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#SLS — “White Room,” by Cream

Jim Adams is the music-loving aficionado host of Song Lyric Sunday.  Jim says:
This week we have the accumulation related prompts of Acquire/Collect/Gather/Secure and hopefully this will fit for everyone.

Here are the “rules”:
• Post the lyrics to the song of your choice, whether it fits the theme or not. If it does not fit, then please explain why you chose this song.
• Please try to include the songwriter(s) – it’s a good idea to give credit where credit is due.
• Make sure you also credit the singer/band and if you desire you can provide a link to where you found the lyrics.
• Link to the YouTube video, or pull it into your post so others can listen to the song.
• Ping back to this post or place your link in the comments section below.
• Read at least one other person’s blog, so we can all share new and fantastic music and create amazing new blogging friends in the process.
• Feel free to suggest future prompts.
• Have fun and enjoy the music.

Cream: Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton

Per wikipedia:
White Room” is a song by British rock band Cream, composed by bassist Jack Bruce with lyrics by poet Pete Brown. They recorded it for the studio half of the 1968 double album Wheels of Fire. In September, a shorter US single edit (without the third verse) was released for AM radio stations, although album-oriented FM radio stations played the full album version. The subsequent UK single release in January 1969 used the full-length album version of the track.

In 1967, at the initial session for Cream’s third album (then still unnamed), recording for “White Room” reportedly began in London. In December, work continued at Atlantic Studios in New York City and was completed during three sessions in February, April and June 1968, also at Atlantic.

Jack Bruce sang and played bass on the song, Eric Clapton overdubbed guitar parts, Ginger Baker played drums and timpani, and Felix Pappalardi – the group’s producer – contributed violas. Clapton played his guitar through a wah-wah pedal to achieve a “talking-effect”. Baker claims to have added the distinctive 5/4 or quintuple metre opening to what had been a 4/4
(common time) composition.

Rolling Stone magazine ranked “White Room” at number 376 on its “List of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”. A live recording appears on the group’s Live Cream Volume II album (1972.) In 1990, Clapton performed the song at his Royal Albert Hall concert series and in 1999 with Sheryl Crow at Crow’s Sheryl Crow and Friends: Live from Central Park concert. In 2005, the reunited Cream played the song at the Royal Albert Hall, which was released on their Royal Albert Hall London May 2-3-5-6, 2005 album.

In a song review for AllMusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine noted that the song has been:

covered frequently, and by a bizarre group of artists: Broadway star Joel Grey, fusion guitarist Frank Gambale, the Cache Valley Drifters, and metal band Helloween. That wildly eclectic list proves that ‘White Room’ is a multi-faceted song, containing equal parts dramatic spectacle, intricate musicality, and hard rock menace. Other artists emphasize different elements in their interpretations, but the original Cream version wrapped it all up in one startling package.

In a Songfacts interview with Pete Brown, he told the story:

It was a meandering thing about a relationship that I was in and how I was at the time. It was a kind of watershed period really. It was a time before I stopped being a relative barman and became a songwriter, because I was a professional poet, you know. I was doing poetry readings and making a living from that. It wasn’t a very good living, and then I got asked to work by Ginger and Jack with them and then started to make a kind of living.

And there was this kind of transitional period where I lived in this actual white room and was trying to come to terms with various things that were going on. It’s a place where I stopped, I gave up all drugs and alcohol at that time in 1967 as a result of being in the white room, so it was a kind of watershed period. That song’s like a kind of weird little movie: it changes perspectives all the time. That’s why it’s probably lasted – it’s got a kind of mystery to it.




In the white room with black curtains near the station
Black roof country, no gold pavements, tired starlings
Silver horses ran down moonbeams in your dark eyes
Dawnlight smiles on you leaving, my contentment

I’ll wait in this place where the sun never shines
Wait in this place where the shadows run from themselves

You said no strings could secure you at the station
Platform ticket, restless diesels, goodbye windows
I walked into such a sad time at the station
As I walked out, felt my own need just beginning

I’ll wait in the queue when the trains come back
Lie with you where the shadows run from themselves

At the party she was kindness in the hard crowd
Consolation for the old wound now forgotten
Yellow tigers crouched in jungles in her dark eyes
She’s just dressing, goodbye windows, tired starlings

I’ll sleep in this place with the lonely crowd
Lie in the dark where the shadows run from themselves
Songwriters: Jack Bruce / Pete Brown


25 thoughts on “#SLS — “White Room,” by Cream

  1. No strings could secure you, I would have never thought of that. This song has always been a mystery to me and maybe that is why I like it so much, along with Clapton’s wah wah. I also like the way it stops and then starts right back up again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know, I’m *shocked* nobody has picked a Cream album yet. Or have they? I don’t think so… You’re right this song, and everything Cream did was out of this world good. There is no way these three brilliant musicians with their “black hole” egos could have stayed together long. I’m just glad they converged for awhile.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was going to take ‘Fresh Cream’ but I took the combo of Blind Faith so I could get a taste of Cream and Traffic. Like I said , on another day they are a no brainer for me. I have probably been listening to the 3 Amigo’s longer than anyone else.

        Liked by 1 person

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