On July 10, 1968 Eric Clapton announced that Cream would split following their current tour.
On November 26, 1968, Cream said goodbye with the second of two nights at London’s Royal Albert Hall. With internal tensions driving the band apart, the show would mark the end of a whirlwind career that featured three albums, soon to be four with the posthumous ‘Goodbye’, and legions of fans. The farewell shows were documented for broadcast by the BBC, but the end result left many of Cream’s admirers cold and complaining of poor sound and presentation. The band reunited in 2005, again playing the Royal Albert Hall, before Jack Bruce’s death earlier this year.
On July 10, 1968, Eric Clapton announced that Cream were to split. One of the greatest power trios of all time, they had by that point released three albums – ‘Fresh Cream’, ‘Disraeli Gears’ and ‘Wheels Of Fire’ – with ‘Goodbye’ to follow in their wake. Their demise came about as egos continued to clash, with Clapton often playing peacemaker between drummer Ginger Baker and bass player Jack Bruce, and Clapton’s head was turned by the Band’s emergence.
Clapton discussed Cream’s end with Uncut’s Nigel Williamson back in 2013, saying: “We were playing six nights a week and I lost weight until I was about nine stone and I looked like death. I was in bad shape. It wasn’t so much self-abuse as self-neglect. I think that all added to the psychology of the situation, which was pretty tricky at the best of times. Ginger and Jack were dynamic characters and pretty overwhelming. It felt like I was in a confrontational situation 24 hours a day.
“Half my time was spent trying to keep the peace. And on top of that you’re trying to be creative and make music. I was calling home to Robert Stigwood, our manager, and saying, ‘Get me out of here – these guys are crazy. I don’t know what’s going on and I’ve had enough.’ He’d always say to give it one more week. That was bearable as long as there was no visible alternative. But when something came along that showed another way, that was it for me.”