White Room

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"White Room"
White Room - Cream (Norwegian single sleeve).jpg
Italian single picture sleeve
Single by Cream
from the album Wheels of Fire
B-side"Those Were the Days"
  • August 1968 (1968-08) (album)
  • September 1968 (US single)
  • January 1969 (UK single)
RecordedJuly 1967 – April 1968
StudioAtlantic, New York City
GenrePsychedelic rock
  • 3:04 (US single)
  • 4:58 (album & UK single)
Composer(s)Jack Bruce
Lyricist(s)Pete Brown
Producer(s)Felix Pappalardi
Cream US singles chronology
"Anyone for Tennis"
"White Room"
Cream UK singles chronology
"Sunshine of Your Love"
"White Room"
Audio sample
Intro and part of first verse

"White Room" is a song by British rock band Cream, composed by bassist Jack Bruce with lyrics by poet Pete Brown.[1] They recorded it for the studio half of the 1968 double album Wheels of Fire. In September, a shorter US single edit (without the third verse) was released for AM radio stations,[2] although album-oriented FM radio stations played the full album version. The subsequent UK single release in January 1969 used the full-length album version of the track.

Recording and composition[edit]

In 1967, at the initial session for Cream's third album (then still unnamed), recording for "White Room" reportedly began in London. In December, work continued at Atlantic Studios in New York City and was completed during three sessions in February, April and June 1968, also at Atlantic.[3][4]

Jack Bruce sang and played bass on the song, Eric Clapton overdubbed guitar parts, Ginger Baker played drums and timpani, and Felix Pappalardi – the group's producer – contributed violas.[5] Clapton played his guitar through a wah-wah pedal to achieve a "talking-effect".[6] The song has an identical chord progression to Cream's previous recording "Tales of Brave Ulysses".[7] Both Bruce and Baker claimed to have added the distinctive 5
or quintuple metre opening to what had been a 4
or common time composition.[8]

Recognition and other recordings[edit]

Rolling Stone magazine ranked "White Room" at number 376 on its list of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time". A live recording appears on the group's Live Cream Volume II album (1972). Clapton, along with Phil Collins, began his act at Live Aid in 1985 with the song. In 1990, Clapton performed the song at his Royal Albert Hall concert series and in 1999 with Sheryl Crow at Crow's Sheryl Crow and Friends: Live from Central Park concert. In 2005, the reunited Cream played the song at the Royal Albert Hall, which was released on their Royal Albert Hall London May 2-3-5-6, 2005 album.

In a song review for AllMusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine noted that the song has been "covered frequently, and by a bizarre group of artists: Broadway star Joel Grey, the Finnish symphonic metal band Apocalyptica, fusion guitarist Frank Gambale, the Bluegrass-inspired Cache Valley Drifters, and heavy metal band Helloween. That wildly eclectic list proves that 'White Room' is a multi-faceted song, containing equal parts dramatic spectacle, intricate musicality, and hard rock menace. Other artists emphasize different elements in their interpretations, but the original Cream version wrapped it all up in one startling package".[9]

Billboard described the single as a "solid, driving rocker."[10]



Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[20] Silver 200,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 53 - String Man. : UNT Digital Library" (audio). Pop Chronicles. University of North Texas Libraries.
  2. ^ "Spotlight Singles". Billboard. Cincinnati, Ohio. 21 September 1968. p. 72.
  3. ^ Hjort, Christopher (2007). Strange Brew: Eric Clapton & the British Blues Boom, 1965-1970. London, UK: Jawbone Press. pp. g. 126, 148, 159, 181. ISBN 978-1-906002-00-8.
  4. ^ Felix Pappalardi interview, Hit Parader # 55, February 1969
  5. ^ Wheels of Fire (CD liner). Cream. Polydor Records. 1997. 531 812-2.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  6. ^ Bacon, Tony (1990). "Guitar Madness". The Marshall Cavendish Illustrated History of Popular Music. Vol. 11 (Reference ed.). Marshall Cavendish. p. 1079. ISBN 978-1-8543-5015-2.
  7. ^ Greenwald, Matthew. "Tales of Brave Ulysses - Cream". AllMusic.com. Retrieved 6 May 2021.
  8. ^ "Classic Rock Magazine, March 2010". Archived from the original on 13 November 2013.
  9. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Cream: White Room – Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  10. ^ "Spotlight Singles" (PDF). Billboard. 21 September 1968. p. 72. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  11. ^ "Go-Set Australian charts - 1 January 1969". poparchives.com.
  12. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Cream - White Room". austriancharts.at.
  13. ^ "The RPM 100". RPM Weekly. 10 (12): 5. 18 November 1968. Archived from the original (PHP) on 22 October 2012. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
  14. ^ "flavour of new zealand - search lever". www.flavourofnz.co.nz.
  15. ^ "Cream – Billboard Singles". AllMusic. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  16. ^ Hoffmann, Frank (1983). The Cash Box Singles Charts, 1950-1981. Metuchen, NJ & London: The Scarecrow Press, Inc. p. 135.
  17. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". collectionscanada.gc.ca.
  18. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1968/Top 100 Songs of 1968". www.musicoutfitters.com.
  19. ^ "Cash Box YE Pop Singles - 1968". tropicalglen.com.
  20. ^ "British single certifications – Cream – White Room". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 4 May 2021.