Why did all three members of Cream hate Led Zeppelin?


Cream and Led Zeppelin were two of the biggest bands leading the charge as hard rock evolved into its own distinct entity at the end of the 1960s. Cream broke up just as Zeppelin was forming in the summer of 1968, so the two acts only had a brief overlap. Both bands had talented rhythm sections and legendary lead guitarists, but according to Cream members, the similarities end there.

Even though Eric Clapton is the only surviving member of the band, you’re likely to get a strong reaction from him if you try to compare Cream to Zeppelin. “We had a really strong foundation in blues and jazz,” Clapton explained in 2004 to Nigel Williamson. “Led Zeppelin carried on our legacy. But then they took it somewhere else, somewhere I didn’t particularly admire.”

Clapton, as usual, was the most composed of the three Cream members. Before they died in 2014 and 2019, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker both took potshots at Zeppelin. Bruce and Baker had harsh words for Led Zeppelin, possibly because they were the heirs to the hard rock throne. Alternatively, it could be attributed to the two being naturally miserly and combative.

Fuck off, Zeppelin, you’re rubbish,” Bruce responded. “You’ve always been crap, and you’ll never change.” Worst of all, people believe the nonsense they are fed. Cream is ten times the size of Led Zeppelin. You’re going to compare Eric Clapton to Jimmy Page?”

During an interview for the 2012 documentary Beware of Mr. Baker, director Jay Bulger happily took down some of Baker’s rock and roll contemporaries. While admiring The Rolling Stones‘ longtime stickman Charlie Watts, Baker dismissed comparisons to Keith Moon and John Bonham. Despite admitting that Bonham was talented, Baker refused to pay him any other compliments.

Baker asserted in Beware of Mr. Baker that the general public’s perception of Bonham’s drumming compared to his own is remarkably misguided. According to Baker, while Bonham had technique, he lacked the ability to swing, as would be the case with Mooney. If they were alive today, Baker suggested asking them for confirmation.

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