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Sunshine Of Your Love

by

Cream



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

The lyrics were written by Pete Brown, a beat poet who was friends with Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce. He also wrote lyrics for "I Feel Free" and "White Room." Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce wrote the music.
Jack Bruce's bass line carries the song. He got the idea for it after going to a Jimi Hendrix concert. When Kees van Wee interviewed Bruce in 2003 for the Dutch magazine Heaven, Kees asked him which of his many songs epitomizes Jack Bruce the most. At first he was in doubt whether he should answer "Pieces Of Mind" or "Keep On Wondering," but then he changed his mind and opted for "Sunshine Of Your Love." Because, Said Bruce, "It's based on a bass riff. And when you enter a music shop this is the song that kids always play to try out a guitar." (thanks to Kees for this info)
Pete Brown wrote the opening line after being up all night working with Bruce and watching the sun come up. That's were he got, "It's getting near dawn, when lights close their tired eyes."
Tom Dowd, who worked with most of the artists for Atlantic Records at the time, engineered the Disreali Gears album. Dowd was renowned for his technical genius, but also for his ability to relate to musicians and put them at ease. When Cream recorded this song, it wasn't working. In the documentary Tom Dowd And The Language Of Music, he explained: "There just wasn't this common ground that they had on so many of the other songs. I said, 'Have you ever seen an American Western where the Indian beat - the downbeat - is the beat? Why don't you play that one. Ginger went inside and they started to run the song again. When they started playing that way, all of the parts came together and they were elated."
According to Rolling Stone magazine's Top 500 songs issue, Jack Bruce knew the song would do well: "Both Booker T. Jones and Otis Redding heard it at Atlantic Studios and told me it was going to be a smash," he recalled.

One man who was not impressed was Ahmet Ertegun, who was head of the group's label. When Bruce revealed the song at the sessions, Ertegun declared it "psychedelic hogwash." Ertegun constantly tried to promote Eric Clapton as the band's leader, and also didn't believe the bassist should be a lead singer. He only relented and agreed to champion this song after Booker T. Jones came by and expressed his approval.
This is one of Eric Clapton's favorites from this days with Cream; he played it at most of his solo shows throughout his career. When Cream played some reunion concerts in 2005, they played the song as their encore.
Jimi Hendrix covered this at some of his concerts. He did not know that he inspired the bass line. He did an impromptu performance in the middle of his appearance on the Lulu show (where he was supposed to play "Hey Joe") on BBC TV in England in 1968. This version appears on the Experience Hendrix 2CD/3LP "The BBC Sessions" towards the end of Disc 2/Side 6 on the LP. An instrumental version appears on the 2010 Valleys of Neptune album, which was recorded by Hendrix at London's Olympic Studios on February 16, 1969. Hendrix engineer and producer Eddie Kramer recalled to Toronto's The Globe and Mail: "Jimi loved Cream, he loved Eric Clapton. It was a fabulous song, he loved to play it, and he would just rip into it whenever the mood hit him." (thanks, Jippers - Gosford, Australia)
This was Cream's biggest hit. It was their first to do better in the US than in England, as they started to catch on in America. In the US, this first charted in February, 1968 at #36. In August, after the album came out, it re-entered the chart and went to #5.
Clapton's guitar solo is based on the '50s song "Blue Moon."
Excepting "Strange Brew," the Disraeli Gears album was recorded in just three days, as the band had to return to England because their work visas were expiring. Engineer Tom Dowd recalls the sessions coming to an abrupt end when a limo driver showed up to take the musicians to the airport. Dowd was tasked with mixing the album in their absence.
Cream played this at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on January 12, 1993 when they reunited for their induction. To that point, the only other time the band got back together was at Eric Clapton's wedding in 1979.
Jack Bruce released a new version on his 2001 album Shadows In The Air. Clapton played on it along with Latin percussionists from New York City, which gave it a Salsa sound.
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Comments (56):

Does anyone know a really scratchy amazing soul version of this song done by a woman? Really want to get hold of it, but I only caught the name in passing - I thought it was as Anja but none of my searches have turned anything up so I guess I heard it wrong. It's not the Ella Fitzgerald version either. Any help out there?!
- Becky, Bournemouth, United Kingdom
THE BEST Cream song. I was first trapped by the awesome drums and bass beginning. Then the killer lyrics. Jack and Eric harmonize really well on this. Ofcourse, Eric's solo is monumental. Not bad for the first Supergroup......
- meocyber, alma, CO
The song practically defines psychedelic. Clapton's gem of a solo is the perfect distillation of his revolutionary brilliance in the Cream period. It's all there -- the fitful, off-kilter blues phrasing, the savage attack, and the most grungy bends you'll ever hear. And of course his signature "woman tone." He must have invented the solo on the spot because the song only came together in the studio at the last minute. Incredibly, he was barely into his 20s at the time, but at the height of his powers after a period of touring with Cream. He became a different player when he switched to the Fender. I love the raw genius of his playing here.
- Dieter Heinrich, Toronto, ON
im sorry, but i just hate this drumm beat so much. sry baker, your great normaly!
- Nick, Seattle, Albania
this is a good love song noy like the crap they are making now
- tom, brantford, ON
The guitar solo is SO cool. The solo's ending flourish makes a cool solo even cooler.
- Eric, Camas, WA
Jack Bruce and Pete Brown receive the writing credits and royalties on the song, but Ginger Baker reported that he and Clapton deserve the same amount as Brown and Bruce. Baker declared that Bruce wanted the song to be an up-beat jazz tune, where the main riff was played faster. Baker, on the other hand, suggested it be slowed down and wanted a Native American type sound on the drums (A "Bom-Bom-Bombom" sound is what he suggested and is actually represented that way on the track.) Baker also said Clapton came up with the music on the middle-8("I've been waiting so long......). All to which Bruce currently denies.
- Patrick, Philadelphia, PA
The album, Disraeli Gears, actually came out in the fall of 1967, just prior to releasing the single for the first time. The single was rereleased in the summer of 1968 around the time that the "Wheels of Fire" album was released. (At the same time, the group released the single "Anyone for Tennis", the theme to the motorcyle movie, "The Savage Seven". That single was a flop.) The seoond release of "Sunshine" charted much hire than it did the first time. The follow-up single was "White Room".
- Bob, Southfield, MI
I can vouch for the comment that kids always played the riff from this in music stores to try out guitars. I spent a great deal of time in a music store in the late 60s, and the riff from this song echoed through the building all through the evening. The back of the store was a rabbit warren of practice rooms where kids who were taking guitar lessons used this to warm up. At one time or another I'll bet it was played on practically every instrument they sold.
- Ekristheh, Halath, United States
CLAPTON IS GOD!!! one of Cream's better ones I'd say, has anyone else read Clapton's autobiography?it has everything you need to know about the songs
- nady, adelaide, Australia
this song is featured in guitar hero 3 legends of rock
- aaron, boston, MA
One of those Cream songs that demonstrates just how underated Jack Bruce was and still is as a singer. His tortured celtic jazz wail has always sent shivers up my spine; Hendrix agreed, he once tried to imitate Bruce's voice with the guitar.
- John, London, United Kingdom
sunshine of your love is about LSD
- jo, strong city, Algeria
yeah dude i definately cant stop playin that riff its really catchy
- jacob, booneville, MS
I had a English class in the early 70's that examined the lyrics and the line in question is:
"I'll be with you till my season dries up." It is a term from Shakespeare (I think Romeo and Juliet) where a man's season is his ability to produce semen.
- Jeff, Flushing, NY, NY
I just listened to the song again now (I should mention that it is one of my favorite songs of all time), and I have to admit that the questionable lyrics sound to my ears pretty clearly as "my seas are dried up"--I can't hear the phantom d at all. It's interesting that Jack Bruce's webpage would suggest otherwise, thus supporting my theory that it was intended to be ambiguous.
- N.I., Baltimore, MD
Jimi Hendrix actually played the Lulu Show in January of 1969, not 1968.
- Rory, Charlotte, NC
Half the lyric sites out there have "till my seas are dried up" (or "the seas"), the other half have "till my seeds are dried up" -- the official Jack Bruce Webpage lists the lyrics as "seeds", and since he helped write it he should know. My guess is that in publishing it in various song complilation books ("Top Hits of the 60s" type things) the lyrics got bowlderized a bit because someone thought they were a bit too risque, or just downright risky. It has been covered by a lot of different groups and they may have sang either version of the words which complicates things even more.
- Barbara, Rapid City, SD
Does anyone else find that the master from "Disraeli Gears" has a little bit more of a punch (when the song first begins) than the remastered versions on the Cream compilation albums?
- James, Tracy, CA
makes you high
- jeeves, dc, DC
I looked at the line, "I'll stay with you till my seas are dried up." I remember coming here a while back and the line was written as "...till my seeds are dried up" (which is how some lyrics sites still render the line). I was taken a little aback, to say the least. Just four years after the "Louie Louie" fiasco, and a hit song managed to get away with truly explicit lyrics? But I suppose the alternative "seas are dried up" is milder, if still a bit suggestive. I bet the ambiguity was intentional.
- N.I., Baltimore, MD
Clapton used this as an encore for every tour in the past decade or so. It was the first song i learned how to play, so when my uncle took me to see clapton i was so excited to see it live. Turns out this year he decided to gut it from the set list. I was a bit dispointed, but the show was ACE!
- Dan, New York, NY
Yeah, it's just the first notes ... But that's about it.
- Jo-C, Lima, Peru
The late 60s family group (and Partrige Family inspiration) The Cowsills feature this on their live album. Despite a spirited arrangement, the Cowsills' version pales in comparison to the original.
- Barry, New York, NY
Jo-C from Peru, it's just the first couple bars of the solo that's based on blue moon, not the entire song. Listen & you'll hear it.
- Sam, Shanghai, China
Ozzy's version is killer. But it still doesn't even come close to comparing to the original version.
- becca, hamilton, Canada
"Sunshine Of Your Love is about breakfast"- Justin Ledford
- Brettt, Voodoo Lounge, TX
The extended solo on "Live Cream Vol. 2" is amazing.
- Evan, Fullerton, CA
It is an amazing song, i wish they had just put a bit more thought into their ending, the repeating A, in cacophony doesn't do it for me!
- Will, Near Dunedin, New Zealand
I thought that the actor that plays Reverend Camden in the inmensely popular TV series "Seventh Heaven" of WB, did a fairly good job playing this golden classic in the final scene of an episode in which he jams with his reunited teen band in a familiar event sponsored by his church. May sound lame for many, and it may be a little lame for me too, but I thought it was kinda cool that this eternal song was brought up in a family series with such a long running, because it shows how great rock & roll trascends all genders, ages, and languages.
- myrna maria, Tegucigalpa, Honduras
oh sweet jesus! the solo is based off blue moon! i almost cant believe i noticed that earlier! thats so awesome
- Donald, Festus, MO
I remember I was trying to find this song for a year becuase I knew the chorous by heart but not the rest of the song. How is this about morning erections and how is that about Chuck Berry? You people are sick! This guitar part is very very catchy and the drums are great.
- Johnny, Los Angeles, CA
How was this based by Blue Moon?!
- Jo-C, Lima, Peru
like mentioned before, this song was written after and all night song writing session with Jack bruce, Pete Brown , Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton. They were all fed up with each other so in desperation Jack bruce grabbed his stand up acoustic bass and said "how about this" and he played the riff.
- Jimmy, Philadelphia, PA
I absolutely detest this song. I find it so annoying!

I do like the long hold on A in the chorus where he says "Of your looooooove."
- Seth, Thornhill, Canada
amen jordan, otso, and grace. wow phil u got ur stuff reallly messed up. clapton left cream because the three had their own personality and ego difference. Clapton even says that once on stage he stopped playing all together to see if the other two would notice, but they didn't.
- Ben, Chinatown, Hong Kong
IMHO.. It doesn't get much better than this song. This band did more with three great musicans that most other bands do with four or five (excluding Zep of course)
- kona, Colorado Springs, CO
To Matt from Philadelphia.
Get a grip.
Felix Pappalardi did not write this song.
- Dave, LOndon, Scotland
isn't this what Judd Nelson's character hums in "The Breakfast Club"??
- Jillian, Cincinnati, OH
This song ROCKS.
- Grace, Olney, TX
Yeah! The intro is really famous isn't it? tand btw, I'm not a drummer, but the drums do fit.
- Stefanie magura, Rock Hill, SC
Felix Papalardi wrote and produced for Cream, he was in the American power trio Mountain, he was later shot and killed by his girlfriend.
One of the main reasons (from what I understand), is that Eric Clapton left Cream after hangin out with The Band in upstate NY (Woodstock). He met them through Bob Dylan. He loved their music and wanted to go in a different direction. As a matter of fact he really admired Richard Manuel (the lead singer of the Band), and even wrote a song after Richard hung himself while on tour with the band.
- PHIL, San Jose, CA
For Chris from NM: While Bonham is the god almighty, Baker was Bonham's inspiration who he idolized. And not in vain. Baker was almost solely responsible for bringing the drum kit from the back of the big band set to front, where he could control the whole band and the sound. This is what drummers still do. And for Doug from NM and Brian from OH: You certainly don't know what you're talking about. No funky signatures or unfitting play here from Baker, who has had a passion for both throughout his career. (And no stupid referring to morning erections, either, you sick sick son-of-a-gun. You've listened too much Chuck Berry.)
- Otso, Helsinki, Finland
guilty of that one, although I don't think that's right.
- Josh, Las Vegas, NV
The line I'll soon be with you my love, to give you my dawn surprise' refers to the morning erection many men suffer from.
- Martijn, Helmond, Netherlands
Stephaine, although it is a classic and a song I never tire of listening to, I wouldn't consider it the greatest love song ever written.
- Shirley, Ocean, NJ
Corrections: Peter Brown wrote the lyrics after being inspired as Bruce was playing the riff late in the night while dawn was approaching (hence sunshine), the drums do fit (they just put an unconventional emphasis on the 1st and 3rd beats of each measure), and it's a 4/4 time signature. Jeez people, C'mon!
- Jordan, WV
Pete Brown didnt write it, it was Felix Pappalardi
- Matt, Philadelphia, PA
Omg..the drums...do go with the song...they fit right in..not every instrument has to be playing the same thing bub..must be a singer..cuz it's obvious that u dont play the drums and god knows a guitar player knows that...
- Matthew, Indy, IN
Great drumming. Too bad it doesn't go with the song. Don't believe me? Listen to it again. This time, focus only on the drumming. See what I mean? Now, just for fun, get some friends together, point out the problem, play the track, and see how far it goes before someone starts laughing. Works every time.
- Doug, Minneapolis, MN
Funky little 3/4 time signature.
- brian, Mayfield Heights, OH
The greatest Lovesong ever written!
- Stephanie, Aurich, Germany
While Bruce's bass line is what most folks recognize about this song, next time you listen, focus on the drumming. What you will hear is simply some of the best rock drumming ever. Ginger Baker may not be God, but he sure can lay down the back beat.
- Chris, Albuquerque, NM
One day, I woke up to my dad listening to this song. I've liked Cream ever since.
- bill, bethel, AK
One of the most famous intros to a song and many of the people who know the intro, don't know the rest of the song.
- Morgan, Fargo, ND
I think this is one of the best songs of all time.
- janet, perth, Australia
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