Following the success of their debut album, in 1967 Cream visited the US and played nine dates in New York. They then went into Atlantic Studios and in under four days recorded their second album with producer Felix Pappalardi.
A single was released ahead of the album - "Strange Brew", a catchy tune which was notable for featuring Eric Clapton on lead vocals. It charted at #17 in the UK. That summer they performed as headliners for the first time in the US, playing at the Fillmore West in San Francisco. They were very well received, as they played long, extensive sets which drew their songs out into lengthy jams, making them very popular with San Francisco's hippie scene.
The album Disraeli Gears came out in November, and it showed that their music had taken a great step forward. They had moved away from their blues roots towards a heavier, more psychedelic sound. Clapton was singing more lead vocals, and Ginger Baker also got one to himself. Another interesting development was Clapton's use of the wah pedal - he was among the first rock guitarists to make the effect popular. The album was full of songs which would soon go down as Cream classics, the most famous among them being "Sunshine Of Your Love", with its distinctive guitar & bass riff. Released as a single, it got to #25 in the UK, but more importantly gave them their first US hit, getting all the way to #5.
Disraeli Gears turned out to be a massive successs, being the band's American breakthrough (getting to #4 on the US album chart). It was with this album, generally seen as their best, that they moulded their distinctive style to perfection.
Fresh Cream (1966) <|> Wheels Of Fire (1968)
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