Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, and Eric Clapton formed the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame band Cream on this day in 1966. By December of that year, one of rock's first "supergroups" would release their debut album Fresh Cream, writing an exciting new chapter in the history of rock.
As with most supergroups, Cream didn't last long. They were brought down by the things that bring down most groups and supergroups alike: egos, drugs, creative differences, pressures, and personalities. The things that pulled them apart also helped make them great and that is why their legacy is hard to pin down. They divided critics, and time has done peculiar things to the way some view the band and their music. Some who hailed them at the time can no longer remember what the fuss was all about while some who derided them as "hippie noise" now hear the exploration and intricacies in their music. Of course there are some who picked one camp or the other and have remained there while others merely shrugged.
As for me, I take a pinch of the different schools of thought and blend them. Their catalog has some blights and missteps and there has been more than a little hyperbole in the hosannas but the best moments of their brief career reached towering highs that stand up 44 years later and still sound great. Their highlights were many and here are just a few. Agree? Disagree? Have some highlights of your own? Let's discuss…
1) "I Feel Free": My niece knows this song from car commercial that used it but she danced to that beat and hummed right along with that intro. This isn't the best example of the freeform jams or their blues-based leanings but instead focuses more on the hippy psychedelic leanings.
2) "Sunshine Of Your Love": Disraeli Gears stands as one of the most heralded, influential records of the era. This is where Cream came into their own as a force, merging instrumental virtuosity with some of their best songs. The '60s was such an amazingly rich, deep decade for rock but "Sunshine Of Your Love" has to be among the greatest songs of that decade. Eric Clapton's guitar solo is still a work of beauty.