Cream - White Room

Cream - White Room

‘White Room’ is a song by British rock band Cream, composed by bassist Jack Bruce with lyrics by poet Pete Brown. 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, 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.

This song is about depression and hopelessness, but the setting is an empty apartment. The lyrics were written by a poet named Pete Brown, who was a friend of Cream bass player Jack Bruce, the lead vocalist on the track. Brown also wrote the words for ‘Sunshine Of Your Love,’ ‘I Feel Free’ and ‘SWLABR.’ The music was written first. Pete Brown's first attempt at a lyric was something about a "doomed hippie girl" - the song was called "Cinderella's Last Goodnight." Jack Bruce wasn't buying it, so he scrapped that idea and pulled up an eight-page poem he had written earlier, which he reworked into ‘White Room.’


In an interview with Pete Brown, he told the story: "It was a meandering thing about a relationship that I was in and how I was at the time. It was a kind of watershed period really. It was a time before I stopped being a relative barman and became a songwriter, because I was a professional poet, you know. I was doing poetry readings and making a living from that. It wasn't a very good living, and then I got asked to work by Ginger and Jack with them and then started to make a kind of living. And there was this kind of transitional period where I lived in this actual white room and was trying to come to terms with various things that were going on. It's a place where I stopped, I gave up all drugs and alcohol at that time in 1967 as a result of being in the white room, so it was a kind of watershed period. That song's like a kind of weird little movie: it changes perspectives all the time. That's why it's probably lasted - it's got a kind of mystery to it."

Rolling Stone 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.

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Labels – Polydor (UK), Atco (US)
Songwriters – Jack Bruce, Pete Brown
Producer – Felix Pappalardi


[Instrumental Intro 00:00-00:24]
[Verse 1]
In a white room with black curtains near the station
Black roof country, no gold pavements, tired starlings
Silver horses ran down moonbeams in your dark eyes
Dawn light smiles on you leaving, my contentment
I'll wait in this place where the sun never shines
Wait in this place where the shadows run from themselves
[Verse 2]
You said no strings could secure you at the station
Platform ticket, restless diesels, goodbye windows
I walked into such a sad time at the station
As I walked out, felt my own need, just beginning
I'll wait in the queue when the trains come back
Lie with you where the shadows run from themselves
[Instrumental Break 02:15-02:39]
[Verse 3]
At the party, she was kindness in the hard crowd
Consolation for the old wound now forgotten
Yellow tigers crouched in jungles in her dark eyes
She's just dressing, goodbye windows, tired starlings
I'll sleep in this place with the lonely crowd;
Lie in the dark where the shadows run from themselves
[Instrumental Outro]
[Guitar Solo]
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