Music History

Music History Biographies

Music History Of The Week

Music History Calendar

Jack Bruce

On 14/05/1943: Jack Bruce was born in Bishopbriggs, Lanarkshire. His full birth name was John Symon Asher Bruce.
He began playing bass in his teens and won a scholarship to the cello and composition at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. During his time there he played jazz in Jim McHarg's Scotsville Jazzband to earn money to support his studies. When the college found out they told him to either stop playing jazz, as they disapproved of it, or leave the college. Jack chose to leave.
Upon leaving he toured Italy for a while with the Murray Campbell Big Band playing the double bass. By 1962 he was in London and joined Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated, which also featured Graham Bond on organ and Charlie Watts on drums. Watts left the band to join The Rolling Stones and Ginger Baker came into the group to play the drums. In 1963 the band broke up and he joined Bond and Baker to form the Graham Bond Organisation along with John McLaughlin on guitar and Dick Heckstall-Smith on saxophone. After three years the band had started to frequently fight amongst each other and a feud had developed between him and Baker. Bruce left the band and soon joined John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, which featured Eric Clapton. He only stayed there a brief time before moving to Manfred Mann. There he achieved chart success with songs such as "Pretty Flamingo", but he didn't enjoy the over commercial nature of the music.
In the meantime, Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker had discussed creating a band. Clapton had mentioned wanting Bruce to join. Baker then made the initial contact with Jack to ask him to join. The band formed in 1966.
Cream became a massive success. With songs including "Sunshine of your Love", "I Feel Free", "White Room", "Crossroads" and "Badge" amongst many others. Baker and Bruce still had a lot of tension between them and they had a relentless schedule. The band split in 1968, Bruce feeling they had moved too far away from the music he wanted to play.
In 1968 he recorded an acoustic jazz album with Mclaughlin, Heckstall-Smith and John Hiseman. It was released in 1970.
In 1969 he released his first solo album "Songs for a Tailor".
He then briefly joined the jazz group Lifetime.
In 1972 he joined the blues-rock supergroup West, Bruce and Laing with Leslie West and Corky Laing. They produced two albums and split in 1974.
A number of collaborations and short-lived bands followed. Involving musicians such as Robin Trower, Frank Zappa, Gary Moore and even Ginger Baker on several occasions.
In 2005 Cream reformed for a series of concerts at the Royal Albert Hall and Madison Square Garden.
He passed away in 2014 from a battle with liver disease. He left a musical legacy and was widely considered by many commentator and fellow musicians as one of the very best.

The Music History Calendar is written by the Blues Rock artist Marshland Pete
If you would like more, come join our Music News and History Facebook Group Community