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Cream bassist Jack Bruce dies at 71


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http://pitchfork.com/news/57200-creams-jack-bruce-dead-at-71/

Jack Bruce, the Scottish bassist and vocalist best known for his tenure as one-third of the power trio Cream, has died. His website features a note from his family confirming his passing. According to the BBC, he died at his home in Suffolk surrounded by his family; The Herald reports that the cause of death was liver disease. He was 71.

Bruce was born in Lanarkshire, Scotland in 1943. He briefly attended the Royal Scottish Academy of Music on a cello scholarship, but dropped out because the school wouldn't let him play jazz. Opting out of a proper education, he joined Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated in 1962 as their bassist. A year later, he joined the Graham Bond Organization. In 1966, he was a member of Manfred Mann.

He was apparently offered a touring spot with Marvin Gaye in the 1960s, but turned it down, and in the interim, joined John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, where he replaced John McVie. That's how he met Eric Clapton. Bruce recalled his first collaboration with Clapton in a Zigzag interview (via Rock of Ages):

"When Eric started to play ... whew, I'd never heard anything like it before. He'd seen and heard me with Graham [bond], but I'd never seen him before—but when we played together, we had an instant rapport, which led to us having long chats together about what our aims and hopes were. I thought that although the blues were great, there was more than that ... it was the beginning rather than the end."

Since Mayall's band didn't offer much of an outlet for experimentation, Bruce, Clapton, and Bruce's former Blues Incorporated bandmate Ginger Baker formed Cream in 1966. They were a band without an obvious leader. They operated more as a unit: everybody wrote songs, everybody took solos. Bruce wrote and sang some of the band's most famous songs, including "Sunshine of Your Love" and "White Room". They released four albums between 1966 and 1969—Fresh Cream, Disraeli Gears, Wheels of Fire, and Goodbye—but disbanded in 1968.

Bruce's first solo album came out in 1969. He released several albums over the decades, his most recent being Silver Rails, which came out last March. (Watch a documentary about that record below.) He was also involved in several groups, including Lifetime with John McLaughlin and Ringo Starr's All-Starr Band. He also did session work for artists including Lou Reed and Frank Zappa.

In 1993, Cream were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They received a Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammys in 2006. In 2005, the band reunited for a tour.

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The legends are passing. Where's the new generation to pick up the torch?

lol, sunshine of your love is one of my all-time favourites, and it's easy a top 5 riff. but uhhh, beyond that and White Room, Cream starts falling off hard and they start sounding like another English trio ripping off American blues music.

if that's the torch you're looking for, it's not around much. but Jack White mines the same territory and I think has done far more great songs than Cream. and I'm not even a big White fan.

not a technically great guitarist, but he riffs with the best of them and can get thousands of people freaking out pretty damn quickly.

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With a few exceptions rock music is currently dead. Itll come back. In the meantime all the "legends" are going to have to come from hip hop and Rap. Deal with it.

as a big time hip hop fan, i couldn't disagree more. rap doesn't produce many legends outside of being legendary characters. very few people actually listen to 'legendary' hip hop from the 80s and 90s, outside of the few usual suspects

i can't think of many people currently working in hip hop who are able to even produce a single solid album, let alone a string of them that will be remembered in 10 years.

edit: i hope it isn't the anti-rap monkeys +1'ing me, by the way. i do think legendary hip hop albums and artists do exist, i just don't think many people actually listen to them other than people who dig for their music or prefer a specific sound. so what good is being a legend if you aren't actually being listened to? that said, i don't know anyone who could name more than 3 Cream songs off the top of their head either.

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The legends are passing. Where's the new generation to pick up the torch?

There isn't any band or solo artist, that's capable of picking up the torch music wise. Most of today's music is youtube wonders, getting their 15 minutes of fame. Say what you will about the 60's and 70's, the demand for that era to tour says it all. Sadly as you say, all the legends are passing. One hell of a jam session going on somewhere me thinks.

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as a big time hip hop fan, i couldn't disagree more. rap doesn't produce many legends outside of being legendary characters. very few people actually listen to 'legendary' hip hop from the 80s and 90s, outside of the few usual suspects

i can't think of many people currently working in hip hop who are able to even produce a single solid album, let alone a string of them that will be remembered in 10 years.

edit: i hope it isn't the anti-rap monkeys +1'ing me, by the way. i do think legendary hip hop albums and artists do exist, i just don't think many people actually listen to them other than people who dig for their music or prefer a specific sound. so what good is being a legend if you aren't actually being listened to? that said, i don't know anyone who could name more than 3 Cream songs off the top of their head either.

White room

Sunshine of your love

Spoonful

Badge....

I grew up with cream and ilk.

Ginger baker...an influential drummer in an influential band

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as a big time hip hop fan, i couldn't disagree more. rap doesn't produce many legends outside of being legendary characters. very few people actually listen to 'legendary' hip hop from the 80s and 90s, outside of the few usual suspects

i can't think of many people currently working in hip hop who are able to even produce a single solid album, let alone a string of them that will be remembered in 10 years.

edit: i hope it isn't the anti-rap monkeys +1'ing me, by the way. i do think legendary hip hop albums and artists do exist, i just don't think many people actually listen to them other than people who dig for their music or prefer a specific sound. so what good is being a legend if you aren't actually being listened to? that said, i don't know anyone who could name more than 3 Cream songs off the top of their head either.

I think the way the entire music industry is structured makes it extremely difficult for anyone, hip hop or otherwise, to achieve "legendary" status in this day and age.

A few artists nowadays manage to maintain a healthy career for the better part of a decade, the norm seems to be for the industry to move on to the next big thing long before that. Artists like Lady Gaga and Madonna before her, have to constantly reinvent themselves, or risk being consigned to proverbial scrap heap.

Compare that to the bands who were big in the 60s and 70s, like The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Pink Floyd, ACDC, the Eagles and the Who. (to name just a handful) Still relevant 30 or 40 years later...

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