White Room – Cream

THIS DAY IN MUSIC……………………………………….on July 16th of 1966 Eric Clapton formed a new band he called Cream, along with two former members of the Graham Bond Organization, bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker. The trio lasted just two years, but left us with some classic Rock tunes like “Sunshine of Your Love” and this song “White Room”. To this day, Clapton says he does not look back on those days with great fondness, but many fans feel that he was at his best at this point. “White Room” is a song about depression and hopelessness, but the setting is an empty apartment. The lyrics were written by a poet named Pete Brown, who was a friend of Cream bass player Jack Bruce, the lead vocalist on the track. Brown also wrote the words for “Sunshine Of Your Love,” “I Feel Free” and “SWLABR.” The music was written first. Pete Brown’s first attempt at a lyric was something about a “doomed hippie girl” – the song was called “Cinderella’s Last Goodnight.” Jack Bruce wasn’t buying it, so he scrapped that idea and pulled up an eight-page poem he had written earlier, which he reworked into “White Room.” Jack Bruce wrote the music. He was inspired by a cycling tour that he took in France. The “white room” was a literal place: a room in an apartment where Pete Brown was living. It was not, as some suspected, an institution. Upon its release, Wheels Of Fire was given a terrible review by Rolling Stone magazine. They claim that “White Room” has “The exact same lines for guitar, bass and drums” as “Tales Of Brave Ulysses.” If you listen to both songs, they are somewhat similar, but nowhere near the level they claim. Eric Clapton used a wah-wah pedal on his guitar. He got the idea from Jimi Hendrix. Clapton refused to play this after leaving Cream until 1985, when Paul Shaffer urged him to play it while he was sitting in with the band on Late Night With David Letterman. That same year, Clapton played it at Live Aid. This was released as a single after Cream had broken up. It did better in the US than in England, since Cream had caught on in the States.