British musician Jack Bruce, best known as the bassist from the 1960s group Cream, has died. He was 71.
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Publicist Claire Singers said Saturday Bruce died at his home in Suffolk, England. He died of liver disease, according to the Guardian.
A statement released by his family said “the world of music will be a poorer place without him but he lives on in his music and forever in our hearts.”
“It is with great sadness that we, Jack’s family, announce the passing of our beloved Jack: husband, father, granddad, and all round legend,” the statement said.
Cream, which also included guitarist Eric Clapton and drummer Ginger Baker, had two Billboard Hot 100 top 10 hits among five charting tracks, “Sunshine of Your Love” (No. 5 peak) and “White Room” (No. 6), both in 1968. The latter track appeared on Cream’s only Billboard 200 No. 1 album, Wheels of Fire, which spent four weeks at the top in August of 1968, just two months after prior album, Disraeli Gears, reached No. 4 in June. The band followed both of those sets with its third and final top 10 album, Goodbye, which hit No. 2 in February 1969.
In the Nielsen SoundScan era (1991 to present), Cream has sold a collective 2.8 million albums, with hits sets Strange Brew – The Very Best of Cream (700,000) and Very Best of Cream (629,000) having moved the most units.The band’s biggest selling download in the digital era is “White Room,” which has moved 580,000 of the 1.2 million Cream tracks sold overall.
Bruce wrote and sang most of the songs, including “I Feel Free”, “White Room,” “Politician” and “Sunshine Of Your Love.”
Cream split in November 1968, and Bruce went on to front his own bands.
Many artists covered Bruce’s songs, including Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie and Ella Fitzgerald.
Bruce returned to the studio around 2000 to record his solo album Shadows in the Air, which hit number five on the British jazz and blues chart. His most recent release in 2014, titled Silver Rails.
“I thought it was going to be really hard to come up with songs that worked and that I like, but it turned out to be very, very natural and I just found it was so easy to write,” Bruce told Billboard in April. “I used the (1969 solo debut) album ‘Songs For a Tailor’ as a template and I kind of listened to that and I based the kind of atmosphere and the feeling of the songs on ‘Silver Rails’ on that, so it’s kind of a bookends, if you like.”
Bruce was born to musical parents in Glasgow, Scotland, on May 14, 1943. His parents travelled extensively in Canada and the U.S., and the young Bruce attended 14 different schools. He finished his formal education at Bellahouston Academy and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music, to which he won a scholarship for cello and composition.
He left Scotland at the age of 16 and in 1962 joined his first important band, the influential Alexis Korner’s Blues Inc., in London. The band featured drummer Charlie Watts, later to join the Rolling Stones.