While it never made it to their debut album, Cream’s very first single was a jazz-influenced song called “Wrapping Paper” that caught the music world off guard. The band that became the model for just about every heavy rock band that followed in the immediate wake sounded like anything but a rock band.
Released by Reaction Records in the UK on October 22, 1966, this piece of whimsical pop was written by Jack Bruce and Pete Brown (Pete co-wrote “I Feel Free,” “White Room,” and “SWLABR” with Jack and “Sunshine of Your Love” with Eric Clapton). “Wrapping Paper” does feature a guitar solo, but it’s far from a trademark blistering blues outing. According to Ginger Baker, “I was totally against it, right from the start… Eric and I didn’t like it.”
“Wrapping Paper” made the UK singles chart on October 22, 1966, and eventually staggered to No. 34 but no higher. The B-side is “Cat’s Squirrel,” a song made popular by bluesman Doctor Ross, that was also the opening track on Side Two of Fresh Cream, the band’s debut album that was released in early December of 1966. Unsurprisingly, given Ginger’s views, the album did not include “Wrapping Paper”… except for the version issued in Sweden.