Classic Album covers : Disraeli Gears - Cream

Disraeli Gears is the second album by Cream. It was released in November 1967 and went on to reach number 5 on the UK Album chart

In March of 1967, Cream made their first trip to America. They were invited to play ten days on the Murray the K Show in New York. The idea was to fit in as many acts as possible in a one hour time frame, and then change the audience. The shows were pretty much a fiasco, and played before a half empty RKO Theatre most of the time. Murray had intended to use the theatre’s PA system for the shows, and so advised the performers not to bother bringing along any of their own equipment. When Cream arrived in New York, they learned that the theatre would not be providing the sound system after all!

Fortunately, The Who had chosen to ignore Murray’s directive and had brought along their equipment, which they shared with Cream for the duration

With little time left on their visitors visa, the group entered Atlantic Studios in Manhattan to record Disraeli Gears. Popular myth has it that the album was recorded in just three days. The album was, in fact, recorded from the eighth to the nineteenth of May

The title seems incredibly pretentious, but in fact is no such thing. Ginger baker tells the story : “You know how the title came about - Disraeli Gears - yeah? We had this Austin Westminster, and Mick Turner was one of the roadies who’d been with me a long time, and he was driving along and Eric (Clapton) was talking about getting a racing bicycle. Mick, driving, went ‘Oh yeah - Disraeli gears!’ meaning derailleur gears… We all just fell over… We said that’s got to be the album title”

Created for the psychedelic super-group by Australian artist Martin Sharp, the cover of Disraeli Gears is an icon of the swirling fluorescent fever of the late 1960s. For the front cover, Sharp combined a publicity photo he’d been given by Eric Clapton with some Victorian elements and plenty of flower power roses and feathers. Drawn in black and white, Sharp then coloured-in the design with fluorescent colors to make the iconic (and eye-stinging) sleeve for the band’s second album. Sharp was attempting to capture the sound of the music in the cover, which he describes as a “warm florescent sound”

Sharp — who would later design the black-and-white cover of Wheels of Fire — commissioned his former studio partner, Bob Whitaker, to take some photos for the back cover of the album

The cover art was also used for the compilation album Those Were the Days

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