4 Songs You Didn’t Know Eric Clapton Wrote for Cream

Talking about Eric Clapton can get a little thorny these days. While many recognize him as one of the greatest guitar players ever, he has also had his fair share of controversial moments, whether criticizing immigrants in England or the COVID-19 vaccination.

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Yet, one thing is for sure, Clapton has had a major impact on rock and roll. Below, we wanted to dive into a quartet of songs that Clapton wrote for the iconic British-born rock group, Cream.

[RELATED: 5 Songs You Didn’t Know Benny Blanco Wrote for Other Artists]

These are four songs you likely didn’t know Eric Clapton helped write for Cream.

1. “Sunshine of Your Love”

Written by Eric Clapton, Pete Brown, Jack Bruce

Certainly one of Cream’s most famous songs, “Sunshine of Your Love” continues to show up in movies and television shows today. Written by Cream’s Jack Bruce and Clapton with lyrics by British performance artist Pete Brown, the song includes hard rock elements as well as psychedelic ones. The song and its central guitar riff, said Clapton, was inspired by a 1967 Jimi Hendrix show in London that left the members of Cream floored.

It’s getting near dawn
When lights close their tired eyes
I’ll soon be with you my love
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

2. “Badge”

Written by Eric Clapton, George Harrison

As many classic rock aficionados know, Clapton and George Harrison have quite a history. Clapton was in love with Harrison’s wife, Pattie Boyd, and later married her after she and the former Beatle split. In the case of the song “Badge,” however, the two collaborated, which was cut for Cream’s final album together, the aptly titled 1969 LP, Goodbye. Originally untitled, the notes for the song included the word “bridge” written by Harrison. A word that Clapton thought read “Badge,” and thus the title.

Thinkin’ ’bout the times you drove in my car
Thinkin’ that I might have drove you too far
And I’m thinkin’ ’bout the love that you laid on my table

I told you not to wander ’round in the dark
I told you ’bout the swans, that they live in the park
Then I told you ’bout our kid, now he’s married to Mabel

3. “Strange Brew”

Written by Eric Clapton, Felix Pappalardi, Gail Collins

Another of Cream’s most famous songs, “Strange Brew” was released in the summer of 1967 and later included on the band’s album, Disraeli Gears. Clapton, one of the song’s co-writers, sings lead vocals, taking the place of normal singer Jack Bruce.

Strange brew
Kill what’s inside of you

She’s a witch of trouble in electric blue
In her own mad mind she’s in love with you
With you
Now, what you gonna do?

4. “Tales of Brave Ulysses”

Written by Eric Clapton, Martin Sharp

Released in the summer of 1967 as the B-side to the original release of the song above, “Strange Brew,” “Tales of Brave Ulysses” was also included later on the band’s album, Disraeli Gears. “Tales of Brave Ulysses” is also known as one of the first songs to feature the now-famous wah-wah guitar pedal, which Clapton took advantage of throughout the tune.

You thought the leaden winter
Would bring you down forever
But you rode upon a steamer
To the violence of the sun

And the colors of the sea
Bind your eyes with trembling mermaids
And you touch the distant beaches
With tales of brave Ulysses
How his naked ears were tortured
By the sirens sweetly singing
For the sparkling waves are calling you
To kiss their white laced lips

Photo by Carl Studna / Warner Records

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