|Wheels of Fire|
|Studio album / Live album by Cream|
|Singles from Wheels of Fire|
|The Encyclopedia of Popular Music|||
Wheels of Fire is the third studio album by the British rock band Cream. It was released in July 1968 as a two-disc vinyl LP, with one disc recorded in the studio and the other recorded live. It reached #3 in the United Kingdom and #1 in the United States, becoming the first platinum-selling double album. In May 2012 it was ranked number 205 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
It was also released as two single LPs, Wheels of Fire (In the Studio) and Wheels of Fire (Live at the Fillmore), released together with similar cover art. In the UK the studio album art was black print on aluminum foil while the live album art was a negative image of the studio cover. In Japan, the studio album art was black on gold foil while the live album art was black on aluminum foil. In Australia, both covers were laminated copies of the Japanese releases (the double album was never released in Australia).
Cream's third album was planned to be a double album on which Atco Records' producer Felix Pappalardi and the group would include several live performances. The group and Pappalardi had, in July and August 1967, recorded studio material at IBC Studios in London, and at Atlantic Studios in New York City during September and October of the same year. Additional studio material was recorded at Atlantic Studios in January and February 1968, during a break from the band's heavy tour schedule. The following month, Pappalardi ordered for a mobile recording studio in Los Angeles to be shipped to the Fillmore Auditorium and the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. Six shows were recorded in San Francisco by Pappalardi and recording engineer Bill Halverson, and extra performances not included on Wheels of Fire ended up on Live Cream and Live Cream Volume II.
The recording engineers on disc one were Tom Dowd and Adrian Barber, the songs on disc two were recorded by Bill Halverson and the performances on the second disc were mixed by Adrian Barber. The artwork for the album was by Martin Sharp who had also done the artwork for Disraeli Gears. The photography was by Jim Marshall.
The band's drummer Ginger Baker co-wrote three songs for the album with pianist Mike Taylor. Bassist Jack Bruce co-wrote four songs with poet Pete Brown. Guitarist Eric Clapton contributed to the album by choosing two cover songs.
For the second disc, Felix Pappalardi chose "Traintime" because it featured Jack Bruce performing a harmonica solo, and "Toad" because it features Ginger Baker's drumming while "Spoonful" and "Crossroads" were used to showcase Eric Clapton's guitar playing.
Disc one: In the Studio
|1.||"White Room" (Jack Bruce, Pete Brown 3)||4:58|
|2.||"Sitting on Top of the World" (Walter Vinson, Lonnie Chatmon; arr. Chester Burnett)||4:58|
|3.||"Passing the Time" (Ginger Baker, Mike Taylor 13)||4:31|
|4.||"As You Said" (Bruce, Brown)||4:20|
|5.||"Pressed Rat and Warthog" (Baker, Taylor)||3:13|
|6.||"Politician" (Bruce, Brown 3)||4:12|
|7.||"Those Were the Days" (3 Baker, Taylor)||2:53|
|8.||"Born Under a Bad Sign" (Booker T. Jones, William Bell 3)||3:09|
|9.||"Deserted Cities of the Heart" (Bruce, Brown 23)||3:38|
Disc two: Live at the Fillmore
|1.||"Crossroads" (Robert Johnson, arr. Clapton)||10 March 1968 at Winterland, San Francisco, CA. (1st show)||4:13|
|2.||"Spoonful" (Willie Dixon)||10 March 1968 at Winterland, San Francisco, CA. (1st show)||16:43|
|1.||"Traintime" (Bruce 4)||8 March 1968 at Winterland, San Francisco, CA. (1st show)||7:01|
|2.||"Toad" (Baker)||7 March 1968 at The Fillmore, San Francisco, CA. (2nd show)||16:15|
Performers on disc one are "the Cream quartet" consisting of Clapton, Baker, and Bruce together with Felix Pappalardi, who plays many different instruments and is also credited with production.
^Note 1: Some pressings of this album contain a longer version of "Passing the Time". The "long version" is extended by a minute and 13 seconds and was included on the gold CD issued by DCC Compact Classics. An "extended version" included on Those Were the Days is an additional 7 seconds longer.
^Note 2: Original U.S. pressings of Wheels of Fire incorrectly listed the running time of "Deserted Cities of the Heart" at 4:36.
^Note 3: Some songs on the studio album were processed with the Haeco-CSG system. Also processed was "Anyone for Tennis", which was released as a single. Haeco-CSG was intended to make stereo recordings that were compatible with mono playback but has the unfortunate side effect of "blurring" the phantom center channel.
^Note 4: Original album pressings list "John Group" as the author of "Traintime". The "John Group" appellation dates back to Jack Bruce's tenure with the Graham Bond Organisation (with whom Bruce originally recorded the song in 1965) and was used by that band to ensure that members other than Bond received songwriting royalties. The song is based on a vintage blues by Peter Chatman.
Per liner notes
It was the first platinum selling double album, and worthy of its inclusion in uDiscover's list of their favourite double albums.
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