For other uses, see Cream (disambiguation)Cream
were a 1960s British rock supergroup power trio consisting of bassist/singer Jack Bruce, drummer Ginger Baker, and guitarist/singer Eric Clapton. Their sound was characterised by a hybrid of blues rock, hard rock and psychedelic rock, combining the psychedelia-themed lyrics, Eric Clapton's blues guitar playing and vocals, Jack Bruce's voice and prominent bass playing and Ginger Baker's jazz-influenced drumming. The group's third album, Wheels of Fire
, was the world's first platinum-selling double album. Cream are widely regarded as being the world's first successful supergroup. In their career, they sold over 15 million albums worldwide. Cream's music included songs based on traditional blues such as "Crossroads" and "Spoonful", and modern blues such as "Born Under a Bad Sign", as well as more eccentric songs such as "Strange Brew", "Tales of Brave Ulysses" and "Toad".Cream's biggest hits were "I Feel Free" (UK, number 11), "Sunshine of Your Love" (US, number 5), "White Room" (US, number 6), "Crossroads" (US, number 28), and "Badge" (UK, number 18). Cream made a significant impact on the popular music of the time, and, along with Jimi Hendrix, and Terry Kath of Chicago, popularised the use of the wah-wah pedal. They provided a heavy yet technically proficient musical theme that foreshadowed and influenced the emergence of British bands such as Led Zeppelin, The Jeff Beck Group and Black Sabbath in the late 1960s and the early 1970s. The band's live performances influenced progressive rock acts such as Rush. Cream were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. They were included in both Rolling Stone
and VH1's lists of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time," at number 67 and 61 respectively. They were also ranked number 16 on VH1's "100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock".Rock and Roll Hall of FameIn 1993, Cream were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and reformed to perform at the induction ceremony. Initially, the trio were wary about performing, until encouraging words from Robbie Robertson inspired them to try. The set consisted of "Sunshine of Your Love", "Crossroads", and "Born Under a Bad Sign", a song they had not previously played live. Clapton mentioned in his acceptance speech that their rehearsal the day before the ceremony had marked the first time they had played together in 25 years. This performance spurred rumours of a reunion tour. Bruce and Baker said in later interviews that they were, indeed, interested in touring as Cream. A formal reunion did not take place immediately, as Clapton, Bruce and Baker continued to pursue solo projects, although the latter two worked together again in the mid-1990s as two-thirds of a power trio BBM with Irish blues-rock guitarist Gary Moore.
2005 Royal Albert Hall and Madison Square Garden concerts
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, at Clapton's request. Although the three musicians chose not to speak publicly about the shows, Clapton would later state that he had become more "generous" in regard to his past, and that the physical health of Bruce and Baker was a major factor: Bruce had recently undergone a liver transplant for liver cancer, and had almost lost his life, while Baker had severe arthritis.Tickets for all four shows sold out in under an hour. The performances were recorded for a live CD and DVD. Among those in attendance were Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, Steve Winwood, Roger Waters, Brian May, Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin and also Mick Taylor and Bill Wyman. The reunion marked the first time the band had played "Badge" and "Pressed Rat and Warthog" live.The Royal Albert Hall reunion proved a success on both a personal and financial level, inspiring the reformed band to bring their reunion to the United States. Cream chose to play at only one venue, Madison Square Garden in New York City, from 24–26 October 2005.
In February 2006, Cream received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of their contribution to, and influence upon, modern music. That same month, a "Classic Albums" DVD was released detailing the story behind the creation and recording of Disraeli Gears
. On the day prior to the Grammy ceremony, Bruce made a public statement that more one-off performances of Cream had been planned: multiple dates in a few cities, similar to the Royal Albert Hall and Madison Square Garden shows.However, this story was rebutted by both Clapton and Baker, first by Clapton in a Times
article from April 2006. The article stated that when asked about Cream, Clapton said: "No. Not for me. We did it and it was fun. But life is too short. I've got lots of other things I would rather do, including staying at home with my kids. The thing about that band was that it was all to do with its limits ... it was an experiment." In an interview in the UK magazine Music Mart
, about the release of a DVD about the Blind Faith concert in Hyde Park 1969, Baker commented about his unwillingness to continue the Cream reunion. These comments were far more specific and explosive than Clapton's, as they were centred around his relationship with Jack Bruce. Ginger said, "When he's Dr. Jekyll, he's fine ... It's when he's Mr. Hyde that he's not. And I'm afraid he's still the same. I tell you this – there won't ever be any more Cream gigs, because he did Mr. Hyde in New York last year."When asked to elaborate, Baker replied: "Oh, he shouted at me on stage, he turned his bass up so loud that he deafened me on the first gig. What he does is that he apologises and apologises, but I'm afraid, to do it on a Cream reunion gig, that was the end. He killed the magic, and New York was like 1968 ... It was just a get through the gig, get the money sort of deal. I was absolutely amazed. I mean, he demonstrated why he got the sack from Graham Bond and why Cream didn't last very long on stage in New York. I didn't want to do it in the first place simply because of how Jack was. I have worked with him several times since Cream, and I promised myself that I would never work with him again. When Eric first came up with the idea, I said no, and then he phoned me up and eventually convinced me to do it. I was on my best behaviour and I did everything I could to make things go as smooth as possible, and I was really pleasant to Jack." Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce would reunite on stage in London when Baker was awarded a lifetime achievement award by Zildjian.Jack Bruce told Detroit's WCSX radio station in May 2007 that there were plans for a Cream reunion later in the year. It was later revealed that the potential performance was to be November 2007 London as a tribute to Ahmet Ertegün. The band decided against it and this was confirmed by Bruce in a letter to the editor of the Jack Bruce fanzine, The Cuicoland Express
, dated 26 September 2007:The headlining act for the O2 Arena Ertegun tribute show (postponed to December 2007) turned out to be another reunited English hard-rock act, Led Zeppelin. In an interview with BBC 6 Music in April 2010, Bruce confirmed that there would be no more Cream shows. He said: "Cream is over."