Most people under 30 will not recognize this band due to their short lifespan in the limelight. However, most traditionalists regard Cream as the first rock and roll group. Although the band barely existed for two years over their short lifespan, they released two studio albums, most of which you may not find in the mainstream top 100 lists or other music shows. The London-based band was formed back in 1966 and consisted of Jack Bruce, the Bassist, Eric Clapton, the guitarist, and Ginger Baker. All the four members had previously recorded for separate successful bands; hence, they could complement each other to produce some great classic rock songs. The band was popular for their cool fusion of rock, jazz, and blues which influenced an entire generation of rock musicians and rock fans. Largely due to tensions between Bruce and Baker, the band’s broke up in May 1968.
However, after their breakup, the band was persuaded to return for a final album and go on a tour that would end with two concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in November 1968. The band also sold out the same venue in 2005 with tickets that were going for £50 – £125. Surprisingly, the hall was packed full, including some front seats, which would sell for up to £1700, and a balcony view ticket sold for £350. This proves that the band was a hit among middle-aged men in their 40s who could go to great extents to see the band perform live. This article will cover the top 10 Cream songs of all time to understand which songs made the crowds fall in love with them so much.
The live version of this song is pretty amazing. If you understand how to play the guitar, you will understand just how good Eric Clapton was on this one. Cream released the song in 1966 following a trend where rock artists used to record Willie Dixon songs for their debut albums.
When you listen to most drum solos nowadays, they are more about how fast one can be or how loud one can get. However, any aspiring drummer could learn a thing or two about drumming from Ginger Baker. “Toad” is a five-minute drum solo that was composed by Ginger Baker. The drum solo was originally recorded for the album “Fresh Cream” in 1966, although an extended version was released in 1968 and appeared in the band’s album, “Wheels of Fire.”
8. I Feel Free
Cream were ahead of their time during the late ’60s when they were at their peak. “I Feel Free” was one of those songs that would turn you into a rocker even though you weren’t already one. This track proved to be a major breakthrough for the band, having been the band’s first song to reach the top 15 in the UK. The song features some dirty-sounding rhythmic guitar by Ginger Baker, and a one-note pounding guitar played over a cool vintage video.
7. I’m So Glad
When Cream made this song, they ensured that the royalties supposed to go to Nehemiah “Skip” James reached him. A rare gesture those days. The song was originally recorded by American singer Skip James in 1931, with the Cream version being released in 1966 from the band’s album, “Fresh Cream.”
6. Tales of Brave Ulysses
“Tales of Brave Ulysses” is the perfect example of how blending great music and deep psychedelic poetry impacts a song. Many people consider this track as one of the earliest heavy metal songs. The 3-minute rock song features some great guitar tunes and powerful lyrics. Bruce’s lyrics on the song are inspired by Homer’s “Odyssey,” which he delivers in great fashion.
5. ‘Born Under a Bad Sign.’
When Cream covered the song “Born Under a Bad Sign” in their third album, “Wheels of Fire,” the Albert King original song was barely a year old. The track was released in 1968 and marked a change of style for Clapton, who took on a harder, more aggressive style in his music, far from the sweet “woman tone” which we were used to in the band’s first two albums.
4. Strange Brew
It’s incredible how Cream was able to do so much during the two years they were together. The song was released in 1967 and featured Eric Clapton on the vocals instead of Jack Bruce, who was the usual lead. The song marked the last release through their record label Reaction Records. The song was released in two versions, one which took a rock n roll style while the other took a typical blues shuffle.
3. White Room
The track was ranked position 376 in Rolling Stone’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The song features Jack Bruce on the bass, while Erick Clapton and Ginger Baker played the drums and guitar. The lyrics of the song were written by Jack bruce’s friend, Pete Brown. The song’s setting is in an empty apartment, and it talks about depression and hopelessness.
2. As You Said
The band’s studio album, “Wheels of Fire,” is often criticized, even though it has always been one of my personal favorites. The song does not contain any signature wailing or electric guitar, but it contains some fine vocals from Jack that give it an Indian-esque feel.
Another single coming off their album “Fresh Cream,” “Crossroads,” displayed the virtuosity of the three band members more than any other song. The track features some amazing Clapton’s solo, which has been revered by many of his fans, and a thundering bass by Jack Bruce that gives the song great power. The song was released in 1966 and has inspired numerous cover versions in addition to being included in Rolling Stone’s “500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll”.