Cream may have had all too short a lifespan as far as their millions of admirers around the world were concerned — but at least they had the chance to say ‘Goodbye’ to each other. That, of course, was the title of the trio’s fourth and final studio album, released a few weeks after they announced that they would soon be splitting. The album made its American chart debut 46 years ago exactly, on February 15, 1969.
It had been an eventful few months for Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, who had only released the preceding album, ‘Wheels Of Fire,’ the previous July in the UK. Then came the announcement that Cream would call it quits after a farewell tour that autumn.
With a shortage of material available, ‘Goodbye’ was something of a mixed bag. Just as ‘Wheels Of Fire’ had (in its double LP version) been one disc of studio recordings and another of live performances, the final album was another 50-50 split. Three of its six tracks were recorded at the Forum in Los Angeles on that last tour.
But the record did boast a very fresh and newsworthy studio number, and one written by Clapton with George Harrison, no less: ‘Badge’ featured George, or “L’Angelo Mysterioso” as he had to be credited for contractual reasons, on rhythm guitar. The song became, in many eyes, the last classic Cream number, and went on to reach the UK top 20 as a single.
‘Goodbye’ made its US chart entry on Billboard’s Top LPs chart, as it was called at the time, at No. 107, as ‘The Beatles’ moved back to No. 1. In a 26-week chart run, it spent two weeks at No. 2 in March, held off the top spot by Glen Campbell’s ‘Wichita Lineman.’