Best of Cream is a compilation album of material recorded from 1966 to 1968 by the rock band Cream, and released shortly after their disbanding. The album was originally released by Cream's U.S. label Atco (Atlantic) Records (catalog no. SD 33-291), and was available on that label during the years 1969-72. A re-release was pressed in 2014 by Polydor on 180g vinyl (catalog no. 535 113-8). The album was briefly reissued in the U.S. in 1977 by RSO/Polydor Records, to whom U.S. distribution rights for Cream's recordings had reverted by that time.
Best of Cream was noteworthy upon its release as the first American album to contain Cream's studio recording of "Spoonful." Although included in international versions of Cream's 1966 debut album Fresh Cream, the song was deleted from Atco's initial U.S. release of the album, and replaced with the band's first hit single "I Feel Free." U.S. reissues of Fresh Cream contain both songs.
The album peaked at #3 on the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart in July 1969. The album reached #6 on the UK album charts. The album was certified Gold by the RIAA.
Cream were a 1960s British rock supergroup power trio consisting of bassist/singer Jack Bruce, drummer Ginger Baker, and guitarist/singer Eric Clapton. Their unique sound was characterised by a hybrid of blues rock, hard rock and psychedelic rock, combining psychedelia themes, Clapton's blues guitar playing, Bruce's powerful, versatile vocals and prominent bass playing, Baker's pulsating, jazz-influenced drumming and Pete Brown's poetry-inspired lyrics. The group's third album, Wheels of Fire, was the world's first platinum-selling double album. The band is widely regarded as being the world's first successful supergroup. In their career, they sold over 15 million albums worldwide. Their music included songs based on traditional blues such as "Crossroads" and "Spoonful", and modern blues such as "Born Under a Bad Sign", as well as more eccentric songs such as "Strange Brew", "Tales of Brave Ulysses" and "Toad".
The band's biggest hits are "I Feel Free" (UK, number 11), "Sunshine of Your Love" (US, number 5), "White Room" (US, number 6), "Crossroads" (US, number 28), and "Badge" (UK, number 18). The band made a significant impact on the popular music of the time, and, along with Jimi Hendrix, and Terry Kath of Chicago, popularised the use of the wah-wah pedal. They provided a heavy yet technically proficient musical theme that foreshadowed and influenced the emergence of British bands such as Led Zeppelin, The Jeff Beck Group and Black Sabbath in the late 1960s and the early 1970s. The band's live performances influenced progressive rock acts such as Rush. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. They were included in both Rolling Stone and VH1's lists of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time," at number 67 and 61 respectively. They were also ranked number 16 on VH1's "100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock".
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