Cream were (was?) like a meteor that flashed across the musical sky for a short time but still made a substantial impact. They were one of the first jam bands and were, arguably, pioneers of heavy metal. Their music was particularly interesting because Clapton, Bruce, and Baker were non-rock musicians bringing their skills to rock and roll. The band lasted for only 2+years because of the extreme tension between Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker. The latter is a great musician and a horrible human being prone to outbursts of invective accompanied by violence.
Disraeli Gears was recorded in New York City under the watchful eye of Atlantic Records honcho Ahmet Ertegun. It was Cream’s commercial break through as well as an artistic triumph. What’s not to love about an LP that incorporates the name of one of my favorite British Prime Ministers? The story of how it came to be is a good one. Here’s Mad Ginger’s take on it:
“You know how the title came about – Disraeli Gears – yeah? We had this Austin Westminster, and Mick Turner was one of the roadies who’d been with me a long time, and he was driving along and Eric (Clapton) was talking about getting a racing bicycle. Mick, driving, went ‘Oh yeah – Disraeli gears!’ meaning derailleur gears… We all just fell over… We said that’s got to be the album title.”
The album cover was painted and designed by Martin Sharp who also wrote the lyrics for Tales of Brave Ulysses.
More on Disraeli Gears after the break.
The back cover is *almost* as cool as the front:
I was going to post the LP but it’s been messed with and is missing some tracks. Instead, here’s a *very* interesting “making of” film: