Sunshine of Your Love

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For the Ella Fitzgerald album, see Sunshine of Your Love (album).
"Sunshine of Your Love"
Single by Cream
from the album Disraeli Gears
B-side "SWLABR"
Released January 1968 (1968-01)[1]
Format 7" 45 RPM
Recorded May 1967 at Atlantic Studios, New York[2]
Genre Blues rock, psychedelic rock, hard rock, acid rock
Length 3:03[3] (single version)
4:10 (album version)
Label Atco (US), Polydor (UK)
Writer(s) Jack Bruce, Pete Brown, Eric Clapton
Producer(s) Felix Pappalardi[2]
Certification Gold (RIAA)[4]
Cream singles chronology
(November 1967)
"Sunshine of Your Love"
(January 1968)
"Anyone for Tennis?"
(May 1968)
Sunshine of your love guitar riff
Audio sample
file info · help

"Sunshine of Your Love" is a 1967 song by the British rock band Cream, written by Jack Bruce, Pete Brown, and Eric Clapton. Originally released on the album Disraeli Gears in November 1967[2] and later released as a single in January 1968,[1] it is Cream's only gold-selling single in the United States.[4] It features a distinctive electric/bass guitar riff and a guitar solo from Clapton.


Development of the song began when Bruce and Clapton attended The Jimi Hendrix Experience show at the Saville Theatre in London. After the concert, Bruce returned home and wrote the riff that runs throughout the song.[5] Most of the lyrics to "Sunshine of Your Love" were written during an all-night creative session between Bruce and Brown, a poet who worked with the band: "I picked up my double bass and played the riff. Pete looked out the window and the sun was coming up. He wrote 'It's getting near dawn and lights close their tired eyes…'"[6] Clapton later wrote the song's refrain which also yielded the song's title.[5]

Clapton created the guitar tone on the song using his 1964 Gibson SG guitar (the famous "Fool" guitar)[7] with a wah-wah pedal and a Marshall amplifier.[8] The song is renowned among guitarists as perhaps the best example of his legendary late-1960s "woman tone", a thick yet articulate sound that many have tried to emulate.[citation needed] For the solo, Clapton played the opening lines from the pop standard "Blue Moon" (1934), creating a contrast between the sun and the moon.[citation needed]

Drummer Ginger Baker came up with the song's tempo, which was based on African drumming.[5] Engineer Tom Dowd later claimed to have suggested the drum part, but Baker insists that he was indeed the one who came up with the drum pattern and didn't receive writing credit: "not even a thank you!"[9]

The drumming on the first two verses emphasizes beats one and three, contrary to rock and roll standard practice, which emphasises beats two and four.[10][11]

Cream's American record label, Atlantic, did not like the song originally and was not going to release it, but changed their mind when Booker T. Jones (of Booker T. & the M.G.'s, whose Stax label was at the time distributed by Atlantic) said he liked the song.[5] The 1970s disco and funk band Chic, while also signed to Atlantic Records during the birth of their classic hit single "Le Freak", were inspired by the song.[citation needed]


Charts (1968) Peak
Australian Go-Set Chart 22[12]
Canadian RPM Top Singles 3[13]
Dutch Top 40 27[14]
U.K. Singles Chart 25
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 5[15]

Year-End Chart[edit]

Chart (1968) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 6
Canadian RPM Top Singles 21

Appearances in popular culture[edit]

In film[edit]

The song appears on the soundtracks of the movies Uncommon Valor (1983), Goodfellas (1990), True Lies (1994), and School of Rock (2003).

In games[edit]

In television[edit]

  • The opening riff appears at the end of the Futurama episode "The 30% Iron Chef", after Bender offers to make the crew a brunch laced with LSD.
  • The song features in the closing credits of Lilyhammer Series 2, Episode 1 ("Millwall Brick").
  • In the The Wonder Years episode "The Heart of Darkness", Gary plays the song on his portable sound system as the boys drink beer and smoke around the campfire.[16]


In 2004, the song was ranked at No. 65 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[17] In March 2005, Q magazine placed "Sunshine of Your Love" at No. 19 on its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks.[citation needed] In 2009, VH1 named it the 44th best hard rock song of all time.[18] The song is also a part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll list.[19]

Solo versions[edit]

Jack Bruce performed the track live at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester on 1 June 1975 and released it on his album Live '75.[20] Another live version was released on Cities of the Heart and was performed during Jack's 50th birthday concerts in 1993.[21]

Jack Bruce also recorded the song with Peter Frampton on guitar on the Ringo Starr All-Starr Band tour 1997–1998.

On the Jack Bruce album Shadows in the Air the song was covered with Eric Clapton on guitar.[22]

Eric Clapton has covered the song numerous times on numerous tours.[23][24]

Cover versions[edit]

Jimi Hendrix performed an instrumental version of "Sunshine of Your Love" as a setlist staple throughout his 1968 and 1969 concerts, employing wailing guitar riffs in place of the lyrics and ending the song by dramatically slowing the tempo to a grinding halt, as well as including leitmotifs from other Cream songs such as "Outside Woman Blues". Recordings of the song can be found on Experience Vol. 1, The Last Experience Concert: Live at the Royal Albert Hall, the 2010 release Valleys of Neptune and the 2011 release Winterland in their entirety (slightly less than seven minutes) and in a truncated version on BBC Sessions. During a January 1969 appearance on the "Happening for Lulu" television show, Hendrix halted his band near the end of the set and broke into "Sunshine of Your Love", running the show past its scheduled end time. This moment inspired Elvis Costello's rendition of "Radio Radio" on Saturday Night Live in 1977.

Jackie DeShannon covered the song in 1968 on her "Laurel Canyon" album, which featured backing vocals from Barry White. Blood, Sweat & Tears also used the riff in their song "Blues Part II", and a cappella singer Bobby McFerrin recorded a voice instrumental version of the song on the album Simple Pleasures (1988), in which he replicates Clapton's guitar solo using only his vocals and some effects processing. Ella Fitzgerald also recorded a version in 1968. The trippiness of her rendition might be compared with that of The 5th Dimension's, which appeared on the vocal group's The Age of Aquarius LP. A version (with some sexually charged lyric changes) performed by Frank Zappa (and band) appears on his The Best Band You Never Heard in Your Life album, along with a cover of Hendrix' frequent staple "Purple Haze" and a number of other covers.

Japanese rock band Gastunk released a cover as a single in 1988.

SF Bay Area band Lifeunderwater covered the song during their live performances in the late 1980s.

English sludge band Fudge Tunnel recorded it on their album Hate Songs in E Minor in the 1990s.

Living Colour recorded their take on the song in 1994 for the True Lies soundtrack, which also appears on their Everything Is Possible: The Very Best of Living Colour 2006 compilation album.

"Sunshine of Your Love" was also given a skanking up-tempo cover by Bim Skala Bim on the Tuba City (1989) album.

Metalcore band Earth Crisis released a live version on their live album The Oath That Keeps Me Free and on their compilation album Forever True.

The song was also covered by Ozzy Osbourne on his 2005 cover album Under Cover.

Former Kyuss drummer Brant Bjork covered this song with his band Brant Bjork and the Bros on their double-album Saved by Magic.

The riff appears at the end of the noise section of "Dead Bob" by Nomeansno on the album Sex Mad. It is also borrowed by Alexander 'Skip' Spence at the end of the song "War In Peace" from his 1969 cult album Oar.

A hard rock cover of the song can be heard in the third season of Family Guy the episode of "Mr. Saturday Knight".

Funkadelic recorded a cover of the song for their album By Way of the Drum in 1984, but this album was shelved until its release in 2007.

Trini Lopez included "Sunshine of Your Love" on his Reprise Records album The Whole Enchilada (Reprise 6337).

The song was covered as a hard rock version on the Goo Goo Dolls's self-titled debut album.

"Sunshyne" on Thousand Foot Krutch's first album, That's What People Do is mostly based on the song.

American rock band Toto covered it on their 2002 cover album Through the Looking Glass.

Elvis Costello and The Police covered "Sunshine of Your Love" for Costello's show Spectacle: Elvis Costello with....

Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, James Franco and Shaun Weiss perform the song various times in Freaks and Geeks during the episode I'm With the Band.

Chilly played a disco version of the song on the album Come to L.A. in 1978.

Australian guitarist and singer Orianthi covered the song for Believe (II), the re-release of her album Believe.

Carlos Santana covered the song on his 2010 album Guitar Heaven: The Greatest Guitar Classics of All Time. The song features vocals by Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty (Thomas had appeared on Santana's "Smooth" in 1999). It was at one point the second-most popular Santana song on iTunes despite it not being released as a single.

Mahavishnu Orchestra use the main riff in the Track "Dream" on the 1973 live album Between Nothingness and Eternity.

Japanese guitarist and singer Tomoyasu Hotei covered the song for the album GUITARHYTHM V in 2009.

The American soul, funk and jazz vocalist Spanky Wilson recorded a version on her 1968 album Doin' It. It is still a favourite on the Northern Soul scene.

North American rock singer Lana Lane recorded the song on her 2006 covers album Gemini.


  1. ^ a b Strong, Charles (2002) [Originally published in 1994]. The Great Rock Discography (Sixth ed.). United Kingdom: Canongate Books. p. 323. ISBN 1-84195-312-1. 
  2. ^ a b c Disraeli Gears (CD liner). Cream. United Kingdom: Polydor Records. 1967. p. 2. 31453 1811-2. 
  3. ^ Atco Records Single 45-6544
  4. ^ a b RIAA Certification Search Set Format to "SINGLe" and type "Cream" under Artist to see results.
  5. ^ a b c d Schumacher, Michael (1995). "Chapter 4: Power Trio (1966–68)". Crossroads: The Life and Music of Eric Clapton (1st ed.). New York City, New York: Hyperion. pp. 89, 90. ISBN 0-7868-6074-X. 
  6. ^ "The Birth of Rock". Seven Ages of Rock. Season 1. Episode 1. BBC. BBC2.
  7. ^ Oxman, J. Craig (December 2011). "Clapton's Fool: History's Greatest Guitar?". Vintage Guitar. pp. 62–66. 
  8. ^ "Marshall Amplifiers: A History". Vintage Guitar. 30 March 2005. Retrieved 2 January 2012. 
  9. ^ Moormann, Mark (2003). Tom Dowd and the Language of Music. Language of Music Films. 
  10. ^ "The beat of rock and roll music comes mainly from a rhythm and blues boogie beat. The difference is made by the addition of an accented backbeat. This backbeat is one of the essential elements of rock and roll music.". Retrieved March 4, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Backbeat". Grove Music Online. 2007. 
  12. ^ "Go-Set Australian charts - 27 March 1968". 1968-03-27. Retrieved 2014-06-06. 
  13. ^ "RPM – Item Display: Top Singles – Volume 9, No. 26, August 26, 1968" (PHP). Library and Archives Canada. 31 March 2004. 
  14. ^ [1][dead link]
  15. ^ "Cream – Billboard Singles". United States: Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 11 December 2010. 
  16. ^ "MovPod - Just watch it!". Retrieved 2014-06-06. 
  17. ^ Jann S. Wenner, ed. (9 December 2004). "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone (United States: Jann S. Wenner) (963). Archived from the original on 4 December 2010. 
  18. ^ " music". Retrieved 7 February 2009. 
  19. ^ "The 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 4 December 2010. 
  20. ^ Jack Bruce – Live '75
  21. ^ Jack Bruce – Cities of the Heart
  22. ^ Jack Bruce – Shadows in the Air
  23. ^
  24. ^

External links[edit]