Friday, May 28, 2010

Cream - How Rock's Original Power Trio Continues to Influence

By Jim Hofman

Cream, the iconic musical power trio, was a musical tour de force in the middle and late 1960's. Consisting of drummer Ginger Baker, bassist Jack Bruce, and guitarist Eric Clapton, their music remains popular to this day. Discover how Cream continues to influence the musical artists of today...

Cream: Their Style

When most music fans think of Cream, the catch phrase "classic rock" comes to mind. And while it is true that most of the band's music is heard on classic rock radio stations these days, a more in depth view is required. The idea for Cream was hatched in early 1966 by drummer Ginger Baker, who was trained in the jazz styles of early 1960's London. He played in a British band called The Graham Bond Organization with bassist Jack Bruce, an exceptionally gifted musician also blessed with a strong voice.

Both soon crossed paths with a young virtuoso guitarist by the name of Eric Clapton, who was cutting his teeth on blues standards in the Chicago and Mississippi Delta style. Each of the three, disenchanted with their current situation, decided to join forces as Cream in June, 1966. At the time and in subsequent interviews, Clapton thought Cream would be a blues band. Alas, he had no idea of the musical direction and influences of both Baker and Bruce.

As Cream developed early on, it was clear this was something very unique. By the time the band dissolved in late 1968, Cream was noted for several musical styles, including blues, hard rock, pop, all underpinned with jazz stylings and lengthy improvisations.

The Ongoing Influence Of Cream

Despite being together for less than three years, Cream is still one of the best known bands of all time. They originally spawned super groups and power trios, like Blind Faith, Mountain, and several others in the early 1970's.

Later, Cream has been credited as an inspiration for popular rock acts in the 1980's and beyond. ZZ Top, an enormously popular rock and blues trio, was directly influenced by Cream, to the point of presenting them for induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.

The Police and Van Halen are two of many notably successful groups that have praised the influences of Baker, Bruce, and Clapton. Today, John Mayer plays occasionally with Clapton and has even recorded a version of "Crossroads", a blues standard which Cream made famous over forty years ago.

The Legacy Is Still Developing

All three members of Cream are still playing, with Bruce and Clapton more active than Baker. Cream reunited in 2005 for a highly successful live CD and DVD, with their Royal Albert Hall concerts being attended by rock royalty. Their legacy continues to evolve and their music has stood the test of time.

Discover the latest on the members of Cream, including insight into their music and careers. Visit our interactive site dedicated to the legacy of rock's original power trio at:

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