1968's Wheels Of Fire was Cream's third album, again produced by Felix Pappalardi, who was almost a fourth member in the studio. It was a double album, divided between one disc of new studio material and one disc of live recordings from the Fillmore West and Winterland Ballroom venues in San Francisco. It was an ambitious project, and saw the trio move even further away from their blues roots and approach near proggressive rock territory. The studio disc featured many of the band's best-known songs, most notably Jack Bruce's "White Room", which got to #6 in the US when released as a single. It also had reworkings of a couple of blues tunes - "Sitting On Top Of The World" and "Born Under A Bad Sign". The live disc showcased the sound that had made them so popular in America - loud, heavy blues-rock, with drawn-out solos. The versions of "Spoonful" and "Toad" included went on for over fifteen minutes each. "Train Time", which featured Jack Bruce's harmonica playing, was a song he and Ginger Baker had origianlly recorded back in 1965 with The Graham Bond Organizaton. "Crossroads", based on Robert Johnson's "Cross Road Blues", was sung by Eric Clapton and became one of his signature pieces.
The album became their most successsful, getting to #3 in the UK and #1 in the US. Cream were at the height of their fame, truly one of the biggest rock acts in the world, but it was not to last...
Disraeli Gears (1967) <|> Goodbye (1969)
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