|Song by Cream|
|from the album Fresh Cream|
|Released||9 December 1966|
|Recorded||July – October 1966 at Rayrik and Ryemuse Studios, London|
Studio version from Fresh Cream
|Song by Cream|
|from the album Wheels of Fire|
|Recorded||7 March 1968 at|
"Toad" is an instrumental by British rock band Cream and was released on their 1966 debut album, Fresh Cream. Composed by drummer Ginger Baker, the song is a five-minute drum solo (with a brief guitar and bass introduction and ending), and is notable because it features one of the earliest recorded drum solos in rock history.
Development and recordings
"Toad" grew out of "Camels and Elephants", a composition Baker had recorded with the Graham Bond Organisation in 1965, but it was not until he joined Cream that "Toad" was first recorded on their debut album, Fresh Cream (1966). The solo comprises a sequence of drum patterns that are built up, varied, and then dropped, giving way to a new pattern. On the piece, Baker often produced complementary rhythms on the hi-hat, ride cymbal, double-bass drums and tom-toms simultaneously.
An extended sixteen-minute live version (of which 13 minutes is drum solo) appears on Cream's 1968 album Wheels of Fire. A slightly extended version of this recording, with some additional guitar and bass edited in from another performance, appears on Cream's four-disc compilation album Those Were the Days (1997). "Toad" also featured in Cream's reunion concert in May 2005 at the Royal Albert Hall, and appears on the Royal Albert Hall London May 2-3-5-6, 2005 album.
"Toad" was performed by Ginger Baker's Air Force, and a 13-minute version with drum solos by Baker, Remi Kabaka and Phil Seamen appears on their 1970 live album, Ginger Baker's Air Force, recorded at the Royal Albert Hall in January 1970. "Toad" later evolved into "Toady", which featured on Ginger Baker's Air Force 2 (1970).
Reception and influence
The Cream website, Those Were the Days, described "Toad" as "a coherent drums solo that remains unequalled in Rock Music. It influenced many contemporaries and innumerable budding drummers." "Toad" has been "widely imitated", and "paved the way for a decade of heavy-metal drum solos". Spin magazine gave it the "dubious distinction of introducing the drum solo to the rock LP", and The Drummer: 100 Years of Rhythmic Power and Invention called Baker's drumming on "Toad" as "a milestone in drum soloing". In a review of Cream, Life magazine said that "Toad" "features sustained, imaginative drumming that would knock out a Carnegie jazz audience".
The song was used on Boston Bruins telecasts on WSBK once every week for a Bruins highlight reel, which featured spectacular goals, saves, and the like. It is also featured in the 1995 film Casino directed by Martin Scorsese, during the infamous "head in a vise" scene.
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