Friday, December 01, 2006

History of Hard Rock/Heavy Metal: Cream

This is the beginning of a series that will focus on the origins of Hard Rock/Heavy Metal and continue on to the Nu Metal and Death Metal that prevails today.

Today, we start with a band considered by many critics and music historians as the first hard rock band - Cream.

Although Cream was only together for a little more than two years, their influence was immense, both during their late-'60s peak and in the years following their breakup. Cream was the first top group to truly exploit the power-trio format, in the process laying the foundation for much blues-rock and hard rock of the 1960s and 1970s. It was with Cream, too, that guitarist Eric Clapton truly became an international superstar.

Cream consisted of Clapton on guitar and vocals, Jack Bruce (bass, vocals) and Ginger Baker (drums). The band formed after Eric left John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and Baker and Bruce split from the Graham Bond Organisation.

With their amped-up blues and driving psychedelic rock, Cream would release only four albums, but their impact was immense. Disraeli Gears released in 1967 and the double album Wheels of Fire are classics and produced material like 'Sunshine of Your Love,' 'Strange Brew,', and 'White Room.'

Their decision to disband in late 1968 — at a time when they were seemingly on top of the world — came as a shock to most of the rock audience.

Here's a video for 'Sunshine of Your Love.' The song climbed as high as No. 5 on the Billboard charts. Listen to the classic Clapton riffs that set the stage for future hard rock and heavy metal bands.

No comments: