Disraeli Gears

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Disraeli Gears
Studio album by Cream
Released 10 November 1967 (1967-11-10)[1]
Recorded May 1967 at Atlantic Studios, New York City[1]
Genre Psychedelic rock, blues rock, hard rock
Length 33:37[2]
Label Reaction, Atco, Polydor
Producer Felix Pappalardi[1]
Cream chronology
Fresh Cream
(1966)
Disraeli Gears
(1967)
Wheels of Fire
(1968)
Singles from Disraeli Gears
  1. "Strange Brew"/"Tales of Brave Ulysses"
    Released: June 1967 (1967-06)
  2. "Sunshine of Your Love"
    Released: January 1968 (1968-01)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[2]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4/5 stars[3]
Sputnikmusic 5/5 stars[4]

Disraeli Gears is the second album by the English rock band Cream. It was released in November 1967[1] and went on to reach No. 5 on the UK Albums Chart.[5] It was also their American breakthrough, becoming a massive seller there in 1968, reaching No. 4 on the American charts.[6] The album was No. 1 for two weeks on the Australian album chart and was listed as the No. 1 album of 1968 by Cash Box in the year-end album chart in the United States.[7] The album features the two singles "Strange Brew" and "Sunshine of Your Love".

The title of the album is based on a malapropism. Eric Clapton had been thinking of buying a racing bicycle and was discussing it with Ginger Baker, when a roadie named Mick Turner commented, "it's got them Disraeli Gears", meaning to say "derailleur gears", but instead alluding to 19th-century British Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli. The band thought this was hilarious, and decided that it should be the title of their next album.

The original 11-track album was remastered in 1998, and then subsequently released as a two-disc Deluxe Edition in 2004.

In 1999, the album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

In 2003 the album was ranked No. 114 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[8] VH1 also named it their 87th greatest album of all time in 2001. In 2008, the album won a Classic Rock Roll of Honours Award for Classic Album.[9]

Background[edit]

Original album[edit]

The album was recorded at Atlantic Studios in New York during May 1967, following the band's nine shows as part of Murray the K's "Music in the 5th Dimension" concert series. Cream's American label, ATCO, was a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlantic Records.[10][11]

The sessions were produced by future Mountain bassist Felix Pappalardi – who co-wrote the tracks "Strange Brew" and "World of Pain" with wife Gail Collins – and were engineered by Tom Dowd – who would later work with Clapton on projects such as Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs and 461 Ocean Boulevard. The owner of Atlantic Records, Ahmet Ertegun, was also present during the sessions.[12]

According to Dowd the recording sessions took only three and a half days, a feat considering the length of the album. The band's visas expired on the very last day of recording.

The original 11-track album was remastered by Joseph M. Palmaccio at PolyGram Studios[1] for a 1998 release, including bonus photographs accompanying the original album artwork.

Disraeli Gears Deluxe Edition[edit]

The "Disraeli Gears Deluxe Edition" includes the complete album in both mono and stereo, demos, alternate takes and tracks taken from the band's live sessions on BBC radio. Included an outtake of "Blue Condition" with Eric Clapton on lead vocals and demos of the songs "Weird of Hermiston" and "The Clearout" which were not released until Jack Bruce's first solo album "Songs for a Tailor".

Artwork[edit]

The cover art was created by Australian artist Martin Sharp who lived in the same building as Clapton, The Pheasantry in Chelsea. Sharp would go on to create the artwork to Cream's next album Wheels of Fire and co-wrote the songs "Tales of Brave Ulysses" and The Savage Seven movie theme "Anyone for Tennis" with Eric Clapton. The photography for the album was taken by Bob Whitaker who is known for the photography for several works by The Beatles including the controversial Yesterday and Today.

The front cover consists of a psychedelic collage with the album's title centred and the band name below, surrounded by a floral arrangement. Martin Sharp was attempting to capture the sound of the music in the cover, which he describes as a "warm florescent sound"[13]

The cover art was also used for the compilation album Those Were the Days.

Song styles[edit]

"Disraeli Gears" features the group veering away, quite heavily, from their blues roots and indulging in more psychedelic sounds. The most blues-like tunes on the album are the remake of "Outside Woman Blues", the Bruce/Brown composition "Take it Back" which had been inspired by the contemporary media images of American students burning their draft cards which featured harmonica work by Jack Bruce,[14] and the opening track "Strange Brew" which was based on a 12-bar blues song called "Lawdy Mama" and featured an Albert King-style guitar solo.[12]

Track listing[edit]

Original album[edit]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. "Strange Brew"   Eric Clapton, Felix Pappalardi, Gail Collins Eric Clapton 2:46
2. "Sunshine of Your Love"   Jack Bruce, Pete Brown, Clapton Jack Bruce, Clapton 4:10
3. "World of Pain"   Pappalardi, Collins Clapton, Bruce 3:03
4. "Dance the Night Away"   Bruce, Brown Bruce, Clapton1 3:34
5. "Blue Condition"   Ginger Baker Ginger Baker 3:29
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. "Tales of Brave Ulysses"   Clapton, Martin Sharp Bruce 2:46
2. "SWLABR"   Bruce, Brown Bruce 2:32
3. "We're Going Wrong"   Bruce Bruce 3:26
4. "Outside Woman Blues"   Arthur Reynolds, arr. Clapton Clapton 2:24
5. "Take It Back"   Bruce, Brown Bruce 3:05
6. "Mother's Lament"   Traditional, arr. Clapton, Bruce, Baker Baker, Bruce, Clapton2 1:47
  1. ^ Sung as a two-part harmony.
  2. ^ Sung as a three-part harmony.

Disraeli Gears – deluxe edition (2004)[edit]

Disc one (stereo)[edit]

Original album
Tracks 1–11
Out-takes
  1. "Lawdy Mama" - version 1 3 (Traditional, arr. Clapton) – 2:00
Recorded 3 April 1967 at Atlantic Studios
Recorded by Ahmet Ertegun[12]
  1. "Blue Condition" - alternate version (Baker) – 3:13
Eric Clapton vocal, previously unreleased
Demos 3
  1. "We're Going Wrong" (Bruce) – 3:49
  2. "Hey Now, Princess" (Bruce, Brown) – 3:31
  3. "SWLABR" (Bruce, Brown) – 4:30
  4. "Weird of Hermiston" (Bruce, Brown) – 3:12
  5. "The Clearout" (Bruce, Brown) – 3:58
Recorded 15 March 1967 at Ryemuse Studios, London

Disc two (mono)[edit]

Original album and out-takes
Tracks 1–13
BBC recordings 4
  1. "Strange Brew" (Clapton, Pappalardi, Collins) – 3:00
  2. "Tales of Brave Ulysses" (Clapton, Sharp) – 2:55
  3. "We're Going Wrong" (Bruce) – 3:25
Recorded 30 May 1967, broadcast 3 June on BBC Light Programme
  1. "Born Under a Bad Sign" (Booker T. Jones, William Bell) – 3:03
  2. "Outside Woman Blues" (Reynolds) – 3:18
  3. "Take It Back" (Bruce, Brown) – 2:17
Recorded 24 October 1967, broadcast 29 October on BBC Radio 1
  1. "Politician" (Bruce, Brown) – 3:59
  2. "SWLABR" (Bruce, Brown) – 2:32
  3. "Steppin' Out" (James Bracken) – 3:37
Recorded 9 January 1968, broadcast 14 January on BBC Radio 1
  1. ^ Tracks previously released on the Those Were the Days box set.
  2. ^ Tracks previously released on the BBC Sessions compilation album.

Personnel[edit]

Cream
Production

Charts[edit]

Album[edit]

Chart (1967) Peak
position
Finland (Finnish Albums Chart) 1
UK (Top 40 Albums)[5] 5
Norway (Top 40 Albums)[15] 16
Chart (1968) Peak
position
US Billboard 200[6] 4
US Cash Box Top 100 Pop Albums Year-End Chart[7] 1
Australia Australian Albums Chart (Kent Music Report) 1
Canada (Top 50 Albums)[16] 10
Chart (2010) Peak
position
Greece (Top 50 Albums)[17] 29

Singles[edit]

Year Single Position
Billboard Hot 100 UK Top 40[5]
June 1967 "Strange Brew"/"Tales of Brave Ulysses" - No. 17
October 1967 "Sunshine of Your Love"/"SWLABR" No. 5 No. 25

Certification[edit]

Certified by the RIAA[18]

Organization Level Date
RIAA – USA Gold 22 May 1968
RIAA – USA Platinum 11 Oct 1993

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Format Catalogue
United Kingdom November 1967 Reaction Records mono LP 593 003
stereo LP 594 003
United States November 1967 Atco Records mono LP 33-232
stereo LP SD 33-232
Germany November 1967 Polydor Records stereo LP 184 105
Japan May 1968 Polydor Records stereo LP MP-1390
United States 1977 RSO Records LP RS 1–3010
United States 1986 Polydor Records CD 823 636-2
United States 2004 Polydor Records/Chronciles Deluxe Edition CD B0003331-02
United Kingdom 2004 Polydor Records Deluxe Edition CD 0602498193129

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Disraeli Gears (CD liner). Cream. USA: Polydor Records. 1967. p. 2. 31453 1811-2. 
  2. ^ a b Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Disraeli Gears – Cream (Review)". Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 7 November 2010. 
  3. ^ Cream album guide
  4. ^ Sputnikmusic review
  5. ^ a b c "UK Top 40 Hit Database". everyHit.com.  Search "Cream" in Name of Artist
  6. ^ a b "Cream – Billboard Albums". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 7 November 2010. 
  7. ^ a b Cash Box Top 100 Pop Albums of 1968.
  8. ^ "The RS 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone Magazine. 18 November 2003. Retrieved 19 March 2009. 
  9. ^ http://www.classicrockmagazine.com/news/the_dirt/classic_rock_roll_of_honour/
  10. ^ "First US show for Cream and The Who that most fans don't know about." Songheads. 1 August 2009.
  11. ^ "Eric Clapton Interview," on YouTube HOEPLA Television Show, VPRO Television, The Netherlands, 28 July 1967.
  12. ^ a b c Clapton: The Autobiography by Eric Clapton
  13. ^ Platt, John (1998). Cream-Disraeli Gears : Classic Rock Albums. Schirmer Books. pp. 92–93. ISBN 0-8256-7176-0. 
  14. ^ "Cream: Disraeli Gears", Classic Albums on VH1, 3 November 2006
  15. ^ Steffen Hung. "Cream – Disraeli Gears". norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  16. ^ "Item Display – RPM – Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  17. ^ Steffen Hung. "Cream – Disraeli Gears". greekcharts.com. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  18. ^ Type in "Cream" under "Artist".
  • Cream, Disraeli Gears (1967)
  • Cream, Disraeli Gears – Deluxe Edition (2004)

External links[edit]

Preceded by
John Wesley Harding by Bob Dylan
Australian Kent Music Report number-one album
30 March 1968 – 12 April 1968
Succeeded by
A Man and a Woman (soundtrack)
by Francis Lai