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Crossroads by Cream

Album: Wheels Of FireReleased: 1968Charted:
  • This was originally recorded by the blues musician Robert Johnson in the 1930s. According to legend, Johnson went to the crossroads and made a deal with the devil, giving up his soul in exchange for the ability to play the blues. The story originates from an interview with the blues singer Son House, who explained how Johnson went from being a terrible guitar player to a very good one in a very short period of time. Over the years, the story grew into the tale of Johnson selling his soul to the devil.

    Johnson fueled the legend on his track "Me And The Devil Blues," where he sings about his meeting with Satan himself. In that song, Johnson explains that as part of his deal with the devil, the prince of darkness would harvest all of Robert's "Childrens" at the age of 27, which is exactly how old Robert was when he died in 1938. A spooky correlation is the number of music stars who have died at age 27. Some members of the "27 Club" include Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, Al Wilson (Canned Heat), Brian Jones (The Rolling Stones) and Kurt Cobain. (Thanks to music historians Dwight Rounds and Ed Parker for their help with this)
  • Cream's version is a compilation of parts of two Johnson songs: "Crossroads Blues" and "Traveling Riverside Blues." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jeff - New York, NY
  • Inside the gatefold of the 2-disk LP Wheels Of Fire, the song listings for Sides 3 (including "Crossroads") and 4 are misleadingly subheaded, "Live at the Fillmore." Same with Disk 2 of the 2-CD versions.

    "Crossroads" was recorded at the Winterland Ballroom, also in San Francisco. Just one of the four live songs on these two LP sides, "Toad," was actually recorded at the Fillmore, but the Fillmore name had a lot more marketing appeal. "Crossroads" was recorded at Winterland on March 10, 1968, a Sunday, during the first of the two Cream shows that night. "Crossroads" immediately followed "Spoonful" in the performance, whereas on the album, "Crossroads" comes right before "Spoonful."
  • The version on the album was not edited down, although the booklet for the Crossroads boxed set implies that it was. Eric Clapton didn't like to talk about the song and has said it was an inferior performance because the trio got the time disjointed a bit in Eric's third solo chorus - that is, the first chorus (instrumental "verse") of his second solo. So, he never really praised that performance.

    When pressed on the length and editing issues, he might say something along the vague lines of he supposed it was originally longer, because the Cream usually played it longer live.
  • At the end of the song, Jack Bruce announces, "Eric Clapton, please," over Eric's saying, "Thank you" (both said simultaneously). Eric follows up by saying (probably turning toward Jack), "Kerfuffle." This is British English for "foul-up," referring to the time disjoint back in mid-song.
  • Clapton played this on a Gibson SG, a solid-body guitar that had been psychedelically painted.
  • Clapton recorded this song two years earlier in a greatly different form - slower, less urban, Steve Winwood singing, plus a harmonica - though he still gave credit to Robert Johnson.

    In March 1966 he was still with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, but he went to do a one-off studio session with, among others, Jack Bruce (bass) and Stevie Winwood (vocals and keys). This group called themselves The Powerhouse, and "Cross Roads" (note space) was one of three songs they recorded. This was the version, appearing on an album with various artists called What's Shakin', that was heard by a young Duane Allman in mid-1966. With his early band The Allman Joys, Duane (with his brother Gregg on vocals) recorded a ragged version of "Cross Roads" soon after What's Shakin' was released, and about two years before the Cream version was released. The Allman Joys' version might have been pretty ragged, but in spirit it actually anticipated the Cream's smoking version, rather than the Powerhouse's take.
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd recorded this for their One More From The Road live album. In most ways it is like the Cream's arrangement, but the guitar solos are pretty much different, though they refer to Eric's solo in a few phrases.

    Fusion bassist Jeff Berlin did a version on the 1986 album Pump It!. It had additional parts - especially an intro and an outro - but was otherwise similar to the Cream's arrangement. Berlin played Eric's solos somewhat note for note, only on bass.

    Eddie Van Halen has also covered the song, and Rush (another trio of musicians) covered this on their album Feedback. John Mayer covered the song on his 2009 album, Battle Studies. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jeff - Haltom City, TX
  • Clapton named his 1988 greatest hits compilation Crossroads after this song. In 2004, he released a blues album called Me And Mr. Johnson, the title a reference to Robert Johnson.
  • Cream played this in 1993 when they reunited for their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
  • "Crossroads" is the name of Clapton's rehab center in Antigua. Clapton battled depression and drug addiction in the '70s.
  • In Clapton: The Autobiography, Eric talks about Robert Johnson's fingerpicking style that had him "simultaneously playing a disjointed bass line on the low strings, rhythm on the middle strings, and lead on the treble strings while singing at the same time." Johnson's sound was very hard to re-create, and it often sounded like more than one guitarist was playing. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
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Comments: 93

For fifty years now, I've felt pretty sure about what was spoken at the end of the song, but now I'm less do. All these years I have been hearing Jack Bruce telling the audience in sort of a sardonic way, "Eric Clapton please, on Vocals"" I mean Clapton has just delivered himself of the most amazing guitar lick in history, and Bruce is anxious the audience should know the name of the vocalist on the number,as if the guitar solo wasn't really all that important. i'VE always thought it a little bit of a joke between group members.Steve - Encinitas, Ca
At the end of the song, Jack Bruce says "Eric Clapton lead....and vocal." Eric simply says "Thank you", not "Kerfuffle."Todd B. - Illinois
To Leo of San Jose:
U say you SAW EC use the ES-335 at the Oakland Colosseum???
Prove it please. I have the photos of every concert from that Farewell Tour. At Oakland he is ONLY seen playing his Les Paul and Firebird, the ONLY two guitars he used throughout the Farewell US tour. Did he magically teleport his 335 from England where he was keeping it during the US Cream tours? Unless you have photos that can definitively prove your claim, you are probably either hallucinating or confusing the Cream concert with Blind Faith because during the Blind Faith tour of the summer of 1969, EC did bring his ES-335 along with his Les Paul and Firebird. As I have stated in many articles and the below article (typos included), the ONLY existing photos of EC using the ES-335 with Cream, were during their final Royal Albert Hall farewell performance in London England, on November 26, 1968 as seen in the movie. He was also photographed using it during rehearsals for those two shows.

So please STOP STOP STOP (as the Hollies once sang) parroting the persistent total falsehood that Eric Clapton played his Gibson ES-335 during Cream....he ONLY played it ONCE during a Cream live performance and as I said, it was in London during the final Cream farewell performance and the Royal Albert Hall, along with his, you guessed it, Firebird. As I say below, this myth was invented by the Burst Brothers of Guitar Center for the sole greedy purpose of selling the re-issue ES-335 after they purchased it from the Christies Auction.

By far, and known by any Cream or Clapton scholar, his number ONE Cream guitar, hands down, from the spring of 67 through May 1968, was his Gibson SG standard with the psychedelic design known lovingly as "the Fool". In late 1966 after his Bluesbreaker Beano Les Paul was stolen, he started Cream with two, possibly three, different Les Pauls then switched to his SG around March 1967 than by late April 68, started experimenting with his Gibson Reverse Firebird which along with two different Les Paul standards, became his main guitar during the Cream Farewell tour of the US between October and November of 68.

Next crazy delusional myth that will infect the internet, will invent that Clapton actually used a massive 17th century pipe organ playing Bach Fugues:-) Ah, great idea, who wants to start that fantasy? Time to crash.
Martin Mocha - Vermont
Please, lets set the record straight!.....like a never ending worm virus, this outrageous lie that Clapton used his ES-335 in the US with during Cream is TOTAL BULLSH.T!!!!! This is a total fabrication created by the Burst Brothers of Guitar Center AFTER they purchased EC's old 335 at the Christies Auction to help hype it & sell it, they created the lie & myth that states it was his "Crossroads" guitar which is totally absurd, and patently false.
I challenge ANYBODY to come up with ONE single photo of EC using the 335 with Cream in DURING ANY US tour...NOT the final Royal Albert Hall Farewell performance of November 26, 1968 in London England where he used it during the rehearsals (photos taken) and during the second set of the RAH performance which is part of a movie any Cream fan has seen. Those performances were the ONLY time EC ever used the Gibson 335 during a live Cream performance period.

I have collected photos of EVERY single US Cream performance from late 1967 including every single performance during the Cream US Farewell Tour between October and November 1968 and the ONLY guitars Eric is seen with, in every single concert without fail, is, his Les Paul standard and his Gibson Firebird.....NO 335, zip, not there, sorry.

He traded his original Les Paul during the opening Oakland Colosseum concert to Paul Kossoff of Free (on the bill) for his Les Paul then along with his Firebird, used those two throughout the US Farewell tour barring one or two borrowed Les Pauls. Whether it was Philly, LA forum, Madison Square Garden in NY, or Phoenix, Atlanta, Dallas, you name it and Clapton either used his Les Paul standard in cherry sunburst or the Gibson Firebird.

During the previous Disraeli Gears tour between the fall of 67 and early June 1968, EC predominantly used his famous Gibson SG standard known as the "Fool" because of the psychedelic design painted on the body, neck and headstock of his 1964 SG Standard, plus he occasionally used one or two Les Pauls, being a Cherry Sunburst standard or Black Beauty Les Paul custom with three humbucking pickups although he later seemed to have a two pickup version of a Les Paul custom. I saw him in Philly during April 1968 with Cream and he used his SG standard through a dual Marshall stack, an unforgettable, visceral performance.

So please STOP STOP STOP (as the Hollies once sang) the persistence total horse sh.t falsehood that Eric Clapton played his Gibson ES-335 during Cream....he ONLY played it ONCE during a Cream live performance and as I said, it was in London during the final Cream farewell performance and the Royal Albert Hall, along with his, you guessed it, Firebird.

It could be that people are either confused because he DID play his ES-335 with BLIND FAITH during their US tour in the summer of 1969, along with his Firebird and Les Paul plus he is rumored to have used his 335 for the Cream studio recording of Badge although unconfirmed. Lastly, people are believing the erroneous garbage they read on the internet promulgated by the Burst Brothers myth so they could sell the Gibson reissue of the Clapton ES-335. Lets get it right, how many times do I have to write these long diatribes on the web to snuff out this horrendous lingering hunk of friggin disinformation? Apparently it won't go away....sort of like Fox(ed) News:-)
Martin Mocha - Vermont
The unbelievable BS, erroneous crap about Clapton's solo being edited is laughable but yet persists like a computer internet virus. I have a boot of Crossroads from the same March 10, 1968 performance, from a hand held mic in the audience, and it's the SAME EXACT recording, same solos, period..case closed. The shameful aspect of this, is because a drunk Tom Down once blurted out this piece of disinformation which he has since retracted and admitted, he "just said it due to being inebriated and confused".
So lets set the record straight, not only was Clapton's Crossroads solo without doubt, one of the most iconic, and truly greatest live guitar performances ever recorded in the genre of blues rock, but it has become the benchmark and litmus test since for all or any aspiring guitarist who wants to follow the path of the "rock guitar hero" trip to mythical fame.
Clapton's Winterland Crossroads performance along with others like Sleepy Time Time, Sitting on top of the World from the LA Forum and many others, are what catapulted Clapton to the heights of guitar stardom and hero status plus, inspired and influenced generations of guitarists rivaling Hendrix as the "white" bookend of the two greatest blues rock guitarists of the late 20th century.
Sadly, Clapton's massive sound created by Gibson solid body guitars and his dual Marshall stack (or single stack) stopped after the Cream disbanded and even though he remains a legend and deservedly so, the Fender Strat watered down his sound to such an extent, it created an anemic presentation which pulled all the power out of his great solos. He apparently retired his guitar her status at the end of Blind Faith and the rest is history but the guitar playing world will always defer to his glory days with the Bluesbreakers and Cream which has become a watershed event in electric guitar history and has left a legacy that sets a gold standard for what can be considered truly "great blues guitar virtuosity".
Martin Mocha - Vermont
First time I heard "Crossroads" from the "Wheels of Fire" LP was in '68 while listening to an "underground rock" station in Kansas City. The whole underground scene was weird back then and so much strange fun. Especially, while being zonked-out. What memories from 46 years ago! I believe that's when I began "babbling" incoherently!!Babbling Babette - Tulsa Ok
It's been a 40 years plus mystery. What does he say at the end of the song???? To me he says : FA POCO....Joe Sbommbo - Los Angeles, Ca
Clapton did NOT use a 335 during the live Wheels of Fire recordings. It was the psychedelic SG. I was there and I have pics. He used the 335 during the Goodbye tour.
I saw Cream all 3 time they came to San Francisco. The first time in '67 he used the SG, same in '68 at Winterland and the Fillmore. The third time was at Oakland Coliseum and he used the 335.
Leo - San Jose, Ca
Has anybody listened to the end of the song and watched the video at the same time? Sure must be Ginger Baker saying: "Eric Clapton please, on vocals".Ron - Ottawa, On
Jack Bruce does not speak at the end. Eric Clapton says 'Thank You' as Ginger Baker clearly says (in his South London accent), 'Eric Clapton, please, above all'. End of.Gavin - London, United Kingdom
A couple of corrections. The guitar Clapton used in the live recording, and most of his live work in the latter days of Cream with his red Gibson ES335. This guitar had a much fatter tone than "The Fool" psychedelic SG. Also, at the end of the recording, it was Ginger Baker saying, "Eric Clapton, please, on vocal."Victor - Scharnak, Wa
sooooo much better fastNick - Seattle, Albania
First time i heard that lead guitar, I was just blown away..and still am everytime i hear it!Sam - Hipsville, Ca
The songfact about the lyrics in "Me and the Devil Blues" mentioning the number 27 or for that matter "childrens", seems to be unfounded as far as I can tell based on any online lyrics. It makes for an excellent story though, so if anyone can prove me wrong, I would be thrilled.Roy - Granbania, Ma
Has anyone heard Lynyrd Skynyrd's cover from "One More From the Road"? I think it's a great cover. Right there with Rush's in my opinion.Scott - Boston, Ma
Actually, David from GA, it most definitely is a cover, the first, second, and last verses come from 'Cross Road Blues' and the third comes from 'Traveling Riverside Blues', both by Robert Johnson.Will - Rock Hill, Sc
In the years since it was released, I've listened to WOF,& Crossroads & Spoonful in particular, countless numbers of times. At the end of CR, I hear Eric say to the audience, "Thank you". At the same instant, I hear Jack saying, "Eric Clapton, please....the vocal." While issuing one of the most blistering guitar solos in rock history, he, at the same time sung a fabulous lead vocal part. I think Jack was highlighting that. John D. ChicagoJohn - Chicago, Il
I've listened to "Crossroads" from WOF countless times over the past 40 years. I hear Eric saying when it's finished, "Thank you" to the audience, but Jack talks at the same time, saying, "Eric Clapton, please....the vocal". He says it quickly, so you have to listen carefully, but that's what Jack says. John D., ChicagoJohn - Chicago, Il
I gotta agree with Ken in San Diego's statement. Of all the versions of this song (as performed by Cream)) the Winterland version is far and away the best one. The others hardly come close in performance and sound quality. It probably helps that I have a remastered version, rather than the original.

I agree with Ben from Hong Kong. Jack Bruce is at his very best here. Clapton and Baker ain't none too shabby, neither. But I'm a bass player, so I'm biased (like Bassdude.)

I've been trying to find more info on "my friend boy, Willie Brown." I've found that he was from Clarksdal, Ms. and was a friend of Son House. Supposedly he preferred to play accompaniment rather than lead or solo.

Finally, the concept of Robert Johnson selling his soul to the devil was an apocryphal tale that was originally cultivated by Tommy Johnson (no relation to Robert that I know of) as part of the "sinister persona" he (TJ) tried to present in hopes of gaining more recognition (supposedly.) In fact, Tommy Johnson is said to have been an alcoholic and itinerant musician who wandered all over the South performing when and where he could until his death in 1956.
Ray - Bonneville Salt Flats, Ut
It's a common misconception that Cream's version is a cover of Robert Johnson's version. Actually the only things the songs have in common are the name and the part of the first verse. After that Cream's lyrics are totally different than Johnson's.David - Winder, Ga
I've been able to rack down several Cream versions of this song and none come close to the Winterland performance. It seems that Eric, Jack and Ginger were all at their peak on this night. Some of the other versions are actually quite bad, uneven and the solos are completely different. The Winterland version shows Clapton at his best but listen to Jack Bruce keep up his bass lines beat for beat with Eric, while Ginger fills in at every opportunity, just brilliant from all three musicians and with out question the greatest live recording.Ken - San Diego, Ca
I saw Cream in 2004 perform this song @ Madison
Square Garden - the whole show was a religous experience worth the ticket price of 250.00 USD

EC played lead as a mathmetician and with searing
notes. Ginger and Jack have not lost a step.
Francis L. Vena - New York City,, Ny
ok i am canadian like rush, but i cannot stand geddy lee's voice. i find it to bo one of the most annoying voices in music today. to all u rush fans out there im sorry but i think geddy lee is terrible. cream rocks by the way, eric clapton is awesome in this song.Kiyoto - Vancouver, Canada
Jonell Mosser did a fantastic cover of this song for the Boys on the Side soundtrack in 1995.Barb - Virginia Beach, Va
I was walking downtown one night to pick up some donuts and a 2 liter of sprite, I was hungry. It was around 10 pm or something and I heard this song, turns out there were three homeless guys who were playing it. i stood and listend for a minute and gave them a tip. when i got to the gas station to buy my stuff, I didn't have enough money. My wallet had a five and a one dollar bill. i gave the bums the five instead of the one! i left the gas station wistling crossroads.Joe - Bellingham, Wa
"Eric Clapton please...Vocals" that is seriously hilarious i laugh every time without fail. Just listen to the intonation in Jack's voice, he clearly isnt saying "eric clapton lead" or he would have paused after clapton.Jim - Toledo, Oh
This was recorded at the Winterland Ballroom, not the Fillmore. "Live at the Fillmore" is misleading, since only one song ("Toad") was recorded at that venue.James - Tracy, Ca
I was amazed to find out this was live. Indeed, Clapton is no mortal. (Hee, hee!)Allen - Bethel, Ak
This is possibly the best song ever recorded by Cream. This is the first "hard rock" album I ever bought, in 1968. I played this song so much I wore out the LP.

Later in 1975 or so I saw Clapton and his band in concert in Indianapolis, around the time the "E.C. Was Here" album came out. He didn't play "Crossroads," and I was disappointed. At least he played "Layla" the way it was originally recorded by Derek and the Dominoes--and made it look easy.
Pat - Albuquerque, Nm
There was actually a good reason EVH turned his back. Before "Van Halen I" was released, the band told Eddie to play his solos with his back to the audience so that no one would pick up on the two handed tapping thing. Robert Johnson, ironically played like this at times so no one in the crowd could "cheat" and see how he did his more complicated parts on guitar. BTW, tim, richmond, VA - page didnt invent twohanded tapping. it just sounds like that because he's using open strings. People, go get some guitar lessons.Max - Brooklyn, Ny
I don't know if Eddie would have turned his back in shame. Who knows why he did it? No one. Maybe he didn't want people to see it. I don't know.Stefanie - Rock Hill, Sc
Actually Mike the Who was around before Cream was.Stefanie - Rock Hill, Sc
It is Eric Claptain singing lead vocals and playing lead guitar.Stefanie - Rock Hill, Sc
Reguarding what Son House said about Robert Johnson, I think he was just jealous. There is documentation that Robert Johnson learned to play as well as he did from an unrecorded guitarist named Ike Zinman or Ike Zinnerman. He was born in Grady Alabama in the 1890's, and he learned to play the guitar ontop of tombstones. Johnson would spend hours learning with him or going over what he had learned. From what I have read, Son House seems to have been the first person to suggest that Robert Johnson sold his soul. There's even a quote from Son House in which he says: "He sold his soul to play like that." Btw, if you like Robert Johnson's music, you'll like Son House's. He was a great blues singer, and a good blues guitarist.Stefanie - Rock Hill, Sc
Gedddy Lee is a good vocalist, but Jack Bruce is better.Stefanie - Rock Hill, Sc
I always thought it was "Eric Clapton, lead, and vocal"Nick - Moncton, Canada
The song "Crossroads" was performed by Cream on the BBC show Guitar Club on November 28, 1966, albeit slower and not as explosive, this performance pre-dates the Wheels of Fire version by 17 months. The session was broadcast by BBC on Dec. 30, 1966.Mike - Queens, Ny
Cream obviously wasnt the first 3 piece band, they are just considered to be the first "Power Trio" rock band. A power trio consists of one lead guitar, one drummer and one bass player. "Power Trios" became very popular in the 60's after Cream, ex. Jimi Hendrix Experience, and groups like the Who or Led Zeppelin who used a power trio musical format but added a vocalistMike - Queens, Ny
Dude, the chances of Cream being the first ever, anywhere, never before seen three peice is stupid. Joe perry(Aerosmith) was in a three peice in his youth.Ben - Nyc, Ms
Did you know cream was the first ever 3 piece group ever.Cody - Hagerstown, Md
Where can I hear Free's (or Rush's) cover? For my 2 cents, Jack's comments at the end of Xroads is "Eric Clapton: Lead... and vocal"J - Seattle, Wa
Dude EVH has said ON RECORD that clapton "affected me more than any one else." From the man himself.Ben - Nyc, Ms
clapton was not EVH's idol, jimmy page was. and page was a bigger influence on EVH because he [page] created 2 hand tapping on "heartbreaker" and was the main inspiration behind eruption.Josh - New York, Ny
Free's live version of this is excellent. Maybe even better than Cream's. Except for the fact that Paul Rodgers forgets the words halfway through...

Also check out Clapton's cover of Robert Johnson's "Traveling Riverside Blues" on Me and Mr. Johnson from which "Crossroads" was created. Much slower pace, but it's so menacing.
Sam - Shanghai, China
I'm sorry i made a mistake. it skipped my mindBen - Nyc, Ms
Ben, let's get our facts straight. Jack Bruce doesn't sing Crossroads, Eric Clapton does. In fact, Eric sings and plays lead on the song at the same time, given that it's a live recording. I don't guess anyone in Rush had to do both at once. Although I haven't heard much of Rush, aren't they from that era of bands where every group's lead singer sounded like two tom cats with their tails taped together?Steve - Fenton, Mo
Worst Male Vocalist?? are you serious!!?!?!Ben - Nyc, Ms
One of the greatest live recordings ever. I've never heard Rush's cover, but seeing how Geddy Lee is the worst male vocalist ever, I can't imagine the song being very enjoyable. And what is actually said at the end of the song? To me it sounds more like "Eric Clapton please" than "Eric Clapton on lead."Chet Walters, Ink Specialist - Bethlehem, Pa
Still I just think lifeson's solo is better. Also Geddy's is a Better vocalalist Than Jack BruceBen - Nyc, Ms
Ben from NYC: You're fooling yourself. Rush's version was heavily influenced by Cream's-- they pretty much copied it.Evan - Fullerton, Ca
eddie V. H. is a child compared to eric clapton, he turned his back in shame during concerts as he finger tapped hist strings, what a joke, he used one pentatonic position while clapton broke the guitar and blues world wide open with his intelligence and finesseTim - Richmond, Va
come on guys, bruce says "eric clapton on lead... and vocals." as he plays lead guitar and singsTim - Richmond, Va
Clapton's guitar playing on this song is some of the best ever recorded. I think Clapton is intimidated by it and therefore doesn't want to try to reproduce it. The two times I've seen him in concert, my biggest disappointment has been his refusal to play Crossroads the way he played it with Cream. If he's simply going to try to play it in Robert Johnson's slide guitar style, don't bother. This is another case where the Cream version virtually rewrites the song.Steve - Fenton, Mo
I'll take Clapton's guitar playing over anyone else because Eric Clapton has melodic solos and knows when to show restraint. Eddie Van Halen is obviously fast and has invented a guitar playing technique, but he uses basically the same solo on every song.Steve - Fenton, Mo
Rush's version is Better. Lifeson leaves Clapton choking in the DUST.Ben - Nyc, Ms
Oops, I also forgot to add that they're still doing the same thing at their recent reunion at the Royal Albert Hall.Evan - Fullerton, Ca
Steve from Alexandria: the members of Cream frequently introduced each other, especially on songs that featured a particular band member. At the end of the live version of "Rollin' and Tumblin'," Clapton says "Jack Bruce, everyone." On the live version of "Toad," Clapton also acknowledges Ginger Baker after the drum solo. They even introduced each other on songs that didn't feature a certain band member, like Baker introducing his bandmates after "Sitting on Top of the World."Evan - Fullerton, Ca
I read that Cream was a jam band so i'm thinking claptons solo wasnt rehearsed so when the drummer kidna changed the beat, Clapton was able to mold his solo's timing to fit in again and they just went from there.
Those solos are amazing. I personally think the second one is better than Stairway to Heaven's solo but that's jsut me. Either way Clapton is amazing and he is my favorite guitarist of all time
Kartik - Peace River, Canada
This is my first post on this forum. Been a fan of Eric Clapton since I was 13. I am 51 now. What Jack Bruce says at the end of Crossroads is either pretty funny of a slam at Eric. Think about it, Clapton has just finished one of the greatest guitar solos in all of rock and roll - really shredded it, and all Jack can say is "Eric Clapton, please, for vocals." I hope it was a joke cause there were countless stories about how they didn't get along - particularly Jack and Ginger Baker.Steve - Alexandria, Va
For any of you who are curious, you should check out Robert Johnson's version. It's incredible!! I don't know where you can find it on the net, but it is on his first King of the Delta Blues Singers compilation, and it is probably on his Complete Recordings box-set too.Stefanie - Rock Hill, Sc
There's clearly at least one more syllable after Bruce says "Eric Clapton," so it can't be just "Eric Clapton, above all." It sounds like the "-ease" sound in "please" to me.Evan - Fullerton, Ca
Robert "Little Dusty" Johnson started out as a harmonica player, then suddenly came back as this polished guitar player. The original version is acoustic slide guitar. As one who attended the Fillmore concert in '68(The original Fillmore, not the later Fillmore West), I can attest that Eric's playing was stratospheric. He did play a Firebird IV through his reworked Marshall amps. The old Fillmore was the perfect room for big amps.Robert - Santa Barbara, Ca
I've been playing guitar since 65' and there is no better example of a power trio than this. I've heard Clapton thought his solo was a "piece of crap" and being very self critical myself as a guitarist I can see what he's thinking but he's wrong. Hendrix has always been my main influence but this track represents everything I always wanted to be as a guitarist or as a member of a band...it's 3 guys in perfect harmony just wailin'. No better piece of music has ever come out since.Marc - Utica, Ny
MSG is Madison Square Garden.Dan - Lee, Nh
I believe Bruce actually says, "Eric Clapton, vocal" since this was one of the few Cream songs Clapton sung.Matt - Lansdale, Pa
Yeah: I know what you mean Dan. I have the live cd set of them at Royal Albert Hall, and there reallly good on it, but they did lose a little of that fire. The cd's are great though. They are definitely worth checking out.lStefanie - Rock Hill, Sc
The concert was at MSG and it was really good they didn't disapoint, but I must admit they lost some of their fire power.Dan - Lee, Nh
Actually, It was probably somewhere else, because they had already played quite a few shows in London in May.Stefanie - Rock Hill, Sc
Where's this October concert? Where hve i been? I didn't hear about it until coming to the website.Stefanie - Rock Hill, Sc
Kona and Bassdude Bruce clearly says "Eric Clapton, above all."Jim - Macungie, Pa
actually bassdude, i think bruce's playing on crossroads is some of the best blues(or bass for that matter) playing any bass player has ever done before. During the solo, he always improvises his stuff. I can say that Bruce probably puts on as good a show as clapton does on this track and im a guitar player :D This is a perfect example of why people call them the power trio of rockBen - Chinatown, Hong Kong
I do believe Robin Trower did Crossroads also. At least that's what I am listening to right now.Dave - Nashville, Tn
Not that it's any big deal, but as a guitarist I had my suspicions early on that "Crossroads" was an edited performance. Put on the song and keep time in your head or tap it out on your knee. Try to keep a steady tempo all the way through the song. Then notice what happens, timing-wise, after Eric's last solo as he goes into the verse "run you can run." The tempo changes, a beat is lost, and if you follow my drift, that's a dead give-away. With today's digital technology, that timing discrepancy, that bad splice, could probably be corrected and that abrupt change in tempo would never be noticed.

Of course, like most of you, when I listen to Crossroads I could care less about the above.
Albert - Charleston, Wv
Clapton says in his 2004 guitar auction book that his Cherry Red Gibson ES-335 was the Crossroads guitar.Mark - Peterborough, Canada
I think it's the whole band that makes it such a great version.I love to listen to Jack as much as Eric (I'm a bassist so I'm a little biased)& of course Ginger's holding his own as well.I've played this in several bands & it's always one song I don't get sick of playing.I always Jack says "Eric Clapton on vocals" at the end.Bassdude - Spring, Tx
For Leya and Kona: at the end of the track, I think Jack Bruce says "Eric Clapton, above all".Damien - Sydney, Australia
Thank you, Kona in CO!Leya Qwest - Anchorage, Ak
For Leya, I believe Jack Bruce says "Eric Clapton, lead vocal" on the end of Crossroads.Kona - Colorado Springs, Co
Okay, so what exactly is it that Jack Bruce says after this song is over? All I can make out as the audience cheers in the background is "Eric Clapton,(please?), the (what?)." I've asked, but no one seems to know for sure and it's always bugged the heck outta me not knowing!Leya Qwest - Anchorage, Ak
Frank Marino and Mahogany Rush play a smokin version of Crossroads on thier Real Live disc 1 cd. I love Clapton's version but FM is my favorite! Check it out.Kona - Colorado Springs, Co
ok....so seen as this is a cover of 2 robert johnson songs,if you think the story about him is cool and interesting, check out a guy named R. Gary Patterson. the man knows everything about music history and legends...defiantely check him out,you wont be disappointed.Jamie - Surrey, Canada
Yeah, I know and I'll say it, this is the greatest live solo ever, but don't over look Jack's and Ginger's performances on this song, they are almost as stellar as Clpaton's.Swansong200 - Calhoun, Ga
I agree with all of you. I love the live version of "Crossroads" that Claptain did with cream. Even though he doesn't like the solo that much, it does show what a guitar henius he is. At least that's what I think.Stefanie Magura - Rock Hill, Sc
I found and interesting video of this. In it you can see that Jack has obviously made a mistake (By his facial expression) but when you listen to it...you hear nothing out of the ordinary... just goes to show how great Jack Bruce is :DKel - Bucksport, Me
I read that this song wasn't edited down, that all the versions they played during that series of concerts all came in at slightly over 4 minutes. Also, Clapton has said he doesn't care for the solo in this version because it's on the wrong beat. But if you ask me, it ranks in the top 5 guitar solos of all time.Chris - Bluffton, Sc
The devil's guitar player in de the movie Crossroads is played by Steve vai. He plays his own solo, as well as the semi-classical stuff at the end of the guitar duel that Macchio plays to beat him. Vai didn't want this to be on the soundtrack album because as the devil's player he was supposed not to be able to play it, so he had to fake all sorts of mistakes. He was afraid people would think he really wouldn;t be able to play it.Martijn - Helmond, Netherlands
I know that Clapton doesn't understand why this recording is so popular, but many guitarists (myself included) think Crossroads is one of the finest live solos ever recorded. The glassy, singing tone of Clapton's guitar (a Gibson Firebird through Marshall amps, I believe) is gorgeous; and Clapton's note choices as he slides effortlessly back and forth between major and minor pentatonic scales are awe inspiring. Add Bruce's outstanding bass work and Baker's drums, and you've got pure genius on tape.Al - Amherst, Oh
There are several live recordings of Clapton doing "Crossroads". My favorite is with Derrick & the Dominos that has an allstar cast of musicians, including Duanne Allman. The guitar work is excellant throughout and at times brilliant. Another (available on video) is a duet with Bob Dylan that is very cool and a lot of fun. They're really enjoying the moment.

I find it hard to believe that Clapton doesn't like the song considering how he continues to keep playing it. It is true that he wasn't comfortable playing with Cream, which is the main reason most of their songs were written and sung by Jack Bruce.
-Jim, San Clemente, CA
Jim - San Clemente, Ca
Clapton has said in a few interviews that he in fact cant stomach the recording of crossroads, or much of any of Cream's work. He really felt that the band was out of the beat during the show and that its just not worth ever listening to.Tyler - Farmington, Mi
There is a variation on the Devil & Robert Johnson myth in the 1986 movie "Crossroads". As I remember it, Ralph Macchio (of "Karate Kid" fame) stars as a blues-obsessed music student who has a guitar showdown vs. the Devil's own favorite. He
is trying win back old Willie Brown's soul in exchange for a long-lost Robert Johnson song.
Ry Cooder did the soundtrack.
Olaf - Occidental, Ca
In reply to Denana. This is a cover of a blues song by Robert Johnson. Johnson's version was called 'Crossroad Blues' and the mystique surrounding this 1920's blues guitar player has been hightened by him allegedly 'going down to the crossroads' to sell his soul to the devil in order to play the guitar better. This is backed up by the fact that he apparently (according to sources of the time) improved an impossible amount literally over night. I think the sporadic guitar in Cream's version is just fantastic, it really makes me smile every time I hear it. It's such a heady mix of many elements and it just fits together so well. Eric's playing is supreme and through his skill, talent, determination and will power he has achieved the name of GOD. And that's who he is - GOD with a guitar.Allen - Leicestershire, England
The important thing to remember about "Crossroads" is; It has jack bruce playing inovative bass!Peter - TromsÃ?, Norway
This is an old blues song, and Clapton loves to cover blues. While he was in rehab acouple of times, Crossroads was not one of themDeana - Indianapolis, In
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