So why is Cream’s Disraeli Gears on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?
Let’s start off the conversation about this most classic of classic rock albums by talking about the most classic of gangster movies, Goodfellas.
If you’re a good friend of mine, you know that Goodfellas gets weaved into a great many things for me, so bear with me here.
Director Martin Scorsese is known for leveraging classic rock tunes in many of his films, and I’ll admit that he can lean a little too heavily on The Rolling Stones at times. There’s a scene in Goodfellas where a classic rock song – Cream’s incredible “Sunshine of Your Love” to be specific – fuses with what we see on screen in a way that creates an indelible cinematic moment.
What’s amazing is that the scene – and really it’s more of a moment than a scene – doesn’t include any dialog. And what we see is as simple as can be: a guy sitting at a bar, smoking. The guy is Robert De Niro, playing Jimmy “The Gent” Conway.
Jimmy’s sitting at the bar, smoking, and he’s thinking. He’s thinking hard. And it’s all in De Niro’s face, in his eyes. His crew had pulled off the Lufthansa heist, one of the biggest robberies in history. But maybe it was a little too big, see? Paranoia, greed, resentment start creeping in. Maybe it’s just easier to just whack a bunch of guys and not have to worry about them talking. Ratting. After all, Jimmy’s not unaccustomed to knocking off a few guys if they turn into a problem, right?
And all the while, in this tiny moment, we hear “Sunshine of Your Love,” and it’s absolutely perfect.
Now, it’s a fantastic song on its own right as well, of course. That hook, that great British psychedelic blues rock that culminates in one of the great classic rock choruses of all time. “Sunshine of Your Love” is Cream’s greatest achievement, and it only further bolsters its legacy that it’s used in one of the best scenes (or moments, either way) as part of what I view as the single greatest movie of all time.
What I’d clearly pose as my next few favorite songs off of Disraeli Gears are, in no particular order, “Strange Brew” and “Tales of Brave Ulysses.”
“Strange Brew” is a well mixed psychedelic blues rock cocktail. Although Disraeli Gears came out in November 1967, I associate the song and the album broadly with that summer’s famous “summer of love,” which is when The ‘60s started transitioning ever faster into The ‘60s, the counterculture overtaking the traditional culture in all kinds of ways. Anyway, it’s a solid tune.
“Tales of Brave Ulysses” is strange (as opposed to “Strange Brew,” ironically enough), both more psychedelic and harder rocking than much of the rest of the album. The combination works well though, and shows off the incredible musical chops of Cream’s famous power trio lineup of Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, and future solo superstar Eric Clapton.
“World of Pain” is a pretty song and good example of when Cream leans into its most psychedelic side while lightening up quite a bit from a sonic perspective.
Personal stuff that has something to do with Cream’s Disaraeli Gears
Something I don’t think I’ve written about much, if at all, is that I played the double bass back in the day, that huge beast of an instrument that you have to stand upright to play (so it’s also sometimes referred to as the upright bass). I also played a bit of the bass guitar, and one of the songs I loved messing around with was Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love.” Good times.
Some stats & info about Cream – Disraeli Gears
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock Music, Classic Rock, British Bands, Hard Rock, Blues Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Album Rock
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – #170
- All Music’s rating – 4.5 out of 5 stars
- When was Disraeli Gears released? 1967
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #619 out of 1,000
Cream’s Disraeli Gears on Spotify
A lyrical snippet from Cream’s Disraeli Gears that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe
I’ve been waiting so long to be where I’m going, in the sunshine of your love.
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.