|In September of '68, Cream entered IBC Studios in London to record a few last tracks for their final album.|
The album, appropriately enough, was entitled Goodbye. The plan had been to do another double album,
along the lines of Wheels of Fire, with one disc being studio recordings and the second filled with live
material from their final tour.
However, the idea was shelved and a single album was released, in March of 1969.
The album topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic, and remained in the U.K. Top Ten for thirteen
Badge / What a Bringdown, was released as a single and was, surprisingly, a flop. (It may be that sales
were low simply because fans had already bought the album and saw no need to buy the single as well).
The members of the band had taken a three month break from each other, but so deep were the wounds
that three months was not nearly long enough to heal them. Meeting for their first rehearsal after the break,
they ended up in opposite corners of the studio, staring at the floor.
Ironically, their last album featured one song by each member of the band. Ginger had always felt that the
writing should be evenly shared by the three of them. Ginger's contribution was What a Bringdown.
Jack teamed up with Pete Brown, as they had so often done in the past, and came in with Doing That
Eric submitted Badge, which he had written with George Harrison of the Beatles.
For much of the recording the group was not even together in the studio. They would come in, record their part and leave. The exception was for|
Badge. I suppose that when you have a Beatle in the studio, it's expected that you show up.
George says; 'On Badge, Eric doesn't play guitar up until that bridge. He sat through it with his guitar in the Leslie (rotating speaker) and Felix
Pappalardi was the piano player. So there was Felix, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker and me. I played the rhythm chops right up to the bridge, at which point
Eric came in on the guitar with the Leslie. And he overdubbed the solo later. I wrote most of the words, Eric had the bridge and he had the first couple
of chord changes. I was writing the words down, and when we came to the middle bit I wrote "Bridge". From where he was sitting, opposite me, he
looked and said "What's that-Badge?" So he called it Badge, because it made him laugh'.
Due to contractual problems, Harrison's name could not appear on the album, so he assumed the pseudonym of L'Angelo Misterioso. The original
album does not even list Harrison in the credits for Badge, (although the CD does).
In any event, the identity of L'Angelo Misterioso was no mystery. In fact, it may have been one of the worst kept secrets in the history of rock music.
On Tour, AgainOn October the fourth, 1968, Cream began their farewell tour at the Almeda County Coliseum, in
Oakland, California. Whether it be a tribute or a condemnation of their management, here was a
group, officially disbanded, starting out on yet another tour!
The tour was ostensibly scheduled to give Cream fans a final opportunity to see the band perform.
It is more likely that it was simply one last ringing of the cash register that motivated their
management and the record execs.
It is certainly a tribute to the musicians, that they would once again agree to put themselves through
the grind of another tour.
The lads might have been forgiven had they chosen to simply go through the motions during these
final shows (indeed, some have suggested that they did).
Yet, when the three of them got on stage together the music took over.
Such is their musicianship that they could not give any less than their best. They may have been
playing more as three individuals, rather than as a band, but they had played these numbers so often
that they would always know how to get it all back together again.
Even if they were not always as inspired as they had been in the past, they were every bit as
Eric says; "For me it was always just a question of playing. As long as, I suppose, the political side of
it and the success side of it didn't overtake everything I was happy, because we'de just go and do a
show and I was then set free. Just playing, for me, was the answer to everything".
The "live" tracks on, Goodbye, were recorded October 19 at The Forum, in Los Angeles. The
numbers are as good as any on record.
(Ya gotta love Eric's flashy blues riff at the end of Sitting on Top of the World).
1) On November the second, Cream played to twenty-two thousand people at New York's Madison Square Garden. They were presented with the first ever platinum disc for selling |
two million dollars worth of Wheels of Fire, (due to advance sales, the album had been certified gold before it even hit the stores).
2) Only two years earlier Cream had been playing town halls and pubs. Now they were earning $25,000 per show. Their final tour of America grossed $650,000. Small wonder their
management was keen on the idea of a final tour!
Photo Credits; Top; Goodbye cover: photos by Roger Phillips.
Middle right; George Harrison, Unknown.
Middle right; Cream on tour, Unknown.
Bottom; Soundcheck, Tony Gale: London Features International.