Sunday, February 1, 2015

Cream – "White Room" (1968)

In the bathroom
With pay toilets
At the station

I know, I know – those aren't the actual lyrics to "White Room."  Those are the made-up lyrics my really cool friends and I sang when "White Room" came on the tape that played during lunch period in my high-school cafeteria.

I'm not sure which is more amazing – that our student government was able to persuade the administration at good ol' Parkwood High School to install a soda dispenser in our cafeteria, or that our student government persuaded the administration at good ol' Parkwood High School to allow us to use the proceeds from the sales of Coca-Cola and Sprite and Dr. Pepper to buy a big-ass reel-to-reel tape recorder and make a tape with songs of our own choosing to play on it.  

Parkwood High School (Joplin, Missouri)
Like "Touch Me," by the Doors . . . "Venus," by the Shocking Blue . . . Led Zeppelin's "Communication Breakdown" . . . "You Can't Always Get What You Want," by the Rolling Stones . . . and Cream's "White Room."

Anyway . . . here are the actual opening lyrics to our featured song: 

In the white room 
With black curtains
Near the station

Holy moly, "White Room" is a MONSTER song.  Everything about it is fabulous – especially Ginger Baker's relentless drumming and Jack Bruce's surreal lyrics.

Ginger Baker
You'll probably find this hard to believe, but "White Room" was covered by Joel Grey of Cabaret fame:

It was also covered by . . . Waylon Jennings?

I can't explain why power trios started coming out of the woodwork in the late sixties, but there's no denying the greatness of three-man aggregations like Cream, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, the James Gang, and Grand Funk Railroad.

You know, songs by power trios wouldn't have been a bad theme for this year's edition of "29 Songs in 28 Days."

"White Room" was released on
Cream's Wheels of Fire album
But I have a better theme.  In fact, I have two better themes.  And since I couldn't decide which one I liked better, I decided to use both of them, alternately.

Except for "White Room," which incorporates both themes.  (Sort of.)

So put on your thinking cap, Tom Terrific, and be the first one to figure out exactly what those two themes are!

Here's the album version of "White Room," which includes a third verse that was omitted from the single version of the song (which was all I ever heard played on the radio):

At the party
She was kindness
In the hard crowd
For the old wound
Now forgotten

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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