Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love” is one of the most famous songs of all time. Released in 1967 in a mixture of hard rock, psychedelia, and pop, it is one of the band’s best known and most popular songs.
The bassist and vocalist Jack Bruce based it on a distinctive bass riff, or repeated musical phrase, he developed after attending a Jimi Hendrix concert. Guitarist Eric Clapton and lyricist Pete Brown later contributed to the song.
Recording engineer Tom Dowd suggested the rhythm arrangement in which drummer Ginger Baker plays a distinctive tom-tom drum rhythm, although Baker has claimed it was his idea.
The song was included on Cream’s second album Disraeli Gears in November 1967, which was a best seller. Atco Records, the group’s American label, was initially unsure of the song’s potential. After recommendations by other label-affiliated artists, it released an edited single version in December 1967.
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The song became Cream’s first and highest charting American single and one of the most popular singles of 1968. In September 1968, it became a modest chart hit after being released in the UK.
Cream performed “Sunshine of Your Love” regularly in concert and several live recordings have been issued, including on the Royal Albert Hall London May 2-3-5-6, 2005 reunion album and video. Hendrix performed faster instrumental versions of the song, which he often dedicated to Cream.
Several rock journals have placed the song on their greatest song lists, such as Rolling Stone, Q magazine, and VH1. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame included it on its list of the “500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll”.
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