The musician Eric Clapton said couldn’t make mistakes

Eric Clapton

The majority of 1960s rock enthusiasts believed that the blues was the source of all music. In the early days of the British Invasion, acts like The Beatles were writing pop songs. Meanwhile, the London club scene was undergoing a creative reinvention. Bands like Fleetwood Mac and The Rolling Stones were crafting songs influenced by the Delta blues that had emerged from the American South years earlier. Eric Clapton grew up listening to the blues, but one of his bandmates showed him that rock and roll with a blues influence wasn’t the only thing that was possible to achieve.

Clapton knew he wanted to create something as powerful as what he was hearing before picking up a guitar. In an attempt to imitate the likes of Howlin Wolf, Buddy Guy, and Robert Johnson, Clapton’s first tenure with The Yardbirds demonstrated his prowess as a lead guitarist. This transformed the group from a respectable British Invasion unit into one of the most sought-after blues rock acts of all time.

By the time the group was writing songs like “For Your Love,” however, Clapton realized he would be better off. He decided to work with John Mayall on the now-iconic album Bluesbreakers. Clapton was more interested in what he could accomplish with drummer Ginger Baker. Even though the album would also showcase the skills of future Fleetwood Mac bassist John McVie.

Baker, who grew up listening to blues and jazz, gave each song a sense of strength. It flawlessly complemented Clapton’s lead guitar. When Clapton first heard Jack Bruce perform in clubs, he knew he had laid the groundwork for the first supergroup in history. Together, the three men created Cream, a unique blend of jazz, blues, and even psychedelic music.

Clapton frequently claimed he was only trying to keep up with his bandmates half the time. Despite this, he would go on to become something of a pioneering musician through his work with Cream. With Bruce and Baker’s prior collaborations and expanded musical knowledge, Clapton was able to step outside of his comfort zone. This transformation was evident on albums such as Disraeli Gears. He wrote solos for songs like “Sunshine Of Your Love” that deviated from conventional rock guitar.

Bruce was one of the best musicians Clapton had ever worked with, even though Baker was regarded as the group’s wild man. “The three of us were on the road all the time, trusting each other. I found I was giving more than I had ever done before, and having faith in them”. Clapton said in an interview with Rolling Stone, asserting that Bruce is unmatchable in his field. There is no way Jack could be mistaken about anything because he is such a musical genius. I trusted these people because I had to, and I followed through.

It’s understandable why Bruce changed the Cream sound so significantly. The bassist had a reputation for treating his four-string like a lead instrument, improvising whenever he could. And producing intense lines that became rhythmic hooks alongside Clapton’s riffs. He also came up with the guitar riff for the song “Sunshine Of Your Love.”

Although they had a great camaraderie in the first half of their career, the band broke up at the end of the 1960s. Baker and Clapton joined Blind Faith without Bruce before the guitarist started Derek and the Dominoes. While Clapton is undoubtedly one of the great masters of blues rock guitar, Bruce deserves to be in the same hallowed company given his background with the four-string.

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