In their short lifespan, Cream were one of the top album bands on the British, and indeed the world, rock scene. But they also amassed quite a sequence of hit singles, and in this chart week in 1968, they debuted on the US bestsellers with one of their signature songs, ‘Sunshine Of Your Love.’
The trio had four previous UK singles chart entries to their name, including two top 20 hits, but ‘Sunshine’ gave them their first-ever appearance on the Hot 100. In their own country, ‘Wrapping Paper’ announced their arrival in the autumn of 1966, reaching a modest No. 34, after which ‘I Feel Free’ hit No. 11 and ‘Strange Brew’ No. 17. ‘Anyone For Tennis’ spent three weeks on the survey in June of 1968, reaching No. 40.
‘Sunshine Of Your Love’ was composed by the prolific Cream writing team of bassist Jack Bruce and his lyric-writing collaborator Pete Brown with Eric Clapton. Clapton’s brilliant guitar solo on the recording contains a conscious reference to the Marcels’ rock ‘n’ roll classic ‘Blue Moon,’ highlighting the song’s amorous theme of a “dawn surprise.”
This classic rock anthem was introduced on Cream’s second album Disraeli Gears late in 1967, then became Cream’s biggest transatlantic single and their one gold-selling single in the States. It first reached No. 36 there in a 14-week run starting on 13 January 1968, but re-entered the Hot 100 in July and climbed all the way to No. 5. It later won a place in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
That US success prompted the UK release of ‘Sunshine,’ the better part of a year after Disraeli Gears appeared. It debuted at No. 40 on the chart of 9 October 1968, and climbed to No. 33. Perhaps surprisingly, it peaked the following week only at No. 25 in the UK.
But the track has become a rock standard, performed live by both Bruce, before his passing, and Clapton on countless occasions. The classic status of ‘Sunshine’ has also been underlined in scores of cover versions, by everyone from Ozzy Osbourne to Santana.
Purchase ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’ on Disraeli Gears here.