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Wheels of Fire
Studio album by Cream
Released July 1968
Recorded July 1967 – April 1968 at Atlantic Studios, New York City
Genre Blues Rock, psychedelic rock, hard rock
Length 80:32
Label Polydor (UK)
Atco (US)
Producer Felix Pappalardi
Professional reviews
Cream chronology
Disraeli Gears
Wheels of Fire

Wheels of Fire is the name of a double album recorded by Cream. The release was largely successful, scoring the band a #3 peak in the UK and a #1 in the US, and became the world's first platinum-selling double album.[1]

The album was also released as Wheels of Fire (In the Studio) and Wheels of Fire (Live at the Fillmore) as two single albums, released together, with similar cover art except: In the UK, the studio album was black print on aluminium foil, while the Live at the Fillmore album was a negative image of the studio cover. In Japan, the studio album was black on gold foil, while the live album was black on aluminium foil. In Australia, both covers were laminated copies of the Japanese releases (it was never released as a double album in Australia). In 2003, the album was ranked number 203 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[2]

The sleeve was designed by Australian pop artist and cartoonist Martin Sharp, and it won the New York Art Directors Prize for Best Album Design in 1969.


Track listing

Disc one: In the Studio

Side 1

  1. "White Room" (Jack Bruce, Pete Brown) – 4:58
  2. "Sitting on Top of the World" (Walter Vinson, Lonnie Chatmon; arr. Chester Burnett) – 4:58
  3. "Passing the Time" 1 (Ginger Baker, Mike Taylor) – 4:37
  4. "As You Said" (Bruce, Brown) – 4:20

Side 2

  1. "Pressed Rat and Warthog" (Baker, Taylor) – 3:13
  2. "Politician" (Bruce, Brown) – 4:12
  3. "Those Were the Days" (Baker, Taylor) – 2:53
  4. "Born Under a Bad Sign" (Booker T. Jones, William Bell) – 3:09
  5. "Deserted Cities of the Heart" 2 (Bruce, Brown) – 3:38

Performers 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 an alternative version of "Passing the Time". This "long version" is extended by 67 seconds, but also differs from the "extended version" included on Those Were the Days, which is longer by a further 8 seconds.

^Note 2:  Original U.S. pressings of Wheels of Fire incorrectly listed the running time of "Deserted Cities of the Heart" at 4:36.

Disc two: Live at the Fillmore

Side 3

  1. "Crossroads" (Robert Johnson, arr. Clapton) – 4:13 (recorded March 10, 1968 at Winterland, San Francisco, CA. (1st show))
  2. "Spoonful" (Willie Dixon) – 16:43 (recorded March 10, 1968 at Winterland, San Francisco, CA. (1st show))

Side 4

  1. "Traintime" 3 (Bruce) – 7:01 (recorded March 8, 1968 at Winterland, San Francisco, CA. (1st show))
  2. "Toad" (Baker) – 16:15 (recorded March 7, 1968 at Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA. (2nd show))

During the March 10 first set, "Spoonful" preceded "Crossroads", and though it seems as though "Traintime" aurally precedes "Toad", "Traintime" was recorded a day later, and expertly edited to seamlessly blend into the introduction to "Toad".

While the disc is labeled Live at the Fillmore, only "Toad" was recorded at Fillmore West. The other tracks were recorded live at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco.[3]

^Note 3:  While "Traintime" was written by Jack Bruce, original album pressings list "John Group" as the song's author. The "John Group" appellation dates back to 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.[4]


Additional personnel


  1. ^ Cream - the Band, The BBC.
  2. ^ Wheels of Fire, Rolling Stone.
  3. ^ The Very Best of Cream (liner notes).
  4. ^ Liner notes to the CD version of the Graham Bond Organisation's The Sound of '65/There's a Bond Between Us, BGO Records, catalog no. BGOCD500, released in the UK 1999.

External links

Preceded by
The Beat of the Brass
by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
Billboard 200 number-one album
August 10 - September 6, 1968
Succeeded by
Waiting for the Sun by The Doors
Preceded by
The Graduate (soundtrack)
by Various artists
Australian Kent Music Report number-one album
December 7 - December 20, 1968
Succeeded by
The Beatles (The White Album)
by The Beatles

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