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Cream Bassist Jack Bruce Dead at 71


Jack Bruce, best known as the bassist in Sixties supergroup Cream, has died. He was 71.

The news came via Bruce's Facebook page earlier today:

"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 world of music will be a poorer place without him, but he lives on in his music and forever in our hearts," the Bruce family wrote. Bruce's publicist later added, "He died today at his home in Suffolk surrounded by his family."

While no other details have been revealed, the Press Association reports Bruce suffered from liver disease.

Although guitarist Eric Clapton was Cream's biggest star, Bruce sang most of the band's classic tracks, including "White Room,""SWLABR,""Tales of Brave Ulysses,""Spoonful,""N.S.U." and "Sunshine of Your Love," which Bruce co-wrote — and sang, as a duet — with Clapton. Drummer Ginger Baker made up the final third of Cream.

"I am very sad to learn of the loss of a fine man, Jack Bruce," wrote Baker on the Ginger Baker Official Fan Page on Facebook. "My thoughts and wishes are with his family at this difficult time."

Cream released four studio albums between 1966 and 1969 — Fresh Cream (1966), Disraeli Gears (1967), Wheels of Fire (1968) and Goodbye (1969). The band disbanded after their farewell show at London's Royal Albert Hall on November 26, 1968.

Cream reunited in 1993 for their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction and in 2005 for a series of concerts at the Royal Albert Hall and New York City's Madison Square Garden. In 2006, the band received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

After Cream's initial breakup in 1968, Bruce kicked off a solo career with 1969's Songs of a Tailor, which featured contributions from the Beatles' George Harrison, who also co-wrote "Badge," a track on Cream's final album. Bruce released more than a dozen solo albums over the next 45 years, including 2014's Silver Rails.

"I quite like to just enjoy my life," Bruce told Rolling Stone in April. "I'm thrilled to make this album. I put my heart and soul into it, and I'm very pleased with the way it came out."

Bruce was born May 14, 1943, in Bishopbriggs, Lanarkshire, U.K. In 1962, he joined the London-based Blues Incorporated, in which he played upright bass. In 1963, the group broke up and Bruce formed the Graham Bond Quartet with Bond, Baker and guitarist John McLaughlin.

After he left the band in 1965, he released a solo single, "I'm Gettin Tired," and briefly joined John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, which featured Clapton. After his stint with the Bluesbreakers, Bruce tasted commercial success as a member of Manfred Mann; their song "Pretty Flamingo" reached Number 1 in the U.K. singles chart in 1966.

While he was with Manfred Mann, Bruce collaborated with Clapton as a member of the Powerhouse, which recorded a version of Robert Johnson's "Crossroads" upon which Cream's famous live version was based. Bruce formed Cream with Clapton and Bruce in 1966.

After Cream and during his solo years, Bruce joined several short-lived bands, including another supergroup, BBM (Bruce-Baker-Moore). The band, which released one Cream-inspired studio album in 1994, featured Bruce, Baker and guitarist Gary Moore.

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