Sunshine of Your Love

lyric paper
Jack Bruc & Ginger Baker Cream
Cream in 1967
Ginger Baker
Good Bye Cream Albert Hall 1968
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Sunshine of Your Love

Lyrics by Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Pete Brown

It's getting near dawn,
When lights close their tired eyes.
I'll soon be with you my love,
To give you my dawn surprise.
I'll be with you darling soon,
I'll be with you when the stars start falling.

I've been waiting so long
To be where I'm going
In the sunshine of your love.

I'm with you my love,
The light's shining through on you.
Yes, I'm with you my love,
It's the morning and just we two.
I'll stay with you darling now,
I'll stay with you till my seas are dried up.

I've been waiting so long
To be where I'm going
In the sunshine of your love.


The facts behind Sunshine of Your Love...

Band: Cream
Recorded: Atlantic Studios in New York, May 1967
Released: Atlantic, February 1968
Line-up: Drums - Ginger Baker, Guitar/Vocals - Eric Clapton, Bass Guitar/Vocals - Jack Bruce
Engineer: Tom Dowd

Sunshine of Your Love is the most recognised & iconic of Cream’s single releases; even though it reached an overall lower chart position than I Feel Free & Strange Brew.

Sunshine of your Love remains as one of the major songs of the sixties psychedelic era, played by both the troops in Vietnam & the hippy kids who dodged the draft. Perhaps more than any other song, it effortlessly encapsulates the spirit of those changing times as well as more than holding its own today. It has been covered many times, as well as featuring in several films, adverts & TV series & was voted 65th best song of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine in 2004.

Jack Bruce & acclaimed beat poet Pete Brown worked long nights together in London during late ’66, early ’67, feeling under pressure to come up with new Cream material.

Pete Brown had been a friend of Ginger Baker’s from ‘Jazz & Poetry’ events at London’s St Pancras Town hall back in 1961 and Ginger had introduced him to Cream in 1966 to help with the lyrics (thus beginning a still extant feeling of unease with this arrangement as Pete appeared to ‘pair off’ with Jack & not the co-operative ‘us’ that Ginger had intended).

A legendary dawn approached as Jack Bruce came up with the riff on his double bass & Pete looked despairingly out of the window for inspiration. At the launch of Jack Bruce’s biography ‘Jack Bruce: Composing Himself’ (Harry Shapiro, Jawbone: 2010), Pete described how he saw the street lamps winking out against the sky & spoke what he saw, ‘Its getting near dawn & lights close their tired eyes’... Sunshine of your Love struggled to be born.

Ginger Baker in his own autobiography Hellraiser: The autobiography of The World’s greatest Drummer (publ:John Blake 2009), remembers first hearing the song around the time they were recording The Disreali Gears Album in New York’s Atlantic Studios in May 1967.

Though apparently a bootleg recording of a Cream gig at The Ricky Tick Club in London features an early version of the song, so it seems likely he had already got to grips with an idea for putting it together before they came to record it. Ginger felt that he & Eric Clapton could easily have come up with more new material themselves given time, but that they were often interrupted by Jack offering new songs already written.

On one occasion Jack played the riff of Sunshine of your Love to them at a much faster tempo than the song in its present form. Ginger immediately disliked it and said, ‘Oh man, that’s terrible, let’s slow it right down!’ He put a backwards drum-beat on it & from that moment Ginger Baker said he knew it had the ‘wow’ factor. After he had arranged the main part of the song, he felt a strong middle-eight (chorus) was needed which he asked Eric to compose... Sunshine of your Love was ready for the world.

Sunshine of your Love however, was not immediately recognised by the powers that be as a great song. It was left off the Disreali Gears album in 1967 and finally released as a single in 1968, after both Otis Redding and Booker T had heard it being rehearsed at Atlantic & pushed for its release.

Sunshine of Your Love was a massive hit in the US and put Cream firmly on the map. Ginger Baker rates it as his favourite Cream song, in particular a live recording most likely (according to fan Matt Gregory) from the Winterland or Oakland concerts on the first leg of Cream’s 1968 US tour, in which says Ginger,’ the tempo was just perfect and the splash cymbal is (for a change) recorded perfectly’. This then is very likely to be the one on The Wheels of Fire album (released that August), that caused Sunshine of your Love to jump from where it first charted in February 1968 at number 36, to re-enter the chart and go to number 5.

Cream became so huge in the US that in 1968 they went on to break all the box office records previously held by The Beatles and five-lane freeways were regularly clogged with traffic on the way to see them.

It is interesting to note how in hindsight this classic song with its unforgettable riff is remembered by its creators. For Jack Bruce & Pete Brown it is their baby, forged in the sometimes fraught companionship of pressure of work. For Eric, whose large contribution of impressive & innovative guitar sound & memorable chorus, it merits little mention in his autobiography ‘Eric Clapton The Autobiography’ (Century:2007), he merely refers to it as a ‘hit single’ they had in the US in 1968.

But for Ginger the composition that he nursed through its birth pangs to become one of the major songs of the decade & beyond, it was an intensely personal experience, that summed up all that was for him, both magical & terrible about his time in Cream.

Engineer Tom Dowd has also credited himself with putting the final version together in the studio.....whatever the case, the one truth seems to be that a dynamic mix of personalities, talent & ideas all contributed to make Sunshine of your Love still able to eclipse the competition!