Interested in history? This week I was remembering 1968 when Cream‘s album, Wheels of Fire was released. Eric Clapton was at the beginning of his career and his fascination with American Blues fused with rock is the standard on this album.
Cream’s Wheels of Fire became the soundtrack of my life that year. Eric Clapton’s virtuoso guitar, Jack Bruce’s bass, and Ginger Baker on the drums created a sound that was transformational.
For me, life was in California, but the news went beyond those borders. That summer of 1968 began with the shooting murder of Martin Luther King. In August, Richard Nixon was elected as the presidential candidate during the Republican Convention, and eventually elected president in November. Every night you could watch Walter Cronkite announce the latest death toll of Americans on the news from the Vietnam War. Finally, the Civil Rights Act of 1968 was signed.
Most importantly, that August in 1968 was the month that my mother died – she was 37 – and today I realize how young that really was. As my life unraveled, Wheels of Fire became the touchstone of a new reality that I had moving into the future. The album had songs of memory (Those were the Days), political wit (The Politician), fantasy (Pressed Rat and Warthog), and the blues, (Born Under a Bad Sign and Crossroads). Wheels of Fire carried me through that first year on my own and helped me imagine how on earth I was going to put my life back together again. Thank you, Cream for the music that provided magic and comfort in our lives.
Hear the entire album here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPIXJ7B2I7E