On 25 October 2014, fans of the legendary rock bassist and singer Jack Bruce faced the heartbreaking announcement of his death that was posted on his official website. Jack Bruce died at age 71 in his home in Suffolk. Did you know him?
It’s possible that you don’t know him by name, but if you’ve ever listened to the radio, it’s impossible that you don’t know his work – the opening riff to “Sunshine of Your Love” is one of the most trending and instantly recognizable of all time, right up there with the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction” or Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man.”
Jack Bruce’s bass tone is equally recognizable; he sung the vast majority of Cream’s songs, since bandmate Eric Clapton (yes, THAT Eric Clapton) was at the time shy about his singing voice and sang lead on only a handful of the Multi-Platinum selling group’s songs.
The new song (“For Jack” is actually an instrumental ballad) is trending now on the internet that Eric Clapton has shared in memory of Jack Bruce. Jack Bruce was a tremendous inspiration to Eric Clapton.
Cream (rock band) was formed in 1966 by John Symon Asher Bruce, drummer Ginger Baker and guitarist Eric Clapton. However, some of the Cream band members were struggling with drug addictions that saw them part ways in 1968.
Jack Bruce had not only lost most of his money to drugs but his health also declined. Jack Bruce managed to overcome his addictions with the help of clinical treatment. “Jack felt that he had strayed too far from his ideals and wanted to re-discover his musical and social roots.”- jackbruce.com.
Jack Bruce Biography: Composing Himself
Jack Bruce speaks frankly in his book “Jack Bruce Composing Himself.” He tells all (through Author Harry Shapiro) about his heroin addiction, his failed liver transplant, family tragedy and many other things about his personal life also as a member of Cream band.
This book is not only useful to fans about Jack Bruce’s biography but it is also useful to young musicians. Anyone will find it being an inspirational.
Author Harry Shapiro is a lecturer and journalist. He has not only written this book but he has written a book known as “Waiting For The Man: The Story of Drugs,” a book that is telling stories of many famous victims of drugs and gives the details how the new trending fashion in drugs is brought by development in popular music.
Childhood and Musical Education
Born in the small Scottish town of Bishopbriggs, Bruce birth name is John Symon Asher Bruce and he was the child of musicians who moved often for new gigs. The frequent moves meant that Jack Bruce attended over a dozen different schools by his teens, when he began studying the bass in earnest at Bellahouston Academy.
Jack Bruce may be best known for his work in rock music, but jazz was his first love – and it was jazz that ended up leading him to leave the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, where he had won a scholarship to study composition.
The Academy frowned on jazz and when the school discovered that Bruce had been playing in a jazz group, they gave him a choice: drop the band or drop out of school. He chose the band and began making a living as a working musician.
He toured Europe as the bassist for the Murray Campbell band, returning to London and joining guitarist Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated. Jack Bruce tour to Europe was for the purpose of promoting his solo album.
It was in this band that he would meet drummer Ginger Baker, with whom he would go on to play in the Graham Bond Quartet (later known as the Graham Bond Organisation) after Blues Incorporated broke up in 1963 and later, Cream.
Ginger Baker and Bruce had a long working relationship, but were often at odds personally, even to the extent of fighting during gigs and tampering with one another’s equipment.
The conflict with Baker eventually led to Bruce quitting the Graham Bond Organisation and recording a single as a solo artist before joining John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, a group which also included former Yardbirds guitarist Eric Clapton.
Bruce then joined Manfred Mann, playing on their hit single “Pretty Flamingo” and working as a session musician with artists including Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton before forming Cream with Clapton and Ginger Baker in the summer of 1966.
The Cream Years
It was with Cream, a band who have often been called “the first supergroup,” that Bruce first found widespread fame. The band had a great deal of built in buzz based on the reputations of its members and their first album, Fresh Cream, reached the top 10 in the UK and the top 50 in the US.
Recorded very quickly after the formation of the group, the material consisted of blues covers and a few originals, including some numbers that would become mainstays of the group’s live set.
However, it was the group’s second album, Disraeli Gears, which would make them superstars worldwide.
Featuring the singles “Sunshine of Your Love” and “Strange Brew,” Disraeli Gears was a huge critical and commercial success, reaching the top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic as well as in Australia and winning critical acclaim from the majority of rock critics for its blending of British psychedelic rock and American blues sounds.
The follow up album, Wheels of Fire, was equally successful, topping the US charts and becoming the first platinum selling double album in rock history. The opening track (and first single from the album), “White Room” remains a staple on radio to this day.
The album’s first disc consisted of studio recordings, while the second was a live recording from the Fillmore in San Francisco, with a set that included extended versions of the blues classics “Crossroads” and “Spoonful” and the originals “Traintime” and “Toad.”
By the time Wheels of Fire was released, the band was ready to call it a day. The band had taken volume to new levels, with Baker saying that he still has hearing problems stemming from his time in Cream.
Furthermore, Bruce and Ginger Baker were getting along no better than they ever had and Clapton was tired of playing referee. Despite their intention to end the band, their record company talked them into doing just one more album, resulting in a farewell tour and the album Goodbye.
Like Wheels of Fire, Goodbye was one half studio recordings and one half live recordings from their farewell tour (which included a young Deep Purple as opening act on some dates).
By November 1968, Cream was finished; after a failed attempt to recruit Steve Winwood into the group to serve as an additional moderating influence on Bruce and Baker’s tempestuous relationship, Clapton departed (along with Winwood) for Blind Faith and Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce went their separate ways.
Solo Career and Collaborations
The breakup of Cream allowed Jack Bruce to pursue his muse in different ways and the bassist explored genres ranging from classical and blues to jazz and R&B, all of which Bruce managed to leave his mark on and many of which have had a lasting influence.
For instance, Jack Bruce Things We Like solo album, which also featured jazz guitarist John McLaughlin has been sampled by rap artists including Souls of Mischief Prince Paul. Jack Bruce songs for a tailor, is the second album and it was a tribute to Cream’s clothing designer.
Bruce also spent some time as bassist in the fusion group Lifetime along with Tony Williams and John McLaughlin and formed another rock trio, West, Bruce & Laing along with Leslie West and Corky Laing from Mountain.
- Related: Jack Bruce Discography
Bruce also collaborated as a guest musician with artists including Lou Reed (Bruce played on most of Reed’s album Berlin) the Golden Palominos, and Frank Zappa before briefly hitting bottom as a result of a long standing drug habit.
Fortunately, he was able to continue working through the worst of it and had soon recovered and formed a new group, Jack Bruce & Friends, which played through the early 1980s.
He also explored world music in the 1980s and 1990s before collaborating with, surprisingly enough, Ginger Baker and becoming a member of Ringo Starr’s touring band along with guitarist Peter Frampton.
Jack Bruce-Theme for an Imaginary Western Video
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Health Problems and Cream Reunion
Bruce’s health began to decline in the early 2000s, including a brush with death after a diagnosis of liver cancer and a liver transplant.
Despite sometimes failing health, Bruce reunited with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker for a series of live performances at Royal Albert Hall in London, recordings from which were released as the album Royal Albert Hall London May 2005 as well as a concert at Madison Square Garden.
He also played occasional concerts with the German band HR Big Band, including one at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. This performance was a particular triumph for Bruce, as the school which had once forced him to drop out had named a rehearsal hall after him.
He was also honored by the North American Music Merchants Association in 2011, becoming the third bassist to receive the International Bassist Award, a lifetime achievement award previously awarded to Nathan Watts and Jaco Pastorius.
Cream band members had agreed to do a reunion tour only later on to cancel it. The calling off plans for a reunion tour had to do with Ginger Baker “upsetting” Eric Clapton.
Improving health allowed Bruce to maintain a relatively active concert and recording schedule in the last few years before succumbing to liver disease at his home in Suffolk earlier this week, where he passed away surrounded by his wife Margrit and his children.
Jack Bruce Net Worth
He had a bad manager who stole his money by using every trick in the book. Having lost most of his money to drugs, there is a time he said that he had been able to do what he wants.
…money has never meant anything to me. Sometimes I have had a lot of it and sometimes not so much, but I have always been able to do what I want.
He had done some crazy ambitions like in the late sixties when he bought an island off the west coast of Scotland.
Jack Bruce eventually became more responsible after losing money to a bad manager and to drugs.
Jack Bruce Net Worth is earned from the several properties he owns and also from Cream’s early success (composition rights) that are now used in movies and commercials.
Jack Bruce Silver Rails
Silver Rails was released in March 2014 and its Jack Bruce’s 14th final studio album.
Bruce will be remembered as one of the most influential musicians in rock, with tributes from his contemporaries already flooding in.
It is perhaps Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi who said it best with a simple statement on Twitter saying “He was a hero to so many.”
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