traditional jazz fan of people like Fats Waller and Louis Armstrong. But my older brother loved modern jazz,” says Jack. In 1947 the Bruce family moves to Canada but their stay is short. Charlie Bruce’s left-wing politics lead him to help organise workers’ strikes and employment dries up. So the family returns to Scotland.
Jack Bruce’s first instrument is piano. “When I started out there was a piano in my house and it was there so I just started tinkling on it,” says Jack. He is trained to play piano in the classical tradition. Jack Bruce’s parents travel extensively with the result that Jack attends fourteen different schools before winding up at Bellahouston Academy in south-west Glasgow. As a teenager, Jack sings with the church choir. When skiffle music (a kind of home-made folk rock) becomes popular in the U.K. (around 1956), Jack Bruce joins in by plucking bass lines on a cello. He gets a double bass and begins playing jazz bass in his teens. “At the age of 16,” Jack Bruce recalls, “I started performing [on the ballroom circuit] with a dance band [The Freddie Riley Trio] in the evenings.” When he is 17, Jack Bruce wins a scholarship to study cello and musical composition at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. Jack says, “Various things happened there [at the Royal Academy] including being sexually assaulted by the composition teacher. In those days, that was something you just didn’t talk about.” While at the Royal Academy, Jack Bruce plays acoustic bass with Jim McHaig’s Scottsville Jazz Band to support himself. The school learns of his extracurricular activities and expresses disapproval. “They found out and said, ‘Either stop, or leave college.’ So I left college,” Jack shrugs.
In 1960 Jack Bruce goes on tour in Italy with The Murray Campbell Big Band, the musicians attired in kilts and tartans. “I was working in Italy on an American air base…when I first heard [jazz great] Charles Mingus. I immediately realised that that was what I wanted to be: a bass player who composed,” states Jack Bruce.
Jack Bruce moves to London in 1962. It is there that he first sees drummer Ginger Baker, who is playing with The Bert Courtley Sextet. “I was especially amazed by Ginger. I had never heard a drummer like that,” Jack admits. The two become acquainted. “I was very close to him. He was like an older brother to me,” Jack says of Ginger. The pair of musicians starts working together in Blues Incorporated (1962-1963). This group consists of: Alexis Korner (vocals, guitar), Graham Bond (keyboards), Dick Heckstall-Smith (saxophone), Jack Bruce (bass) and Ginger Baker (drums). Some of their work survives on the album ‘Alexis Korner And Friends’ (1963).
The Graham Bond Organisation (January 1963-August 1965) is a more rhythm and blues-oriented group featuring mostly former members of Blues Incorporated. At first the band is called The Graham Bond Quartet: Graham Bond (vocals, organ), John McLaughlin (guitar), Jack Bruce (vocals, bass) and Ginger Baker (drums). McLaughlin soon leaves and is replaced by Dick Heckstall-Smith (saxophone), the group name is altered to The Graham Bond Organisation and Jack Bruce switches from upright bass to electric bass. The Graham Bond Organisation releases three albums: ‘The Sound Of ‘65’ (1965) released in March; ‘There’s A Bond Between Us’ (1965); and ‘Live At Klooks Kleek’ (1968) – capturing a 1964 gig by the band. ‘The group is plagued with problems because of substance abuse and Baker’s ongoing feud with Bruce.’ Baker and Bruce, once like brothers, are now ‘known for their hostility towards each other.’ What brings about this feud? The nearest explanation can be found in these words from Jack Bruce: “I was experimenting, trying to take the bass in a melodic direction. Ginger thought the bass should be in the background going plunky-plunk.” Graham Bond deputises Ginger Baker to fire Jack Bruce in August 1965. For a while, Jack Bruce continues to turn up at the band’s gigs…until Ginger Baker ‘threatens him at knifepoint.’
In 1963 Jack Bruce dates Janet Godfrey. She becomes the secretary of the fan club for The Graham Bond Organisation. Jack Bruce and Janet Godfrey marry on 26 September 1964 at the Hampstead Registry Office. Jack and Janet have two sons: Jonas (Jo) (1969-8 October 1997) and Malcolm. (Jonas’ death in 1997 is due to a severe asthma attack. He was 28 years old.)
After leaving The Graham Bond Organisation, Jack Bruce puts out a solo single, ‘I’m Getting’ Tired’. Then Bruce fills in for bassist John McVie in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers (August 1965-November 1965). In this group, Jack Bruce works with guitarist Eric Clapton for the first time. The next stop for Jack Bruce is the British pop group Manfred Mann (November 1965-July 1966). The line-up of Manfred Mann in that period is: Paul Jones (vocals, harmonica), Tom McGuinness (guitar), Manfred Mann (keyboards), Jack Bruce (bass) and Mike Hugg (drums). During Jack Bruce’s tenure with Manfred Mann, he appears with them on the following recordings: the album ‘Mann Made’ (1965) in October; the single ‘Pretty Flamingo’ (UK no. 1, US no. 29) that tops the U.K. charts for two weeks, 14 May 1966 to 21 May 1966; and the June 1966 EP ‘Instrumental Asylum’ that has instrumental versions of recent hits by The Yardbirds, The Who, The Rolling Stones and Sonny And Cher. While still with Manfred Mann, Jack Bruce takes time out in March 1966 to record three songs with Eric Clapton’s Powerhouse that show up on the various artists album ‘What’s Shakin’’ (1966), released in June.
Ginger Baker is born Peter Edward Baker on 19 August 1939 in Lewisham, South London, England. He is nicknamed Ginger because of his bright orange hair. Ginger Baker is the son of Frederick Louvan Formidable Baker and Ruby Baker. Ginger also has a younger sister. Fred Baker is a bricklayer. Ruby Baker works in a tobacco shop. Fred Baker joins the military forces in World War Two. He becomes a Lance Corporal in the Royal Corps of Signals. Fred Baker dies in 1943 during the Allies’ Dodecanese campaign (on islands near Italy).
Ginger Baker’s musical career does not begin with the drums. As a teenager, he plays trumpet for the local Air Force Cadets band. Ginger Baker begins playing drums when he is 15. That is his last year at school. In the same year, Ginger also displays some athletic ability. He takes up cycling and wins some medals. On leaving school, the 15 year old lad works as a sign-writer. Ginger goes on to work in the studio of an advertising agency.
However, it is music that proves to be Ginger Baker’s calling. He ‘moves out to Ladbroke Grove and nearly starves to death’ while pursuing his goals. The first bands to employ Ginger Baker are not rock ‘n’ roll bands; they are traditional jazz bands. “I’d rather play jazz. I hate rock ‘n’ roll,” Baker maintains. Ginger Baker starts with The Storyville Jazz Band. The album ‘Storyville Revisited’ (1958) is co-credited to The Storyville Jazz Band and The Hugh Rainey Allstars. Baker then joins the group backing clarinet player Acker Bilk, The Paramount Jazz Band, and appears on Acker Bilk’s 1957 recording ‘Trouble In Mind’. Ginger Baker goes on to work in 1957 with Terry Lightfoot, another clarinet player with a traditional jazz group. He appears on the album ‘Tradition In Colour’ (1958), credited to Terry Lightfoot And His Band. In early 1958, Baker joins the band of guitarist Diz Disley and plays in Germany and Denmark. The visiting British musicians are a wild bunch. They are turned out of eight hotels and set fire to one such establishment before returning to the U.K.
On 17 February 1959, 19 year old Ginger Baker marries 20 year old Liz Finch. Ginger and Liz go on to have three children: a daughter named Jinette (‘Nettie’) (born on 20 December 1960); a daughter named Leda (born on 20 February 1968); and a son named Kofi (born in March 1969).
Ginger Baker works in a factory for three months, playing gigs in his spare time. He joins a local Irish band. In the early 1960s, Ginger seeks to improve his skills by taking drum lessons from Phil Seaman. When bassist Jack Bruce comes to London in 1962, he first sees Ginger Baker playing drums for The Bert Courtley Sextet. Bruce and Baker become friends. Jack Bruce joins Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated in April 1962. When that band’s drummer, Charlie Watts, leaves in January 1963 to join The Rolling Stones, Ginger Baker takes over the role. While with Blues Incorporated, Jack Bruce notes that Ginger “was using a lot of dope at the time.” Baker himself admits that, “The interval was when I would go and have my fix.” ‘Alexis Korner And Friends’ (1960) includes both bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker.
The Graham Bond Organisation (January 1963-August 1965) includes Jack Bruce (bass) and Ginger Baker (drums). This group issues three albums: ‘The Sound Of ‘65’ (1965) in March; ‘There’s A Bond Between Us’ (1965); and ‘Live at Klooks Kleek’ (1968). (The last of those three discs was recorded live in 1964.) The relationship between Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker deteriorates during this time. Baker is deputised by Graham Bond to dismiss Jack Bruce in August 1965. The Graham Bond Organisation soldiers on without Jack Bruce. When Ginger Baker leaves to take part in the creation of Cream in July 1966, Graham Bond continues without him too.
In April 1966 Ginger Baker sits in with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. Ginger is ‘feeling stifled’ in The Graham Bond Organisation and is ‘tired of Graham Bond’s drug addictions and mental instability.’ Eric Clapton, guitarist with The Bluesbreakers, is also restless. Clapton says, “I had always liked Ginger. 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.” Clapton’s idea is to form a blues trio. However, with Clapton on guitar and Baker on drums, they still need a bassist. “I suggested Jack [Bruce],” explains Clapton. “He [Ginger Baker] said, ‘No, what did you have to go and mention him for?’ I said, ‘Because I just played with him [in Powerhouse in March 1966 – though Clapton and Bruce had previously worked together in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers from August 1965 to November 1965] and he’s a great bass player and you guys played together with Graham Bond and Alexis [Korner], so I thought you’d be pleased.’ And he said, ‘No, we don’t get on very well at all.’ So I withdrew at that point. Then I said I would only go in with Ginger if he would go in with Jack. So he had to say okay.” Jack Bruce is contacted and he and Ginger agree to set aside their differences for the good of the new trio.
Ginger Baker offers an alternate view of the origins of Cream. Baker claims, “At the start, Cream was mine. I took a drop in salary to start Cream, whereas Jack [Bruce] and Eric [Clapton] took a step up. Cream was always my baby.”
At first, the three musicians consider calling their new band Sweet ‘N’ Sour Rock ‘N’ Roll. However, they instead opt for Cream because each of them is considered the ‘cream of the crop’ on their respective instruments. The group also gains a manager in the person of Australian-born Robert Stigwood.
Guitarist Eric Clapton envisions Cream to be a blues trio, “like Buddy Guy with a rhythm section.” This would involve the guitarist (and vocalist) being the frontman and dominant force in the group. “I’d seen myself as the front guy with Cream. But when we got there, the reality was that Jack [Bruce] was easily the best equipped for that role,” Clapton confesses. “Once I stepped into the reality of trying to realise my musical vision with Cream, it just disappeared. On the first day of rehearsal with Jack [Bruce] and Ginger [Baker], it was obvious to me that I didn’t have what it took [to be so dominant].” Additionally, Clapton’s idea of Cream being a pure blues group ‘goes out the window’ when Jack Bruce brings songs he has written to the group’s first rehearsal.
Cream makes their unofficial debut on 29 July 1966 at a Manchester nightclub called The Twisted Wheel. Their official debut follows on 31 July 1966 at The Sixth Annual Windsor Jazz & Blues Festival.
In October 1966 Eric Clapton jams with Jimi Hendrix. An African-American guitarist, Hendrix has recently based himself in the U.K. and is in the process of making a name for himself with his own trio, The Jimi Hendrix Experience. In many ways, Hendrix and his sidemen embody what Eric Clapton had hoped to do with Cream. Without suggesting that Hendrix’s colleagues are inferior to Clapton’s, the charismatic Hendrix is very much the centre of attention as vocalist, guitarist, songwriter and frontman. “He definitely pulled the rug out from under Cream,” says a chagrined Clapton.
Cream prepare for their first music to be released.
Cream is usually described as a blues rock band. This is consistent with guitarist Eric Clapton’s original idea for the group. However Cream also mutates to encompass other styles. Although blues music is beloved by a core audience of devotees, it rarely achieves widespread commercial success. Cream demonstrates an ability to score success with some pop songs that are more melodic. Clapton acknowledges that was “totally through [bassist] Jack [Bruce].” Cream also develops some proficiency with psychedelic music. These are songs that simulate the experience of taking mind-expanding drugs. Typically, psychedelic songs have whimsical lyrics like twisted nursery rhymes while the musical backing features unusual instruments and/or sounds that have been heavily altered with the technology of the recording studio. Coming full circle, Cream’s blues rock advances through extreme volume beyond their role models into something that might be termed acid rock (as in LSD – or ‘acid’ – for the psychedelic elements), hard rock or even heavy metal. Drummer Ginger Baker grumbles, “They credited us with the birth of that sort of heavy metal thing. Well if that’s the call, there should be an immediate abortion.”
All the members of Cream contribute to the songwriting but the largest number of original songs in their repertoire is co-credited to bassist Jack Bruce and Pete Brown. The latter, in Jack Bruce’s words, “was a kind of beat poet.” Pete Brown promoted free verse and jazz in London in the early 1960s. “I think the first time I met him, he was living in a cupboard in North London,” Bruce says of Brown’s small and dingy living quarters. True to their original mission statement, Cream also records a number of cover versions of old blues songs.
In practice, bassist Jack Bruce provides most of the lead vocals for Cream. This is partly because guitarist Eric Clapton is still a bit shy about his singing, but he gets more comfortable with it as time passes and contributes more lead vocals. Drummer Ginger Baker gets a vocal spotlight too, but very rarely. All three members of Cream are lauded for their playing. Jack Bruce is described as a ‘bass virtuoso’ who is ‘idiosyncratic yet highly creative.’ Eric Clapton is ‘widely regarded as the guitar hero’ and ‘one of the greatest guitarists in rock.’ Drummer Ginger Baker is a man with ‘unique talents’, pounding out ‘thunderous rhythms on his elaborate double bass-drum kit.’ As may be expected of a group willing to accord themselves the title of Cream (‘of the crop’ of musicians), there is no shortage of ego around the members. When asked to name the best electric bassists of all time, Jack Bruce counts off, “James Jamerson [who plays on many Motown records], Paul McCartney [of The Beatles], Jaco Pastorius [of 1970s jazz-rockers Weather Report], me.” When asked about the slogan ‘Clapton is God’, the guitarist says, “I thought it was quite justified to be honest with you…I suppose I felt I deserved it for the amount of seriousness that I’d put into it.” Finally, drummer Ginger Baker muses, “I’ve always had an ego about my playing…I’m not an easy person to get on with.”
The debut single by Cream is ‘Wrapping Paper’ (UK no. 34). It is released in October 1966. Whatever anyone had been expecting, it wasn’t this. An oddball sing-a-long, like a 1920s barbershop quartet – accompanied by piano trills – it is something Cream never attempts again. ‘Wrapping Paper’ is co-written by bassist Jack Bruce and his songwriting partner, the beat poet Pete Brown. Drummer Ginger Baker says, “’Wrapping Paper’ is the most appalling piece of s*** I’ve ever heard in my life. I was totally against it, right from the start…[Guitarist] Eric [Clapton] and I didn’t like it.” Clapton says that ’Wrapping Paper’ “sounded nothing like Cream. That was Jack [Bruce] again.”
After that false start, in December 1966 Cream try again with their second single, ‘I Feel Free’ (UK no. 11, US no. 116, AUS no. 53). Although this starts with some free-form vocalisation, there is then a sound like a jet engine backfiring and Cream launch forward. Again co-written by Jack Bruce and Pete Brown, this time an attractive melody is welded to high volume rock. Guitarist Eric Clapton’s solo sounds like an over-inflated balloon. It’s exciting and different, yet very much of the times.
The debut album, ‘Fresh Cream’ (1966) (UK no. 6, US no. 39, AUS no. 10), is released on 9 December. In the U.K., it is issued by Reaction (a label owned by Cream’s manager, Robert Stigwood), while in the U.S. it comes out on the Atco label (a subsidiary of Atlantic Records). ‘Fresh Cream’ is produced by Robert Stigwood – though he’d never produced a record before. Neither of Cream’s first two singles – ‘Wrapping Paper’ and ‘I Feel Free’ – is included on this album. The opening track ‘N.S.U.’ is composed by bassist Jack Bruce alone. Its hold-and-release tension on the verses (“Driving in my car, smoking my cigar / The only time I’m happy’s when I play my guitar”) gives way to gusts of chorus. Jack Bruce reveals he wrote the song for Cream’s first rehearsal. “It was like an early punk song,” he says. “The title meant Non-Specific Urethritis [pain on passing urine, sometimes accompanied by a cloudy discharge]. It didn’t mean an NSU Quickly – which was one of those little 1960s mopeds. I used to say it was about a member of the band who had this venereal disease. I can’t tell you which one…except he played guitar.” ‘Sleepy Time Time’ is co-written by Jack Bruce and his wife, Janet Godfrey. She also co-writes ‘Sweet Wine’ – but on that song, she joins forces with drummer Ginger Baker. Jack Bruce explains: “Ginger and [lyricist] Pete [Brown] were at my flat trying to work on a song but it wasn’t happening. My wife Janet got with Ginger and they wrote ‘Sweet Wine’ while I started writing with Pete.” ‘Sweet Wine’ rolls in on burnished waves, its lyrics like a kind of poetic chant. Ginger Baker is also credited with the lengthy (5:09) instrumental closing track ‘Toad’ which is a showcase for his drumming. ‘Fresh Cream’ is the most blues-oriented of the group’s albums. It contains a brace of cover versions of blues songs. ‘Spoonful’ (written by Willie Dixon – another bassist/composer like Jack Bruce) was first recorded by Howlin’ Wolf in 1960; ‘Four Until Late’ (with a lead vocal by guitarist Eric Clapton) is a Robert Johnson song from 1937; ‘Rollin’ And Tumblin’’ was originally recorded in 1929 by Hambone Willie Newbern, but is probably better known from Muddy Waters’ 1950 interpretation; and ‘I’m So Glad’ (with the vocals shared by Clapton and Bruce) is a Skip James song from 1931. ‘Fresh Cream’ is an ‘inspired pop spin on the blues.’
An oddity from this era is Cream’s recording of ‘The Coffee Song’. Co-written by Tony Colson and Ray Smith, ‘The Coffee Song’ is “a story / A kind of fable” about a romantic meeting at a café. It has dreamy, twining guitars and pulsing bass runs. ‘The Coffee Song’ is only on the Swedish edition of ‘Fresh Cream’, but turns up occasionally on latter day Cream compilations.
“In 1966 it was great,” says drummer Ginger Baker of Cream’s early days. “It was a wonderful experience musically.”
Unlike some of their peers on the British rock scene, Cream always has an eye on achieving success in the United States as well. However, their first U.S. shows are fairly humble. Cream plays nine dates at the Brooklyn Fox Theater beginning on 25 March 1967. This ‘Easter Rock & Roll Extravaganza’ is organised by U.S. disc jockey Murray the K. Cream is stuck at the bottom of the six acts on the bill. Fellow British rock band The Who also makes their U.S. debut with these shows and is similarly ‘low-billed.’ Cream’s first headlining dates in the U.S. are at The Fillmore in San Francisco in August 1967. In their live show, Cream often stretches out the numbers, showing off their individual musical dexterity.
Cream’s second album, ‘Disraeli Gears’ (1967) (UK no. 5, US no. 4, AUS no. 1), is released on 2 November. This album is recorded at Atlantic Studios in New York City with producer Felix Pappalardi and engineer Tom Dowd, the duo who will oversee Cream’s next album as well. ‘Disraeli Gears’ is recorded in three-and-a-half days in May 1967. The hasty pace is necessitated by the group’s need to get the job done before their visas to visit the U.S. expire. A chauffeur whisks them away to the airport on the last day of recording. The psychedelic album cover for ‘Disraeli Gears’ is the work of Australian artist Martin Sharp. He lives in the same building as guitarist Eric Clapton, ‘The Pheasantry’ in Chelsea. Sharp takes a publicity picture of Cream snapped by Bob Whittaker and turns it into an elaborate freak-out of bright colours and riotous details. Drummer Ginger Baker asks, “You know how the title came about – ‘Disraeli Gears’ – yeah? We had this Austin Westminster [a saloon car] and Mick Turner was one of the roadies who’d been with me for a long time, and he was driving along and Eric [Clapton] was talking about getting a racing bicycle. Mick, driving, went, ‘Oh yeah – Disraeli gears!’ meaning derailleur gears [the kind of gear system for a racing bike]…We all just fell over…We said, ‘That’s got to be the album title!’” Benjamin Disraeli was the Prime Minister of Britain from 1874 to 1880. ‘Disraeli Gears’ finds Cream ‘veering away…from their blues roots and indulging in more psychedelic sounds.’ Eric Clapton says that psychedelic drugs “very heavily” influenced Cream. Ginger Baker was one of the rock stars named by British newspaper ‘News of the World’ on 5 February 1967 in an expose of the use of LSD in the music world. Jack Bruce is no stranger to pharmaceuticals either, later admitting, “I had a tussle with hard drugs.” The first single from ‘Disraeli Gears’ was ‘Strange Brew’ (UK no. 17, AUS no. 23) (released earlier in June 1967). Cream had previously recorded a cover version of Buddy Moss’ twelve-bar blues from 1937 ‘Hey Lawdy Mama’ under the title of ‘Lawdy Mama’. (Cream’s version turns up on some latter day compilation albums.) The song was made more famous in 1965 by Junior Wells with Buddy Guy on guitar. ‘Lawdy Mama’ is reworked into ‘Strange Brew’ by guitarist Eric Clapton, producer Felix Pappalardi and Gail Collins (Pappalardi’s wife) and this trio shares the songwriting credit. Eric Clapton provides the lead vocal on ‘Strange Brew’. It’s an oddly slinky piece, a departure from past efforts. The B side of ‘Strange Brew’ was ‘Tales Of Brave Ulysses’ and both songs are on this album. ‘Tales Of Brave Ulysses’ is co-written by Eric Clapton and artist Martin Sharp. This musically illustrated slice of Greek mythology includes Clapton’s first use of the wah-wah pedal, a distorted pseudo-voice for the guitar. The music undulates like a lava lamp. The second single (issued in January 1968) from ‘Disraeli Gears’ is also the best individual song in the group’s catalogue: ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’ (UK no. 25, US no. 5, AUS no. 18). The song is co-written by Jack Bruce, Eric Clapton and Pete Brown. Bruce and Clapton share lead vocals, swapping lines back and forth: [Jack Bruce] “It’s getting near dawn / When lights close their tired eyes” / [Eric Clapton] “I’ll soon be with you my love / To give you my dawn surprise” / [JB] “I’ll be with you darling soon / I’ll be with you when the stars start falling / I’ve been waiting so long” / [both] “To be where I’m going / In the sunshine of your love.” All this ties in nicely with the vibe of the time, the psychedelic, summer of love, flower children. Mind you, since this is Cream, it is delivered with sledgehammer force. ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’ is considered ‘a landmark in the emergence of the heavy-rock riff.’ It nearly doesn’t make it onto ‘Disraeli Gears’ because ‘the band has trouble nailing it.’ Recording ‘engineer Tom Dowd suggests that [drummer Ginger] Baker try a Native American tribal beat, an adjustment that locks the song into place.’ Eric Clapton recalls that the inspiration for ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’ was actually his fellow guitar hero Jimi Hendrix. “He [Hendrix] played this gig that was blinding [on 29 January 1967 at the Saville Theatre in London]. I don’t think Jack [Bruce] had really taken him in before…and when he did see it that night, after the gig he went home and came up with the riff. It was strictly a dedication to Jimi. And then we wrote a song on top of it.” ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’ encapsulates the best qualities of Cream, the power, the melody and the instrumental prowess. Also present on ‘Disraeli Gears’ is ‘SWLABR’, the B side of the ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’ single. ‘SWLABR’ stands for ‘She Walks Like A Bearded Rainbow’…even if the lyrics just say, “But the rainbow has a beard.” ‘SWLABR’ is co-written by Jack Bruce and Pete Brown and has a bizarre psychedelic sparkle. This disc also includes Jack Bruce’s mournful solo composition ‘We’re Going Wrong’. ‘Disraeli Gears’ is Cream’s best album. Besides containing their best song (‘Sunshine Of Your Love’), the album as a whole seems to be in tune with 1967’s zeitgeist. It is on ‘Disraeli Gears’ that Cream ‘truly find their voice.’ It is the album that ‘makes them superstars.’ Eric Clapton describes ‘Disraeli Gears’ as ‘an incredibly good album.’
From 1968 to 1973 Cream’s guitarist Eric Clapton dates socialite Alice Ormsby-Gore, the daughter of a British ambassador. Eric and Alice become engaged on 7 September 1969, but they never marry as the relationship falls apart.
As early as February 1968, rumours circulate that Cream is planning to split-up. ‘The sparks that had given Cream their mercurial quality and inspiration are now destroying the group as their increasingly fractured personalities clash under the suffocating conditions of endless touring.’
‘Anyone For Tennis’ (UK no. 40, US no. 64, AUS no. 64) is a winningly eccentric single from Cream released in May 1968. Co-written by guitarist Eric Clapton and artist Martin Sharp, this piece of whimsy merges acoustic guitar, bongos, flute and violin. “You can tell that all they’re saying underneath the pretty lies / Is anyone for tennis, wouldn’t that be nice?” croons Clapton. ‘Anyone For Tennis’ is not included on the next Cream album; it is given away to the soundtrack of ‘The Savage Seven’ (1968), a movie about motorcyclists.
Cream’s third album, ‘Wheels Of Fire’ (1968) (UK no. 3, US no. 1, AUS no. 1), is released in July. In the U.K., it is the first Cream album on the Polydor label (since Reaction is now apparently defunct). ‘Wheels Of Fire’ is assembled over roughly a year from mid-1967 to mid-1968. Work begins at IBC Studios in London and is polished at Atlantic Studios in New York with Felix Pappalardi and Tom Dowd. Martin Sharp is again responsible for the illustration on the album cover. ‘Wheels Of Fire’ is a double album. The first disc is recorded in the studio; the second disc is recorded live in concert. The contents are divided between the individual members of Cream, indicating a less cohesive approach. Bassist Jack Bruce co-writes four songs with Pete Brown. These include the September 1968 single ‘White Room’ (UK no. 28, US no. 6, AUS no. 1). After a dramatic intro, the band locks into a solid groove about an assignation in a “White room / With black curtains.” Their ‘Politician’ invites us into his “Big black car / I want to show you what my politics are.” They also offer the fantastical landscape of ‘Deserted Cities Of The Heart’. Rounding out the Bruce and Brown quartet is ‘As You Said’. Drummer Ginger Baker co-writes three songs with pianist and avant-garde jazz musician Mike Taylor. ‘Those Were The Days’ (sung by Jack Bruce) offers grandiose nostalgia for some magic-land of pre-history. ‘Those Were The Days’ is the B side of the ‘White Room’ single. ‘Pressed Rat And Warthog’ is a spoken word piece. Over a background of medieval horns, Ginger Baker intones a trippy sort of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ account of how the title duo sells “Atonal apples and amplified heat / And Pressed Rat’s collection of dog legs and feet.” The third of Baker and Taylor’s contributions is ‘Passing The Time’ (sung by Jack Bruce). Guitarist Eric Clapton sticks to the original game plan, bringing in two cover versions of blues songs. ‘Sitting On Top Of The World’ was first recorded by The Mississippi Sheiks in 1930 but Howlin’ Wolf’s 1957 rendition is better known. ‘Born Under A Bad Sign’ was recorded by Albert King in 1967 (though it is written by soul music artists Booker T. Jones [of Booker T. And The MG’s] and William Bell). Both of these covers are sung by Jack Bruce. The live disc contains only four songs. Three of them are recorded at Winterland, San Francisco: ‘Crossroads’, ‘Spoonful’ and ‘Traintime’ (the first two on 10 March 1968 and the Jack Bruce original ‘Traintime’ on 8 March 1968). ‘Toad’ is recorded at The Fillmore in San Francisco on 7 March 1968. The reason there is only four songs on the disc is that they are quite lengthy, particularly ‘Spoonful’ (16:43) and ‘Toad’ (16:15). Producer Felix Pappalardi chose ‘Traintime’ for Jack Bruce’s harmonica playing, ‘Toad’ for Ginger Baker’s drumming and ‘Crossroads’ and ‘Spoonful’ for Eric Clapton’s guitarwork. ‘Crossroads’ (US no. 28, AUS no. 45) is a cover version of a 1937 song by bluesman Robert Johnson. The lyrics chronicle the legend of how Johnson supposedly sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads in exchange for his supernal ability on the guitar. Eric Clapton, who also sings this version, certainly plays as though demonic forces are coursing through him. Clapton first recorded ‘Crossroads’ with Powerhouse in 1966 – though Steve Winwood was the vocalist on that version. For those who have tried to decipher what is said at the end of Cream’s version of ‘Crossroads’, here is a transcript. Jack Bruce directs the applauding audience to, “Eric Clapton, please.” At the same moment, Clapton says, “Thank you.” Realising he has spoken over Bruce, Clapton adds, “Kerfuffle” – a British expression indicating an error, a mess. ‘Wheels Of Fire’ is ‘more erratic than “Disraeli Gears”’ but is still very successful.
On 10 July 1968, around the same time as the release of ‘Wheels Of Fire’, guitarist Eric Clapton announces that Cream is breaking up due to “a loss of direction.” Years later, Clapton expands on his reasons for dissolving Cream: “Well, the workload was pretty severe…Half my time was spent trying to keep the peace.” The long-running feud between bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker has reignited. Baker says of Bruce, “Becoming a popular singer went to his head a bit. He started shouting at people on stage, in particular me.” The embattled Clapton says, “I was calling home to Robert Stigwood, our manager, and saying, ‘Get me out of here – these guys are crazy. I don’t know what’s going on and I’ve had enough.’” Baker adds, “It just went into the realm of stupidity…The last year with Cream was just agony. It damaged my hearing permanently…because of the sheer volume.”
On 13 July 1968 Cream’s manager Robert Stigwood confirms Cream is winding up, but they will undertake a “farewell tour.” This begins in Oakland, California, on 4 October 1968 and winds up on 4 November 1968 at the Rhode Island Auditorium. In their last U.S. show, Cream plays only two songs, Ginger Baker’s drum showcase ‘Toad’ and a twenty minute version of ‘Spoonful’. Cream returns to their native England to bow out with two shows at The Royal Albert Hall in London on 25 and 26 November 1968. “God save the Cream,” chants the crowd. The final London show is filmed for Tony Palmer’s documentary ‘Goodbye Cream’. The film opens on 20 February 1969 in Baltimore ‘to small crowds and very negative critical response because of poor sound quality and incomprehensibly “arty” editing.’ A week later, in New York, the documentary is described as ‘a real bomb.’
‘Goodbye’ (1969) (UK no. 1, US no. 2, AUS no. 6) is Cream’s final album. The cover photo of the band in silvery formal wear doing a showbiz step together is taken by Roger Phillips and the design is by Alan Eldridge Ink Studios. ‘Goodbye’ was going to be a double album like ‘Wheels Of Fire’ with one studio disc and one live disc. However due to ‘a lack of quality material on hand,’ it becomes a single disc with three songs recorded live and three songs recorded in the studio. The three live songs – ‘I’m So Glad’, ‘Politician’ and ‘Sitting On Top Of The World’ – were recorded at The Forum in Los Angeles on 19 October 1968. Felix Pappalardi produces the studio recordings at London’s IBC Studios with Damon Lyon-Shaw acting as engineer. The best of these songs is ‘Badge’ (UK no. 18, US no. 60, AUS no. 43). It is sung by Eric Clapton who co-writes the song with George Harrison of The Beatles. Clapton first met The Beatles when Clapton was in The Yardbirds. The two bands were on the same bill for a performance at the London Palladium. Clapton remains friends with all four of The Beatles, but is probably closest to George Harrison. Clapton played guitar (uncredited) on Harrison’s composition ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’, a track on the double album ‘The Beatles’ (1968) (a.k.a. ‘The White Album’), released on 22 November. Clapton appeared with another of The Beatles, John Lennon, on 12 December 1968 for The Rolling Stones’ ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Circus.’ Intended for television broadcast, this show is shelved for decades, not getting a formal release until is it issued for home video in 1996. George Harrison plays rhythm guitar on ‘Badge’ under the alias of L’Angelo Mysterioso (for contractual reasons). The title comes from Clapton’s misreading of Harrison’s notation of ‘bridge’ on the music sheet and thinking ‘Badge’ is the intended name of the song. Of course the title has nothing to do with the lyrics which are little rhymes about “our kid” (a Liverpudlian expression for a young friend, doubtlessly from Harrison), “a girl who looks just like you” and “the swans that they live in the park.” The tight, pop authority of ‘Badge’ seems to stem from Harrison while the more expansive mid-section seems to be mainly Clapton’s work. ‘Badge’ is ‘one of Cream’s most beloved tracks.’ The remaining studio recordings are ‘Doing That Scrapyard Thing’ (written by bassist Jack Bruce and Pete Brown with Bruce on lead vocals) and ‘What A Bringdown’ (written by drummer Ginger Baker with Bruce and Clapton sharing lead vocals).
In 1968 Eric Clapton was very impressed by the debut album by The Band, the former backing group of folk rock icon Bob Dylan. Clapton was tired of the high volume, extravagant musical set pieces that seemed to have become standard practice for Cream. Possibly the weight of expectation associated with his reputation as a great guitar player was also troubling him. The Band’s down-home, whole-grain brand of Americana – with guitarist Robbie Robertson mixed back as part of a larger ensemble – appealed to Clapton. He thinks that, under different circumstances, he could have taken Cream along a similar path. “I was absolutely certain that if we’d engaged the assistance of Steve Winwood we could have gone in that direction,” says Clapton, “but done in a very English way.” Clapton and Winwood had already worked together in Powerhouse in March 1966. More recently, with Traffic, Steve Winwood has, indeed, played a kind of communal, arty, English folk rock.
Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood and Cream’s former drummer Ginger Baker go on to form Blind Faith (February 1969-January 1970). Rounding out the band is bassist Rick Grech. Blind Faith sound even less like The Band than Cream sounded like a blues trio, but that doesn’t mean they lack appeal. They record one album, ‘Blind Faith’ (1969) (UK no. 1, US no. 1, AUS no. 2), before disintegrating after ‘major rows.’
Former Cream guitarist Eric Clapton takes time out from Blind Faith to back John Lennon (of The Beatles) in the Rock ‘N’ Roll Revival Concert on 13 September 1969 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This is documented on Lennon’s album ‘Live Peace In Toronto’ (1969) (US no. 10). Clapton then teams up with U.S. blue-eyed soul act Delaney And Bonnie. This period is represented by ‘On Tour With Eric Clapton’ (1970) (UK no. 39, US no. 29). The guitarist makes his first solo album, ‘Eric Clapton’ (1970) (UK no. 14, US no. 13, AUS no. 7), before forming a new band, Derek And The Dominos (May 1970-April 1971). The line-up of this group is: Eric Clapton (vocals, guitar), Bobby Whitlock (keyboards, vocals), Carl Radle (bass) and Jim Gordon (drums). Guitarist Duanne Allman (of U.S. southern rockers The Allman Brothers) also makes a significant contribution to the Derek And The Dominos album ‘Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs’ (1970) (US no. 16, AUS no. 33). The only other album by this band is the live recording ‘In Concert’ (1973) (UK no. 36, US no. 20, AUS no. 37), which comes out after they have disbanded. Three compilation albums – ‘The History Of Eric Clapton’ (1972) (UK no. 20, US no. 6), ‘Eric Clapton At His Best’ (1972) (US no. 87) and ‘Clapton’ (1973) (US no. 6) – are released. Following a live album of his own, ‘Eric Clapton’s Rainbow Concert’ (1973) (UK no. 19, US no. 18, AUS no. 51), the guitarist begins his solo career in earnest. Eric Clapton goes on to release the following albums: ‘461 Ocean Boulevard’ (1974) (UK no. 3, US no. 1, AUS no. 2); ‘There’s One In Every Crowd’ (1975) (UK no. 15, US no. 21); the live album ‘E.C. Was Here’ (1975) (UK no. 14, US no. 20, AUS no. 24); ‘No Reason To Cry’ (1976) (UK no. 8, US no. 15); ‘Slowhand’ (1977) (UK no. 23, US no. 2); ‘Backless’ (1978) (UK no. 18, US no. 8); the live album ‘Just One Night’ (1980) (UK no. 3, US no. 2, AUS no. 22); ‘Another Ticket’ (1981) (UK no. 18, US no. 7); the compilation album ‘Timepieces: The Best Of Eric Clapton’ (1982) (UK no. 20, US no. 101, AUS no. 28) and its concert-recording cousin ‘Timepieces: Live In The Seventies’ (1983); ‘Money And Cigarettes’ (1983) (UK no. 13, US no. 16); the compilation ‘Backtrackin’’ (1984) (UK no. 29); ‘Behind The Sun’ (1985) (UK no. 8, US no. 34); ‘August’ (1986) (UK no. 3, US no. 2, AUS no. 22); ‘The Cream Of Eric Clapton’ (1987) (UK no. 3, AUS no. 12) has tracks from Cream, Derek And The Dominos and Clapton’s solo career; the four disc box set ‘Crossroads’ (1988) (US no. 34, AUS no. 68) adds selections from The Yardbirds, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Blind Faith and Delaney And Bonnie as well; ‘Journeyman’ (1989) (UK no. 2, US no. 16, AUS no. 27); the live album ’24 Nights’ (1991) (UK no. 17, US no. 38, AUS no. 49); and an acoustic live album ‘Unplugged’ (1992) (UK no. 2, US no. 1, AUS no. 1). During these years, some of Eric Clapton’s more commercially successful singles are: 1970’s ‘Layla’ (US no. 51) by Derek And The Dominos [which actually becomes a bigger hit in 1972 (UK no. 7, US no. 10) and 1982 (UK no. 4)]; 1974’s ‘I Shot The Sheriff’ (UK no. 9, US no. 1, AUS no. 11) [a cover version of a 1973 Bob Marley reggae song]; 1977’s ‘Lay Down Sally’ (UK no. 34, US no. 3, AUS no. 57); 1978’s ‘Promises’ (UK no. 37, US no. 9, AUS no. 26); 1981’s ‘I Can’t Stand It’ (US no. 10); and 1992’s ‘Tears In Heaven’ (UK no. 5, US no. 2, AUS no. 3).
In 1970 Eric Clapton has an affair with Pattie Boyd, the wife of his friend George Harrison. She elects to return to George. A miserable Clapton begins shooting heroin. ‘Layla’ is written about Clapton’s thwarted love for Pattie Boyd. Clapton eventually overcomes his heroin addiction after treatment by an electro-acupuncture therapist in London in 1973-1974. In 1974 Eric Clapton is romantically linked with Californian model Catherine James, but his attention soon shifts elsewhere. The marriage of George Harrison and Pattie Boyd breaks down in 1974, though they don’t officially divorce until 1977. Pattie returns to Eric Clapton in 1974. Although free of heroin, Clapton begins to have problems with alcohol dependence around this time. Once her divorce is official in 1977, Pattie Boyd weds Eric Clapton on 27 March 1979. Remarkably, the friendship between Eric Clapton and George Harrison endures through all these upheavals. In January 1982 Eric Clapton checks in to the Hazeldean Treatment Center in St Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A. to address his alcoholism. In 1984, while making ‘Behind The Sun’ on the Caribbean island of Montserrat, Eric Clapton has an affair with Yvonne Kelly, the manager of the recording studio, who – like Clapton – is married to someone else at the time. This affair results in the birth of Eric Clapton’s first child, a daughter named Ruth (born in January 1985). Consequently, Eric Clapton and his wife, Pattie Boyd, separate in 1985. Clapton dates Davina McCall in 1985, a woman who later becomes a U.K. television presenter. From 1985 to 1988 Eric Clapton has a relationship with Italian actress, model and television celebrity Lory Del Santo. Eric and Lory have a son, Conor (21 August 1986-20 March 1991). In 1987 Eric Clapton has another stint in rehab to deal with his recurring alcoholism. After several years of separation, Eric Clapton and Pattie Boyd officially divorce in 1988. In 1991 Eric Clapton dates Italian actress Valeria Golino. On 20 March 1991, Clapton’s son Conor, by his former partner Lory Del Santo, dies in a tragic accident when the child falls from the window of a high-rise apartment building. Eric Clapton’s song ‘Tears In Heaven’ is partly a way of dealing with his grief over Conor’s death.
Former Cream bassist Jack Bruce releases the solo album ‘Songs For A Tailor’ (1969) (UK no. 6, US no. 55). In October 1970 Jack Bruce performs with the jazz-rock fusion group Lifetime alongside John McLaughlin (guitar), Larry Young (keyboards) and Tony Williams (drums). He also appears on their album ‘Turn It Over’ (1970). Jack Bruce’s solo career resumes with ‘Things We Like’ (1970) [recorded in August 1968]. This is followed by ‘Harmony Row’ (1971). ‘At His Best’ (1972) is a two disc retrospective. West, Bruce & Laing is a Cream-like trio matching Jack Bruce with Leslie West (guitar) and Corky Laing (drums), two members of U.S. band Mountain. West, Bruce & Laing issue three albums – ‘Why Dontcha’ (1972) (US no. 26), ‘Whatever Turns You On’ (1973) (US no. 87) and ‘Live ‘N’ Kickin’’ (1974) (US no. 165) – before parting ways. Returning to solo mode, Jack Bruce releases ‘Out Of The Storm’ (1974) and ‘How’s Tricks’ (1977) (US no. 153). ‘Jet Set Jewel’ (2003) is recorded in late 1978 but not issued until years later. ‘I’ve Always Wanted To Do This’ (1980) is a studio recording while ‘Doing This…On Ice!’ (1980) is a live album. Jack Bruce works with guitarist Robin Trower on ‘B.L.T.’ (1987) (with Bill Lourdan on drums) and ‘Truce’ (1982) (with Reg Isidore on drums). ‘Automatic’ (1983) is a Jack Bruce solo album. Following this is a lengthy break before ‘A Question Of Time’ (1989). ‘Willpower: A Twenty Year Retrospective’ (1989) is a compilation album.
Jack Bruce’s marriage to Janet Godfrey comes to an end. He is married to his second wife, Rosie Miller, from 1977 to 1978. By 1979, Jack Bruce’s ‘drug habit has reached such a level that he has lost most of his money.’ After a show in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1979, Jack Bruce meets Margrit Seyffer at a local disco. She comes from ‘a well-to-do family that runs a print business.’ “Suddenly, I had this whole new life,” Jack Bruce says. “I moved to Margrit’s house in Germany, we got married and Natascha came along thirteen days after the wedding. We just got down the aisle in time.” Jack Bruce (39 years old) marries Margrit Seyffer (28 years old) in 1982. Jack and Margrit have three children: a daughter named Natascha (known professionally as Aruba Red) (born in 1982), a daughter named Kyla and a son named Corin (born in 1993). Jack Bruce still struggles with drugs. “I had been going through vast quantities of heroin for several years,” he admits. “I was mainlining [it]…Don’t want to romanticise it, but I was attracted to heroin by the people I admired, like [jazz saxophonist] Charlie Parker.” What brings Jack’s drug use to a close is his wife Margrit’s threat to leave him if he doesn’t stop using heroin.
Former Cream drummer Ginger Baker joins Eric Clapton in Blind Faith (February 1969-January 1970). This act records only one album, the disc entitled ‘Blind Faith’ (1969) (UK no. 1, US no. 1, AUS no. 2). After Blind Faith winds up, Eric Clapton goes his own way, but the other two members of Blind Faith – Steve Winwood and Rick Grech – take part in Ginger Baker’s next project. Ginger Baker’s Air Force is a large ensemble that debuts with a gig in Amsterdam on 21 December 1969. The line-up is: Denny Laine (vocal, guitar), Steve Winwood (vocals, organ, bass), Graham Bond (organ, saxophone), Rick Grech (bass, violin), Ginger Baker (drums), Phil Seamen (drums), Remi Kabaka (percussion), Chris Wood (saxophone, flute), Harold McNair (saxophone, flute), Bud Beadle (saxophone) and Jeanette Jacobs (vocals). This group records ‘Ginger Baker’s Air Force’ (1970) (UK no. 37, US no. 33), released on 30 March. This yields the single ‘Man Of Constant Sorrow’ (UK no. 86), with a lead vocal by Denny Laine. By the time of the live album follow-up, ‘Ginger Baker’s Air Force 2’ (1970) – released on 10 December – the line-up of the group has mutated to the following configuration: Ken Craddock (vocals, guitar, organ, piano), Diane Stewart (vocals), Catherine James (vocals), Graham Bond (organ, saxophone), Colin Gibson (bass), Ginger Baker (drums), Neemoi ‘Speedy’ Acquaye (drums), Steve Gregory (saxophone, flute) and Bud Beadle (saxophone). Although not officially members, contributions to the band’s second album are also made by Denny Laine, Rick Grech, Harold McNair, Alika Ashman (vocals) and Rocki Dzidzomu (congas, percussion). Following this, ‘they split in disarray.’ The double album compilation ‘Ginger Baker At His Best’ (1972) includes songs by Blind Faith and Ginger Baker’s Air Force. ‘Stratavarious’ (1972) is Ginger Baker’s first solo album. The next step is Baker Gurvitz Army (1974-1976). This group consists of: Snips a.k.a. Mr Snips (born Steve Parsons) (lead vocals), Adrian Gurvitz (guitar, vocals), Peter Lemer (keyboards), Paul Gurvitz (bass, backing vocals) and Ginger Baker (drums). The Gurvitz brothers had previously been in Gun (circa 1967) before forming Three Man Army which metamorphosed into Baker Gurvitz Army. This outfit releases three albums: ‘Baker Gurvitz Army’ (1974), ‘Elysian Encounter’ (1975) and ‘Hearts On Fire’ (1976). Abandoning Baker Gurvitz Army, the former drummer of Cream issues ‘Ginger Baker & Friends’ (1976) and ‘Eleven Sides Of Baker’ (1977). Ginger Baker does a stint with U.K. space rockers Hawkwind, appearing on their albums ‘Levitation’ (1980), ‘Zones’ (1983) and ‘This Is Hawkwind, Do Not Panic’ (1984). During these years, Baker also has the short-lived side projects Ginger Baker’s Nutters (1981) and Bakerland (1982). Ginger’s solo album ‘From Humble Oranges’ (1983) comes out between his first and second albums with Hawkwind. Another solo disc, ‘Horses & Trees’ (1986), is followed by an unlikely slot with post punk act Public Image Ltd for their disc ‘Album’ (1986). Ginger Baker’s ‘No Material’ (1989) is a live recording. In a busy period, Ginger Baker issues ‘Middle Passage’ (1990); ‘Unseen Rain’ (1992) – with Jens Johansson and Jonas Hellborg; ‘Ginger Baker’s Energy’ (1992); and plays drums for Masters Of Reality on ‘Sunrise On The Sufferbus’ (1992).
When Ginger Baker’s Air Force collapses, Ginger moves to Nigeria, Africa, where he resides from 1970 to 1974. In Nigeria, Baker runs a trucking company and opens a recording studio in Akeja, Nigeria, in 1973. He frequently works with Nigerian musician Fela Ransome-Kuti, appearing on the latter’s albums ‘Fela’s London Scene’ (1971) (uncredited), ‘Why Black Man Dey Suffer’ (1971) and ‘Live!’ (1972). Baker also has a mainly Nigerian band called Salt. The documentary ‘Ginger Baker in Africa’ (1971) is also made during this period.
Ginger Baker’s marriage to Liz Finch ends in divorce in 1978. His second wife is only identified publicly by her first name, Sarah. Ginger and Sarah marry in 1983, but divorce in 1984. “She got bored with farming [in Italy] and me being straight. Without drugs, I guess I’m not as exciting,” says Ginger Baker. In 1990, Ginger Baker (51 years old) marries his third wife, Karen Loucks (26 years old).
While the former members of Cream pursue separate careers, Cream’s musical legacy is maintained by a series of compilation albums and live recordings. Polygram issues three compilation albums: ‘Best Of Cream’ (1969) (UK no. 6, US no. 3, AUS no. 11), the two disc set titled ‘Heavy Cream’ (1972) (US no. 135) and ‘Cream Off The Top’ (1973). RSO (the Robert Stigwood Organisation) releases ‘Strange Brew: The Very Best Of Cream’ (1983) (US no. 205). Polygram issues two live albums. ‘Live Cream’ (1970) (UK no. 4, US no. 13, AUS no. 30) contains five tracks. Contrary to the title of the album, ‘Lawdy Mama’ is recorded in Atlantic Studios, New York City, in May 1967. ‘Rollin’ And Tumblin’’ is recorded live at The Fillmore, San Francisco, on 7 March 1968; ‘Sleepy Time Time’ is from Winterland, San Francisco, on 9 March 1968; and both ‘N.S.U.’ and ‘Sweet Wine’ also come from Winterland on the following night, 10 March 1968. ‘Live Cream Volume II’ (1972) (UK no. 15, US no. 30, AUS no. 49) has six tracks. ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’ dates from Cream’s show at Winterland, San Francisco, on 4 March 1968; ‘Tales Of Brave Ulysses’ and a cover version of Memphis Slim’s 1959 song ‘Steppin’ Out’ come from the same venue on the following night, 10 March 1968; and ‘Deserted Cities Of The Heart’, ‘White Room’ and ‘Politician’ all are recorded at Oakland Coliseum, California, on 4 October 1968.
In January 1993 Cream is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker reunite for the occasion, but the reunion is for that night only.
Former Cream guitarist Eric Clapton continues his solo career with the following albums: ‘From The Cradle’ (1994) (UK no. 1, US no. 1, AUS no. 6); ‘The Cream Of Eric Clapton’ (1995) (UK no. 52, US no. 80), a U.S. version of the 1987 U.K. compilation disc; ‘Crossroads 2 – Live In The Seventies’ (1996) (UK no. 115, US no. 137), a compilation of live material; ‘Retail Therapy’ (1997) by TDF (an incognito Clapton working with Simon Climie); ‘Pilgrim’ (1998) (UK no. 3, US no. 4, AUS no. 17); ‘Blues’ (1999) (UK no. 52, US no. 52, AUS no. 38), a compilation album of Clapton’s work in that genre; ‘Clapton Chronicles: The Best Of Eric Clapton’ (1999) (UK no. 6, US no. 20, AUS no. 17), a compilation of the best of his latter day works; ‘Riding With The King’ (2000) (UK no. 15, US no. 3, AUS no. 5) with B.B. King; ‘Reptile’ (2001) (UK no. 7, US no. 5, AUS no. 20); ‘One More Car, One More Rider’ (2003) (UK no. 69, US no. 43) is a live album; and ‘Me And Mr Johnson’ (2004) (UK no. 10, US no. 6, AUS no. 23) consists entirely of Clapton’s versions of songs by bluesman Robert Johnson. The only Eric Clapton single to make the top ten in these years is 1996’s ‘Change The World’ (UK no. 18, US no. 5, AUS no. 18).
In 1995 Eric Clapton is awarded an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List. From 1996 to 1998 Eric Clapton is in a romantic relationship with fellow rock singer Sheryl Crow. In 1998 Eric Clapton (53 years old) meets Melia McEnery (22 years old), an administrative assistant. They date secretly for a year before going public with their relationship in 1999. In 1998 Clapton establishes the Crossroads Centre on the Caribbean island of Antigua. This facility treats people struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol. Fund-raising festivals for the centre are conducted by Clapton in 1999, 2004, 2007, 2010 and 2013. Eric Clapton and Melia McEnery have a daughter, Julie Rose (born on 18 June 2001). Eric and Melia marry on 1 January 2002 and go on to have two more daughters: Ella May (born on 14 January 2003) and Sophie (born on 1 February 2005). Eric Clapton is awarded a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2004 New Year’s Honours List.
Former Cream bassist Jack Bruce releases the following albums: ‘Somethin’ Els’ (1993), the first of Jack Bruce’s solo albums on which Eric Clapton makes a guest appearance; ‘Around The Next Dream’ (1994) by BBM (Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker and guitarist Gary Moore); ‘Cities Of The Heart’ (1994), a two disc live album taken from Jack Bruce’s sixtieth birthday concerts which includes an appearance from Ginger Baker; ‘Monkjack’ (1995); ‘Live On The Old Grey Whistle Test’ (1998) has Jack Bruce performances from 1975 and 1980 on the television program cited in the title; ‘Shadows In The Air’ (2001); the two CD concert disc ‘Live At Manchester Free Trade Hall ‘75’ (2003); and ‘More Jack Than God’ (2003).
Jack Bruce’s son by Janet Godfrey, Jonas (Jo), dies on 8 October 1997 after a severe asthma attack. He was 28. In 2003 Jack Bruce is diagnosed with liver cancer. In September 2003 he has a liver transplant. Jack Bruce’s wife, Margrit Seyffer, becomes his manager in 2003.
Former Cream drummer Ginger Baker forms The Ginger Baker Trio in 1994 with Charlie Haden (bass) and Bill Frisell (guitar). This appears to be a short-lived band. Ginger Baker releases the following albums: ‘Going Back Home’ (1994); ‘Around The Next Dream’ (1994) by BBM (Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker and guitarist Gary Moore); ‘Ginger Baker – The Album’ (1995); ‘Falling Off The Roof’ (1995); ‘Synaesthesia’ (1996), an album by former Police guitarist Andy Summers, has Ginger Baker on drums; ‘Do What You Like’ (1998); ‘Coward Of The County’ (1999) is attributed to Ginger Baker And The Denver Jazz Quintet-To-Octet; and ‘African Force’ (2001). Two discs come from the past days of Baker Gurvitz Army, ‘Flying In And Out Of Stardom Castle’ (2003) and ‘Greatest Hits’ (2003).
From 1993 to 1999 Ginger Baker lives in Parker, Colorado. He becomes quite a polo fan, frequenting Salisbury Equestrian Park in Parker, Colorado. Ginger Baker’s nine-year marriage to his third wife, Karen Loucks, ends in divorce in 1999. Baker develops severe arthritis.
During these years, Cream’s past recordings are recycled by Polydor as ‘The Very Best Of Cream’ (1995) (UK no. 149); ‘Those Were The Days’ (1997) [a four disc box set with two discs of studio recordings and two live discs]; ‘20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection – The Best Of Cream’ (2000); and ‘BBC Sessions’ (2003) (UK no. 100).
A full-scale reunion of Cream – Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker – takes place in May 2005. This is partly prompted by the realisation that they may not get another opportunity to work together due to recent health problems for Bruce (liver cancer leading to a liver transplant) and Baker (severe arthritis). Some songs (e.g. ‘Badge’ and ‘Pressed Rat And Warthog’) Cream had never performed live before these reunion shows. The occasion is captured on the live album ‘Royal Albert Hall London May 2-3-5-6, 2005’ (2005) released on Reprise in October. Cream also plays three shows at Madison Square Garden, New York City on 24-26 October, but Eric Clapton does not believe those performances are as good as the London shows. However, these prove to be Cream’s last concerts. The trio part ways once more as the old enmities resurface. By 2014 Jack Bruce says, “Ginger, from what I’ve heard, is a bitter old man. And I’m quite a cheerful old chap.”
Former Cream guitarist Eric Clapton releases ‘Back Home’ (2005) (UK no. 19, US no. 13) and ‘The Road To Escondido’ (2005) (UK no. 50, US no. 23), the latter with J.J. Cale. Clapton is the first member of Cream to pen his memoirs with ‘Clapton: The Autobiography’ (2007). He goes on to release these albums: ‘Complete Clapton’ (2007) (UK no. 2, US no. 14, AUS no. 38), a compilation set; ‘Live From Madison Square Garden – With Steve Winwood’ (2009) (UK no. 40, US no. 14); ‘Clapton’ (2010) (UK no. 7, US no. 6, AUS no. 21); ‘Icon’ (2011) (US no. 114), another compilation; ‘Play The Blues: Live From Jazz At Lincoln Center (With Wynton Marsalis)’ (2011) (UK no. 40, US no. 31); ‘Old Sock’ (2013) (UK no. 13, US no. 7, AUS no. 22); the live recording ‘Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013’ (2013); ‘Forever Man’ (2009) (UK no. 8, US no. 48, AUS no. 62), a compilation; ‘Slowhand At 70 – Live At The Royal Albert Hall’ (2015); ‘I Still Do’ (2016) (UK no. 6, US no. 6, AUS no. 10); ‘Crossroads Revisited: Selections From The Crossroads Guitar Festivals’ (2016) (US no. 122, AUS no. 30); and ‘Live In San Diego’ (2016) (UK no. 60, US no. 47, AUS no. 61).
In 2013 Eric Clapton is diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy, a condition that causes a burning, stabbing or tingling pain in the arms and legs. This suggests that Clapton’s concert appearances will need to be reduced.
Former Cream bassist Jack Bruce releases the following albums: ‘Live With The HR Big Band’ (2006); ‘Spirit (Live At The BBC 1971-1978)’ (2008) [a three CD box set]; ‘Can You Follow?’ (2008) [a six CD box set]; ‘Seven Moons’ (2008) with guitarist Robin Trower; and ‘Seven Moons Live’ (2009) a.k.a. ‘Songs From The Road’ with Robin Trower. ‘Composing Himself: Jack Bruce – The Authorised Biography’ by Harry Shapiro is published in February 2010 by Jawbone Press. Jack Bruce’s songwriting partner Pete Brown publishes his own history ‘White Rooms & Imaginary Westerns’ in September 2010. The two CD set ‘Jack Bruce & The Cuicoland Express: Live At The Milky Way’ (2010) features performances from 2001. This is followed by another two CD set ‘Jack Bruce & His Big Blues Band – Live 2012’ (2012) and Jack Bruce’s final original album ‘Silver Rails’ (2014).
Jack Bruce dies on 25 October 2014. He was 71 years old. Despite having a liver transplant in September 2003, the cause of death is liver disease.
After the death of Jack Bruce, the two CD compilation ‘Sunshine Of Your Love – A Life In Music’ (2015) is released. The 2006 CD ‘Live With The HR Big Band’ is reissued with a DVD as ‘More Jack Than Blues’ (2015).
Former Cream drummer Ginger Baker releases two concert discs with Baker Gurvitz Army, ‘Live In Derby’ (2005) and ‘Live’ (2005). These are followed by ‘African Force: Palanquin’s Pole’ (2006). ‘Ginger Baker – Hellraiser: The Autobiography of the World’s Greatest Drummer’ is published in 2010. Ginger Baker is the subject of the documentary film ‘Beware of Mr Baker’ (2012). Ginger Baker Jazz Confusion (2013-2014) consists of: Ginger Baker (drums), Pee Wee Ellis (saxophone), Alec Dankworth (bass) and Abass Dodoo (percussion). Following this, Ginger Baker releases ‘Why?’ (2014).
In 2008 Ginger Baker becomes romantically involved with Kudzai Machokoto, a young, black Zimbabwean single mother. On 25 February 2010, Ginger Baker (70 years old) marries Kudzai Machokoto (28 years old). Ginger becomes the step-father of Kudzai’s 12 year old daughter, Liza (born in 1998). They all live on Ginger’s estate in Tulbach, Cape Town, South Africa, where Ginger breeds polo ponies. Besides arthritis, by 2010, Ginger Baker has a ‘degenerative spine condition [and the] onset of emphysema.’ In February 2016, Baker has ‘serious health issues;’ he is struggling with ‘chronic obstructive pulmonary disease from years of heavy smoking.’ Baker undergoes corrective surgery in July 2016.
The 2005 Cream reunion leads Polydor to release two more Cream compilation albums that year, ‘Gold’ (2005) (UK no. 186) and ‘I Feel Free – Ultimate Cream’ (2005) (UK no. 6). Both are two CD sets. Polydor also issues the compilation ‘Icon’ (2011). LTM releases ‘The Alternative Album’ (2013).
Cream overshadowed the rest of the careers of Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker. Though Eric Clapton was more famous, it is possible to argue that his best work was with Cream. “Even Eric Clapton with his tremendous solo success – it’s still Cream that people want to talk about. He complains about it too,” noted Jack Bruce. Unlike virtually every other group of musicians with whom he worked, Bruce and Baker were not intimidated by Clapton’s legend. Partly, that’s because he was not so famous when they met, partly it was due to their own sizable egos, and partly it was because all three of them were highly skilled musicians. They did not kowtow to the guitarist, but instead challenged him musically on stage and on record. This mutual ability was, after all, why the band was called Cream – and Cream always rises to the top. ‘Cream was a highly influential band; they set the pattern for the “power trio” format, later endlessly copied by generally lesser talents’. ‘Cream was a blues-rock supergroup trio whose immense volume and lengthy instrumental jams set the agenda for much late 1960s rock’.
- ‘Uncut’ (U.K. rock music magazine) – ‘Eric Clapton on Cream: “I was in a Confrontational Situation 24 Hours a Day…”’ – Eric Clapton interview conducted by Tom Pinnock (30 November 2012) (reproduced on uncut.co.uk)
- ‘Friday On My Mind’ by Ed Nimmervoll (Five Mile Press, 2004) p. 68, 69, 72, 75
- wikipedia.org as at 11 September 2016, 14 February 2017
- Notable Names Database – nndb.com – as at 16 February 2017
- todayifoundout.com – ‘The Woman Eric Clapton Thought was his Sister was Actually his Mother’ by Dave Hiskey (21 June 2011)
- christianitytoday.com – ‘Eric Clapton – In the Presence of the Lord’ by John Powell (9 April 2008)
- famechain.com as at 16 September 2016 [for the names of Eric Clapton’s half-siblings]
- brainyquote.com as at 18 February 2017
- ‘Rock Stars’ by Timothy White (Columbus Books, 1984) p. 172, 176
- ‘The Illustrated New Musical Express Encyclopedia Of Rock’ by Nick Logan, Bob Woffinden (Salamander Books, 1978) p. 18, 37, 44, 54, 55, 61, 197, 240
- Internet Movie Database – imdb.com – as at 18 February 2017
- whereseric.com – no author credited – as at 14 September 2016
- whosdatedwho.com as at 14 September 2016, 16 February 2017
- ‘Sunday Express’ (U.K. newspaper) – ‘Rolled Over by the Stones’ by Anna Pukas (15 March 2007) (reproduced at express.co.uk) [information on Krissy Findlay]
- ‘The Illustrated Rock Handbook’ edited by Roxanne Streeter, Ray Bonds (Salamander Books, 1983) p. 16, 25, 33, 42, 51, 64, 141, 235, 253
- ‘The Yardbirds – Happenings Ten Years Time Ago 1964-1968’ – Sleeve notes by Ian McFarlane (Raven Records Pty Limited, 2008) p. 5
- en.citizendium.org – no author credited – as at 14 September 2016 [information on Charlotte Martin]
- angelfire.com – ‘Jack Bruce (A Retrospective)’ – no author credited – as at 16 February 2017
- latest.com – ‘Farewell, Jack Bruce 1943-2014’ – no author credited (25 October 2014)
- ‘The Telegraph’ (U.K. newspaper) – ‘Former Cream Bassist Jack Bruce: “I Squandered Too Much Money on Drugs”’ – Jack Bruce interview conducted by Mark Anstead in December 2011 (reproduced on telegraph.co.uk on 26 October 2014)
- ‘The Guardian’ (U.K. newspaper) – ‘Jack Bruce Obituary’ by Alan Clayson & Joel McIver (26 October 2017) (reproduced on telegraph.co.uk on 26 October 2014)
- ‘The Express’ (U.K. newspaper) – ‘Cream Star Jack’s Sex Abuse Hell at Music Academy’ by Gavin Docherty (9 February 2012) (reproduced on express.co.uk)
- ‘The Rolling Stone Rock Almanac’ by the Editors of ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine (Papermac, 1984) p. 69, 116, 127, 128, 146, 150, 151, 155, 165, 177
- ‘Disc and Music Echo’ (U.K. rock newspaper) – ‘Ginger Baker: “I’m Not an Easy Person to Get on With” – A Classic Interview from the Vaults’ – conducted by Penny Valentine (1970) (reproduced on theguardian.com on 20 August 2013)
- ‘Who’s Who in British Jazz (2nd Edition)’ – Edited by John Chilton (Continuum Books, 2004) p. 15 – via books.google.com.au
- You Tube – ‘Trouble In Mind’ by Acker Bilk (Ginger Baker on drums) – as at 20 February 2017
- discogs.com – ‘Tradition In Colour’ (1958) by Terry Lightfoot And His Band (Ginger Baker – drums) – as at 20 February 2017
- ‘Sunday Express’ (U.K. newspaper) – ‘A New Bride Less than Half his Age for Drums Legend Ginger’ by David Pilditch (9 February 2010) (reproduced on express.co.uk)
- ‘Guitar World Magazine’ – ‘Strange Brew’ by John McDermott (November 1997) – via 3 (above) – Cream
- rollingstone.com – ‘Jack Bruce Moves Past Cream: “It Was Nice to Have a Little Comeback”’ – interview conducted by Kory Grow (15 April 2014)
- ‘Guitarist Magazine’ (18 November 2011) – ‘Classic Interview: Eric Clapton – June 1994’ – no author credited – via musicradar.com
- ‘The Very Best Of Cream’ – Sleeve notes by Hugh Fielder (Polygram International Music, 1995) p. 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11
- metrolyrics.com as at 19 February 2017
- ‘The 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time’, ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine (February 2004) p. 49, 50
- ‘The History Of Rock’ by Mark Paytress (Parragon Books, 2011) p. 100
- ‘Jimi Hendrix: Electric Gypsy’ by Harry Shapiro, Caesar Glebbeek (St. Martin’s Press, 1990) p. 137 via 3 (above) – ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’
- allmusic.com – ‘Cream’ by Richie Unterberger as at 17 February 2017
- songfacts.com as at 21 September 2016 [for ‘Crossroads’]
- ‘The Love You Make – An Insider’s Story Of The Beatles’ by Peter Brown, Steven Gaines (Pan Books, 1983) p. 343 [for Eric Clapton’s affair with Pattie Boyd]
- ‘The Rolling Stone Illustrated History Of Rock ‘N’ Roll’, ‘Eric Clapton’ by Dave Marsh (Plexus Publishing, 1992), p. 409
- ‘‘The Daily Mail’ (U.K. newspaper) – ‘The Lover Jagger Can’t Forgive: He Dumped Her for his Live-In Chef and Abandoned their Baby Daughter, Marsha Hunt’s Time with the Rolling Stone’ by Paul Scott (7 January) (reproduced on dailymail.co.uk) [information on Catherine James]
- ‘The New York Daily News’ (New York, U.S.A., newspaper) – ‘The Many Women of Eric Clapton’ – no author credited (2015) (reproduced on nydailynews.com)
- allmusic.com – ‘Eric Clapton’ by William Ruhlmann as at 15 September 2016
- google search as at 16 February 2017 [for the date and duration of Jack Bruce’s marriage to Rosie Miller]
- hollywoodlife.com – ‘Jack Bruce: Cream Bassist & Vocalist Dies at 71’ by Avery Thompson (25 October 2014)
- biography.com – ‘Jack Bruce Bio’ – no author credited – as at 16 February 2017
Song lyrics copyright Warner/Chappell Music with the exceptions of ‘The Coffee Song’ (U.S. Patent 940 1941) and ‘Badge’ (Warner/Chappell Music/Copyright Control)
Last revised 10 March 2017