“I had always liked Ginger.” That’s Eric Clapton, speaking of course of drummer Ginger Baker, who, in 1966, happened to be a member of the Graham Bond Organisation, a band that had grown tired of Bond’s drug addiction, much the same as Clapton growing tired of his own band the Yardbirds’ inability to grow beyond their current sound in an era where music was changing drastically toward the psychedelic sound.
Clapton convinced Ginger Baker to work with Jack Bruce, a bassist known for his blues riffs and vocals from the band the Bluesbreakers. Bruce and Baker had actually worked together in Graham Bond’s band, and another supergroup, Powerhouse, in the past. In fact, the last time the two worked together in the Bond’s band, Bruce had to be kicked out for threatening Baker with a knife.
Past conflicts aside, the three musical virtuosos officially got together under the name Cream in 1966, and became one of the world’s first musical supergroups.
In the span of only three years, Cream propelled themselves to become hitmakers in both the UK and US, charting with I Feel Free, Sunshine of Your Love, White Room, Crossroads, Badge, Spoonful, Born Under a Bad Sign, Strange Brew, and more.
In 1968, the antagonism between Baker and Bruce would help bring the band’s time to a close. Clapton also said he felt that the band did not listen to each other enough. Eric proved this one night when the roaring stacks of amplifiers were blowing bass everywhere from Jack Bruce’s guitar, as Clapton and Baker stopped playing and let Baker continue on without the guitarist even noticing his bandmates stopped. Clapton often said the final gigs for Cream turned into nothing but a contest of talent for Baker and Bruce individually.
When Clapton’s inability to recruit Steve Winwood to Cream as a buffer for the feuding members failed, Baker and Clapton then moved forward after 1968 to create Blind Faith, while Bruce concentrated on his own solo projects.
In 1993, the band re-formed for just a moment to celebrate their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, along with another reunion in 2005 involving massive concerts at Royal Albert Hall and Madison Square Garden.