Sunshine SongsReview • June 29, 2009 • Unknown source
article by Robert Benson
We have explored some ‘rain’ songs in a recent four-part article series in celebration of spring and now that summer is upon us, let’s explore some popular ‘sunshine’ songs and the history behind them in this two part article series.
Although the ‘supergroup’ Cream (Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce) were not together very long, the group was able to lay down some of the best blues rock of their day and of all time. Included in this description is the instantly recognizable hit “Sunshine Of Your Love,” from their 1967 album Disraeli Gears. The song peaked at #5 on the Billboard charts in 1968 and stayed on the charts for an impressive twelve weeks.
The song was written by Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton with the lyrical help from Pete Brown (who also wrote lyrics for the Cream cuts “I Feel Free” and the classic cut “White Room”), a beat poet who was friends with Baker and Bruce.
However, development of the song actually began in January 1967, when Bruce and Clapton attended a Jimi Hendrix show in London. Bruce returned home and wrote the now memorable bass guitar riff that runs throughout the song.
“I picked up my double bass and played the riff,” recalls Bruce. “Pete looked out the window and the sun was coming up. He wrote ‘It’s getting near dawn and lights close their tired eyes…’” Clapton later added the chorus (”I’ve been waiting so long…”) which also yielded the song’s title.
The song was almost not part of the album because of record company executive Ahmet Ertegun’s dislike for Jack Bruce and his “Psychedelic hogwash.” In fact, Atlantic Records initially rejected the song. However, Booker T. Jones (leader of Booker T. and the MG’s) and a respected Atlantic musician heard the band rehearsing the song in the Atlantic studios and recommended it to the record company bosses. Based on this recommendation, Atlantic approved the recording. It’s also rumored that the only reason that it was recorded was because they didn’t have enough material to fill the album; although a song of this quality should certainly squash that statement.
The song appears on the soundtracks of the Movies School of Rock, Goodfellas, Uncommon Valor, and True Lies. Additionally, the cut was a set list staple for Jimi Hendrix throughout his 1968 and 1969 concerts. Other artists who covered the song are Ella Fitzgerald, the 5th Dimension, Frank Zappa, Ozzy Osbourne, Goo Goo Dolls, Toto, Elvis Costello and The Police and Living Colour (among others). The song was named the 65th greatest song of all time by Rolling Stone magazine. In 2009 it was named the 44th best hard rock song of all time by VH1.
Cream played this at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on January 12, 1993 when they reunited for their induction. Eric Clapton still plays this song in concert, which is a testament to the longevity and magic of the song.