Cream (1966-1968, 2005): a Hard Rock band from London, UK.
ream were the first ever "super group", consisting of Eric Clapton (Real Name: Eric Patrick Clapp; ex-Yardbirds/ex-John Mayall's Bluesbreakers; vocals/guitar), Jack Bruce (Real Name: John Bruce; ex-John Mayall's Bluesbreakers/ex-Graham Bond/ex-Manfrid Mann; vocals/bass) and Ginger Baker (Real Name: Peter Baker; ex-Graham Bond Organization/ex-Alexis Korner's Blues Inc.; drums).
Cream were first carted out to be viewed by the public in 1966's National Jazz & Blues Festival in Windsor, England. The initial 45 single, Wrapping Paper, released shortly later, gave them a 34 in England. Their notoriety continued later that same year with their debut album Fresh Cream (1966) and the psychedelic single lifted from it I Feel Free. The album made 6 UK (39 US) with the single making 11 UK on its own. Along with their original material the record featured updated versions of blues classics like Spoonful (Willie Dixon), I'm So Glad (Skip James) and Roolin' & Tumblin' (Muddy Waters), but over the course of the next six months or so Cream were introduced to the psychedelic blues of people like Jimi Hendrix who were now an the rise to stardom with the resulting follow-up album Disraeli Gears featuring such Cream classics as Takes Of Brave Ulysses and World Of Pain. Their next set Wheels Of Fire - In The Studio and Wheels Of Fire - Live At The Fillmore (1968 both) was a two album set featuring one in the studio and one live with the former featuring a cover of Booker T's Born Under A Bad Sign, and a rework of Robert Johnson's Crossroads but the album, that was later split into two separate LPs (probably to encourage more sales), failed to get the same attention in commercial circles as its predecessor. After their farewell tour in 1968 culminating in a sold out show at London's Royal Albert Hall the act split with Eric Clapton most notably going on to a very successful solo career.
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At Clapton's request, Cream reunited for a series of four shows, on 2, 3, 5, and 6 May 2005 at the Royal Albert Hall in London, the venue of their final concerts in 1968. But their age and health would be factors in limiting any future shows. Bruce had recently undergone a liver transplant for liver cancer in 2003, and had almost lost his life, while Baker had severe arthritis. A CD was recorded of the event. Inspired by the success of the reunion, the band agreed to an additional set of shows at the Madison Square Garden in New York City, from 24-26 October 2005. According to Clapton, these concerts didn't live up to the Royal Albert Hall performances due to, among other reasons, lack of rehearsal and the resurgence of old grudges among band members.
In February 2006, Cream received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of their contribution to, and influence upon, modern music.
On 25 October 2014, Bruce died of liver disease in Suffolk, England at the age of 71.
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Photo of Cream. From left: Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce, Eric Clapton.
License: Public Domain