The tragic news of the passing of rock legend Jack Bruce, 71, recently, revived memories of many around the world of the memorable guitar riff he performed in the classic Sunshine of Your Love with Cream. Cream was the first so-called “power group” in rock which consisted of three legends including Eric Clapton and drummer Ginger Baker.
The guitar riff which Bruce performed while he sang the lead vocals on the song ushered in a new era of blues/rock sounds which skyrocketed Cream to the top of record charts around the world. Bruce, who was a Scotsman and had his roots in the blues world, has been rated by some as the greatest bass guitar player on the history of rock. Even those who don’t place him at the top include him in the pantheon of the top blues guitarists along with the other alltime greats.
Sunshine was an anthem to a generation which had never heard such a combination of notes flowing from a guitar before. Not only was the classic riff a new sound for music fans to absorb, it created new dance gyrations for people trying to connect their moves to the unique guitar sound. People responded in radically different ways on the dance floor. Some stood with their feet affixed to the floor in one location and moved their arms and bodies to the beat of the sound. Others moved wildly around the floor, sliding their feet across great expanses.
The first time many people heard Sunshine is still etched in the minds of many. While it can’t rate up there in significance with the JFK Assassination or the Bobby Kennedy Assassination or the murder of Martin Luther King, it was still one of those “moments.”
Sadly for Cream fans, the group split up only two years after they commenced their superstar collaboration. One theory is the reason for the breakup was there were differences between Bruce and Baker. After the split up of Cream, Clapton and Baker teamed up with yet another superstar Steve Winwood to form Blind Faith.
Bruce went on some solo ventures and teamed up frequently with small groups for short periods of time. Cream re-united briefly for a few performances in 2005 and for a performance when the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, according to the New York Times.
Bruce passed away at home in Suffolk, England, from liver disease. He had a liver transplant several years ago.
Bruce was a prolific writer having authored “I Feel Free”, “White Room” and many other Cream classics. He collaborated with Clapton and poet Pete Brown in writing Sunshine.
Roger Waters, of Pink Floyd, said Bruce was the most gifted “bassist ever born.”
Bruce is survived by his wife Margrit, four children and a granddaughter.
He is reported to have influenced two generations of bass guitarists with his adventurous style.
Before he became an international rock star, Bruce was a cellist who wanted to play jazz. His latest album came out in March and is entitled “Silver Rails.”
He had an incredible career in music which spanned six decades.
Kathy Valentine, bass guitarist for the Go-Gos, said Bruce was an idol of hers. While she emulated his bass guitar style, she said it was his voice that was really incredible.
His earthly existence will continue through his music which ended far too soon for his many fans around the globe.
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