Cream – Born Under A Bad Sign (Royal Albert Hall 2005)
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 psychedelia-themed lyrics, Clapton’s blues guitar playing, Bruce’s powerful, lashing voice and prominent bass playing and Baker’s jazz-influenced drumming.
The group’s third album, Wheels of Fire, was the world’s first platinum-selling double album. The band is widely regarded as being the world’s first successful supergroup.
In their career, they sold over 15 million albums worldwide. Their 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”.
The band’s biggest hits are “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). The band 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.
The band was 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”.
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 refuted 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.”
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