Amazing musicians – Check
Totally cool – Check
Wild explosive personalities (the stories of the fights between them are legendary) – Check
Archetype of the 3 man power band – Double Check
However one of the two biggest reasons that I love Cream is that they knew when to call it quits. Three albums and they broke up. Some would argue that they just barely touched the pinnacle of their prowess. I think about the bands I love and there are very few that I listen to who have more than a couple of years of music that I really love. There’s something about rock music. The best that this genre offers comes from a perfect, but not totally understood combination of talent, testosterone and partying (some bands focus too heartily on this last ingredient). This mystic combination only lasts a few years or an album or two before the combustible effects taper off. Unfortunately, most bands don’t get this like the Rolling Stones. Honestly, have they really done anything you’ve really given a crap about since the days of Hot Rocks? Anyway, I have the utmost respect for anyone who has the good sense to know when to give up …And Cream did.
The other reason is thanks to my younger son. Six years ago he and I were on a string of college tours in the Northeast. He was a senior in high school at the time and we were going to see a school on the coast of southern Connecticut. Where we lived at the time was 4-5 hours from the school and we were scheduled to be on a tour of campus at 11:00 a.m. That’s right, the dreaded pre-dawn start. Now mind you, neither my son nor I are early risers. After years of being in medicine, I’ve learned to be awake and function no matter how tired I am. My son has no such set of skills. Waking him before his body is ready is an act bordering on resuscitation. Picture these two sad souls droning down the interstate both in levels of consciousness not quit asleep though not really resembling awake when my son asks, ” Hey dad, you ever hear of the band Cream. ” Before I could shoot him one of those ‘You’re kidding me looks’ he pulled out Cream’s greatest hits album and put the disk into the player. And it was magic. We had the coolest day listening to that album and talking and just hanging out. It was one of those days when I was realizing that in a matter of months he would be leaving home and days we would spend together like this would be painfully fewer. We ended up having the greatest day together. And the best band in the world wrote the soundtrack…..