Disraeli Gears

Greatly Appreciated

Disraeli Gears  is the second studio album by the British rock band Cream.  It was released in November 1967 and went on to reach No. 5 on the UK Albums Chart.  It was also the group’s American breakthrough, becoming a massive seller in 1968, and reaching No. 4 on the American charts.  The album features the two singles “Strange Brew” and “Sunshine of Your Love”.  In 1999, the album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.  In 2003, the album was ranked No. 114 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.  VH1 also named it their 87th greatest album of all time in 2001.  In 2008, the album won a Classic Rock Roll of Honours Award for Classic Album.  (More from Wikipedia)

Pete Brown became an important songwriting partner with the Cream bandmembers; he and Jack Bruce were the songwriters on four songs on Disraeli Gears that included “Sunshine of Your Love” (which was co-written with Eric Clapton).  


Disraeli Gears marked the arrival of the man who became essentially a fourth bandmember in CreamFelix Pappalardi.  He was the record producer on this album and the next two, and Pappalardi plays many different instruments (often uncredited), particularly on Wheels of Fire.  With his wife Gail Collins PappalardiFelix Pappalardi also wrote two songs on this album, Strange Brew and “World of Pain”.  


With this album, Cream introduced psychedelia into their mixture of styles and influences.  Besides their hit Sunshine of Your Love, outstanding songs on the album include “Strange Brew”, “Tales of Brave Ulysses” and “Swalbr” – the curious title of the last song comes from the initials for “She Walks Like A Bearded Rainbow” (or “She Was Like A Bearded Rainbow”). 


Writing for AllmusicStephen Thomas Erlewine calls Disraeli Gears “a very British album”, and never more so than on the closing track “Mother’s Lament”, showing that Cream was also attracted to traditional songs other than the blues.  For a change, no attempt was made to market a different album in the U.S. from the one that was released in England, and Americans responded by driving the album to #4 on the Billboard album charts, even better than the #5 showing that Disraeli Gears reached in the U.K. 


(May 2014)


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I certainly don’t know as much going into a monthly post as I probably let on, and despite its thousands, my record collection is not comprehensive.  For instance, my post awhile back about the origins of Cream and the many bands that arose in the wake of their break-up germinated from some writings by the music columnist Ricky Flake in our local paper, the Sun Herald.  At the time, I had precisely one album by CreamDisraeli Gears (I still don’t have Goodbye) and only the first Mountain album, Climbing!.    


(Year 5 Review)


Last edited: March 22, 2021