Although they were only together for two and half years, Cream became one of the most influential bands in rock history. Known as the first “supergroup,” guitarist Eric Clapton, bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker helped pioneer the power trio concept, as well as that of heavy metal and the jam band. The band was named Cream because each of the three members were already considered the “cream of the crop” amongst blues and jazz musicians in the British music scene.
With Clapton’s blues power and the jazz background of Baker and Bruce, Cream took traditional blues and expanded the boundaries of what was possible in popular music by mixing in extensive improvisation, psychedelia and adventurous songwriting. Cream’s creativity and powerful live performances influenced everyone from Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana and the Grateful Dead, to Led Zeppelin, the Allman Brothers Band, Black Sabbath, Rush and just about every guitar-driven band that followed in rock history.
After seeing the band in San Francisco in the late ‘60s, Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart asked bandmate Jerry Garcia if Cream was the best band in the world. “They are tonight,” responded Garcia. Clapton’s use of the wah-wah pedal in “Tales of Brave Ulysses” from Cream’s second album, Disraeli Gears, is said to have influenced Jimi Hendrix to start using the effect.
Songs such as “White Room,” “Sunshine of Your Love,” “Badge,” “I Feel Free” and what many feel is the definitive cover of Robert Johnson’s “Crossroads,” launched Cream to international superstardom and remain staples of classic rock radio to this day. Creative and personal tensions drove the band apart though, in less than three years. Cream reunited for a handful of shows in London and New York in 2005, but a much-anticipated tour failed to materialize.
Cream on the Web
The Rock and Roll
Hall of Fame
Cream was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.
Official site for the 2005 reunion
Features photo gallery, set lists, merchandise, ring tones and more.
The band’s artist page at MTV.com
Guitar and bass tablature for the Cream songs
Live Cream at Wolfgang’s Vault
Wolfgang’s Vault has seven streamable Cream tracks from 1968 shows in Oakland and Los Angeles
"There isn't a drummer on this earth that has the dexterity that Ginger has… And [Jack has] this powerful thing that happens when he starts to sing and you're off on the side." – Eric Clapton
"Cream showed that rock musicians could play. But that was a double-edged sword, because it became very unfashionable to be able to play didn't it? But Cream was a nice little trio. It certainly was an influence -- on the whole future of rock music." – Jack Bruce
"I was rather controversial…I was always 'too loud!' But I don't like these guys that play like a metronome. I know I'm a bit of a monster. I have always been big-headed, but people whose playing I liked always liked mine, and that kept me going." – Ginger Baker