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“Eric Clapton Has Some Poignant Words for Ginger Baker… but Was ‘Sunshine of Your Love’ the Right Selection for the Occasion?”


Ginger Baker, drummer of Cream, notable for extended solo-song “Toad” and for being somewhat of a “scoundrel,” [1] [2] left us for the stars last October. Clapton, though, Cream’s lead guitarist, assembled famous musicians like Roger Waters, Ron Wood and Steve Winwood in London just last night, presumably for London being the origin of Cream, and for Clapton’s recent return there after doing other work.

On the whole, the proceeding had some fiery touches to it – they opened with a three-minute video recognizing the late drummer, followed by some loose, off-the-cuff and genuine words from Clapton, which included the quip that “I think he’s here somewhere.” This is all shown in the video provided by Rolling Stone.

Clapton fired up what looked like his Stratocaster, it was projected my Marshall stacks into the audience with ferocity and a seemingly unusual clarity. But then the band busted into the song, “Sunshine of Your Love,” which of course was originally sung by primary Cream lead singer Jack Bruce. Adding to the considerable discomfort was that the song is so repetitive (and overplayed/over-heralded, in my personal opinion, me being kind of a pretty big Cream fan in particular), making for a limited experience in musical satisfaction and chops.

And then… there’s the subject matter, which is basically a direct romantic come-on, meant apparently for a woman, and certainly not a bandmate. Again, just as a substantial Cream fan I’m a little put off by the constant deluge of “Sunshine of Your Love” featuring, especially since, at one point, “White Room,” a far superior tune, was once considered their clear-cut most popular and best song. Certain other classic cuts from The Very Best of Cream come to mind as more appropriate numbers to unveil at this London commemoration, like “Sweet Wine,” which has a more communal, almost mournful feel with its adulation of alcohol, and “Badge,” which is actually not only a gem but a tune which actually directly handles the theme of mortality. Or maybe it’s just that Cream never wrote “The Rain Song.” Maybe that’s their problem. I just hope I don’t someday go to a library looking for Cream CD’s and see like 17 “Sunshine of Your Love” singles with Eric Clapton on the cover in a robe, sipping wine and gazing at a picture of his former drummer.

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[1] There’s an infamous story about Cream singer Jack Bruce calling up Baker on his deathbed in his final moments, for the sole reason of cursing him.

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[2] This was Clapton’s exact word to describe him in the introductory speech to the showcased commemorative London performance at hand.

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