| Sylvia Hui & Gregory Katz |
LONDON (AP) – British musician Jack Bruce, best known as the lead vocalist and bass player of the power blues trio Cream, died Saturday at his home, his family and publicist said. He was 71.
Bruce was one of the top musicians of the late 1960s, when Cream played its unique psychedelic blues tunes to packed houses in England and the United States. He was an important member of the British blues movement, which saw bands like the Animals and Rolling Stones first imitate and then expand on the American blues tradition as exemplified by Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and other stalwarts.
Cream – widely cited as the original supergroup – were known for hits such as “I Feel Free” and “Sunshine of Your Love,” which featured Eric Clapton’s innovative guitar riffs, and Bruce’s vocals and roaring bass, backed by Ginger Baker’s explosive drumming.
They played a mix of traditional blues songs, with long, often improvised instrumental breaks, and their own tunes.
Bruce enjoyed a long solo career after Cream’s acrimonious breakup, and in 2005 he reunited with former Cream bandmates for critically acclaimed concerts in London and New York City.
Publicists LD Communications said Saturday Bruce died of liver disease at his home in Suffolk, England. He had received a liver transplant some years ago and continued to suffer a variety of health problems.
A statement released by his family said “the world of music will be a poorer place without him but he lives on in his music and forever in our hearts.”
“It is with great sadness that we, Jack’s family, announce the passing of our beloved Jack: husband, father, granddad, and all round legend,” the statement said.
In its heyday, Cream sold 35 million albums in just over two years and the band was awarded the world’s first ever platinum disc for their double album “Wheels of Fire.” Bruce wrote and sang most of the band’s signature songs.
The band started out playing traditional blues tunes, but quickly added a psychedelic flavour that brought still more popularity at the height of the flower power era.