Strange Brew (song)

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"Strange Brew"
Strange Brew by Cream Canadian single side-A.png
Side A of Canadian single
Single by Cream
from the album Disraeli Gears
B-side"Tales of Brave Ulysses"
Released
  • June 1967 (1967-06) (single)
  • 2 November 1967 (album)
RecordedApril 1967
StudioAtlantic, New York City
GenrePsychedelic rock, blues rock
Length2:45
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Felix Pappalardi
Cream UK singles chronology
"I Feel Free"
(1966)
"Strange Brew"
(1967)
"Anyone for Tennis"
(1968)
Cream US singles chronology
"I Feel Free"
(1967)
"Strange Brew"
(1967)
"Spoonful"
(1967)
Music video
Cream – "Strange Brew" (1967) on YouTube

"Strange Brew" is a song by the British rock band Cream. First released as a single in June 1967 in the UK and US,[1] it was later added to their second studio album Disraeli Gears.[2] The song features Eric Clapton on lead vocals rather than the usual lead by Jack Bruce. The single peaked at number 17 on the UK Singles Chart in July of that same year. In the UK, it was the last Cream single to be released by Reaction Records.

Background[edit]

In April 1967, during their first trip to New York, Cream recorded a song called "Lawdy Mama" with Ahmet Ertegun at Atlantic Studios, at the beginning of the sessions for what would become the Disraeli Gears album. The band cut two versions of the song, the first a typical blues shuffle, and the second converted to straight time in a more rock 'n' roll style (both versions can be heard on the Those Were the Days collection). Producer Felix Pappalardi took the tape of the second version of "Lawdy Mama" and, with help from his wife Gail Collins, transformed the song into "Strange Brew" which according to Eric Clapton "created a pop song without completely destroying the original groove."[3][4] One journalist noted that Clapton at this stage was employing Albert King guitar stylings; and that both "Strange Brew" and another Cream track, "Born Under a Bad Sign", "were practically Albert King parodies".[5] Clapton performs lead vocals on the song mostly in falsetto. It was the first Cream single on which he sang lead. Unlike the group's previous single, "I Feel Free", no promotional video was made for the song, but the band mimed to it on television on the German program Beat Club on 19 May 1967.[6] The song later appeared on the soundtrack of the 1979 feature film, More American Graffiti.

Reception[edit]

Cash Box called it a "driving, frenetic, medium-paced rock venture."[7]

Chart performance[edit]

The song "Strange Brew" first appeared on the UK Singles Chart on the week ending 10 June 1967 at number 43. It hit its highest position number 17 on the week ending 15 July and then posited at number 35 on the week ending 5 August, its final week, having spent a total of nine weeks on the chart.[8]

On the same week ending 8 July 1967 in the Netherlands, the song also peaked at number 18 on the Dutch Single Top 100 and number 30 on the Dutch Top 40.[9][10] In Belgium, it also peaked at number 50 on 2 September 1967 on the Wallonia region of Ultratop 50.[11]

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1967) Peak
position
Australia (Go-Set)[12] 21
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[11] 50
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[9] 18
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[10] 30
UK Singles (OCC)[8] 17

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Cream, Blind Faith, Dominos". The Eric Clapton Lyric Archive. eric-clapton.co.uk. 3rd Cream Single. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
  2. ^ Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 53 - String Man. : UNT Digital Library" (audio). Pop Chronicles. University of North Texas Libraries.
  3. ^ "The making of... Cream's Strange Brew" - Total Guitar Magazine - 14 August 2012.
  4. ^ Clapton, Eric (2007). Clapton:The Autobiography (first ed.). Broadway Books. pp. 83, 86. ISBN 978-0-385-51851-2.
  5. ^ Robert Palmer (1981). Deep Blues. Penguin Books. p. 246. ISBN 978-0-14-006223-6.
  6. ^ "Gig List". Jack Bruce.com.
  7. ^ "CashBox Record Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. 10 June 1967. p. 24. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  8. ^ a b "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  9. ^ a b "Cream – Strange Brew" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  10. ^ a b "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 27, 1967" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  11. ^ a b "Cream – Strange Brew" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  12. ^ "Go-Set Australian charts - 30 August 1967". www.poparchives.com.au.