Toad (instrumental)

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Song by Cream
from the album Fresh Cream
Released 9 December 1966
Recorded July – October 1966 at Rayrik and Ryemuse Studios, London
Genre Instrumental rock
Length 5:09
Label Polydor
Songwriter(s) Ginger Baker
Producer(s) Robert Stigwood
Audio sample
Studio version from Fresh Cream
Song by Cream
from the album Wheels of Fire
Released July 1968
Recorded 7 March 1968 at
Fillmore West
Length 16:15
Label Polydor
Songwriter(s) Ginger Baker
Producer(s) Felix Pappalardi

"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[edit]

Baker began developing "Toad" while he was still a member of the Graham Bond Organisation,[1] but it was not until he joined Cream that it was first recorded on their first 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.[2]

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 also performed by Ginger Baker's Air Force, and a 13-minute version appears on their 1970 live album, Ginger Baker's Air Force, recorded at the Royal Albert Hall in January 1970.

Reception and influence[edit]

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."[3] "Toad" has been "widely imitated",[4] and "paved the way for a decade of heavy-metal drum solos".[5] Spin magazine gave it the "dubious distinction of introducing the drum solo to the rock LP",[6] and The Drummer: 100 Years of Rhythmic Power and Invention called Baker's drumming on "Toad" as "a milestone in drum soloing".[7] In a review of Cream, Life magazine said that "Toad" "features sustained, imaginative drumming that would knock out a Carnegie jazz audience".[8]

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.


  1. ^ Shapiro, Harry; Clapton, Eric (1 September 2009). Jack Bruce Composing Himself: The Authorized Biography. Jawbone Publishing Corp. p. 70. ISBN 978-1-906002-26-8. Retrieved 11 August 2011. 
  2. ^ Everett, Walter (1999). The Beatles as musicians: Revolver through the Anthology. Oxford University Press. p. 62. ISBN 978-0-19-512941-0. Retrieved 11 August 2011. 
  3. ^ Pattingale, Graeme, "Fresh Cream", Those Were the Days, archived from the original on 21 July 2008, retrieved 31 July 2007 .
  4. ^ Milliken, Robert (1 February 2010). Mother of Rock: The Lillian Roxon Story. Black Inc. p. 262. ISBN 978-1-86395-464-8. Retrieved 11 August 2011. 
  5. ^ George-Warren, Holly; Romanowski, Patricia; Pareles, Jon (30 October 2001). The Rolling stone encyclopedia of rock & roll. Fireside. p. 42. ISBN 978-0-7432-0120-9. Retrieved 11 August 2011. 
  6. ^ "35 Most Memorable Moments In Rock'n'Roll Drumming". SPIN. SPIN Media LLC. August 1990. p. 61. ISSN 0886-3032. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  7. ^ Budofsky, Adam (1 July 2006). The drummer: 100 years of rhythmic power and invention. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 62. ISBN 978-1-4234-0567-2. Retrieved 11 August 2011. 
  8. ^ Saltonstall, Richard Jnr. (26 January 1968). LIFE. Time Inc. p. 12. ISSN 0024-3019. Retrieved 11 August 2011. 

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