Why is Cream’s Wheels of Fire on my best 1,000 albums ever list?
There are some powerful powerful, favorite favorite, classic classics going on here.
What does Cream’s Wheels of Fire mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?
When I was in high school on Long Island, New York, if someone had asked me the genre of music I most identified with – and I suppose, “What kind of music are you into?” would have likely been the way the question was phrased – I would have easily replied, “Classic rock.”
And I meant a very specific kind of classic rock, partially because my musical education was far from complete (this was pre-Internet, mind!) and partially because there were specific bands that I was most drawn to.
Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, and The Beatles were my favorite bands around that time. I loved them greatly (and still do), and it was a not completely sub-conscious rejection of the hair metal and hard rock bands that were largely popular with my fellow youth folk around that time (the best of which I’ve also grown to love later in life).
Cream and Jefferson Airplane were kind of in a solid second tier of that classic rock sound that I was drawn to. The Best of Cream was one of the first CDs that I purchased, which is why “White Room,” “Politician,” and “Born Under A Bad Sign” remain my favorite songs on Wheels of Fire.
“White Room” is the best one of all among that favorite group, and indeed it’s an all time classic of the classic rock era. It’s a perfect culmination of the power trio’s (Jack Bruce, Eric Clapton, and Ginger Baker)… eh, let’s go with powers, shall we? It’s just so confident, storming out of the gate, with perfect falsetto vocals from Bruce for the chorus, and Clapton’s never been better on guitar.
Cream’s cover of Albert King’s “Born Under A Bad Sign” is kind of a quintessential British bluesy hard rock number. And you can never go wrong with lyrics such as, “If it wasn’t for bad luck, you know I wouldn’t have no luck at all.
“Pressed Rat and Warthead” is a great wacko little deep cut. Controlled substances involved in the production of this one, mayhaps?
Pop culture stuff that has something to do with Cream’s Wheels of Fire
When you think about it, the notion of presumably some kind of vehicle having “wheels of fire” breaks down under scrutiny. Doesn’t pass muster under critical evaluation, as it were. Or perhaps, just sayin’, as we used to say back in the day, is more appropriate here.
Personal stuff that has something to do with Cream’s Wheels of Fire
While I did over nine months of research putting together this here best 1,000 albums list, my actual notes that I start from when I write each article “entry” such as this one are pretty minimal. Which is to say, I typically only have the vaguest of ideas of what I’m actually going to discuss when I sit down to write. As you’ll easily note if you’re following along with the fun in any serious way, sometimes it works out better than others! But there’s a fun sense of discovery that I get with writing each one that certainly keeps the process fresh and exciting.
I mention all of this because I recently watched the return season of The Kids in the Hall, the classic (there’s that word again!) sketch comedy group that was and is a huge influence on my sense of humor. The Kids, if you’re wondering, are as great and hilarious as ever.
There’s a sketch in the new season that, while not nearly my (there’s that word again!) favorite, it has stuck with me. And let’s just say I’ll never take a shower again without thinking about how hot hot it is.
Some stats & info about Cream – Wheels of Fire
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock Music, British Bands, Hard Rock, Pop Music, Blues Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Garage Rock, Album Rock
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
- All Music’s rating – 4 out of 5 stars
- When was Wheels of Fire released? 1968
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #741 out of 1,000
Cream’s Wheels of Fire on Spotify
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.