It happened when their active life as a group had already come to an end, but this week in 1969 was doubly significant for Cream. Their version of Robert Johnson’s ‘Crossroads’ (otherwise known as ‘Cross Road Blues’) was released as a single in America on January 18, just as they were entering the UK charts with ‘White Room.’
The trio had called time on their brief but tumultuous two years or so together with a farewell tour in the autumn of 1968, but the following year would be a busy one for their loyal record buyers. March 1969 brought the release of their fourth and final studio album ‘Goodbye,’ soon followed by the single from it, ‘Badge.’ Later in the year, the ‘Best Of Cream’ album went top ten on both sides of the Atlantic.
‘Crossroads’ had not only been part of Cream’s live set since their early shows, but two-thirds of the group had already recorded it. A version by the short-lived Eric Clapton and the Powerhouse (featuring his soon-to-be Cream bandmate Jack Bruce along with Steve Winwood, Paul Jones, Pete York and Clapton’s former Roosters colleague Ben Palmer) was taped early in 1966; it was released that June on the multi-artist Elektra compilation ‘What's Shakin.’
The Cream version was recorded at their Winterland Ballroom show in San Francisco in March 1968, then included on the ‘Live At The Fillmore’ disc on their ‘Wheels Of Fire’ double album that summer. The US single released exactly 46 years ago reached No. 28 on the Hot 100.
Coincidentally, that was the same peak achieved by ‘White Room’ in both the UK and Germany. That classic Jack Bruce-Pete Brown composition, the lead song on the studio half of ‘Wheels Of Fire,’ had, by then, already been an American single and their second top ten hit there, reaching No. 6. Cream were effectively no more, but their records retained a strong presence on the scene of ’69.
Listen to ‘Crossroads’ and ‘White Room’ on ‘The Very Best Of Cream’ on Spotify
Download the album from Google Play or iTunes, or buy it on Amazon
Buy the original 1969 ‘Best Of Cream’ album on 180-gram vinyl in uDiscover’s Deluxe Audio Store
Explore our dedicated Cream Artist Page