Pete Brown, Who Put Words to ‘Sunshine of Your Love,’ Dies at 82

Pete Brown, a British beat poet who wrote the lyrics to songs by rock supergroup Cream, including “White Room,” “I Feel Free” and “Sunshine of Your Love,” and who, after the band’s breakup, Collaborated for about five years. Jack Bruce, its lead singer and bassist for decades, died Friday at his home in Hastings, on England’s southeast coast. He was 82 years old.

Her manager Peter Conway said it was due to cancer.

At the request of Mr. Brown entered Cream’s circle. Ginger Baker, the band’s drummer. They knew each other because Mr. Brown performed his poetry in collaboration with jazz musicians and Mr. Baker got his start in jazz combos. Mr. Baker asked Mr. Brown for help with the lyrics for the group’s first single, “Wrapping Paper,” which preceded the release of its first album, “Fresh Cream,” in 1966.

Mr. Brown quickly found a career-long writing partner in Mr. Bruce, whose fluid and propulsive playing rivaled Mr. Baker’s explosive drumming and the guitar pyrotechnics of Cream’s third member, Eric Clapton.

In a short documentary Of making “The White Room,” seen on Dutch television in 2018, Mr. Brown recalled, “It became clear that Jack and I had chemistry, and when we wrote ‘I feel free,’ Which was a huge hit, so everybody went, ‘Okay, it’s a team, let it go.’

Mr. Brown did not provide the lyrics for all of Cream’s songs, but he was the group’s primary songwriter. On his second album, “Disraeli Gears” (1967), he wrote these words: “Sunshine of Your Love” Collaborating with Mr. Bruce and Mr. Clapton “Dance the Night Away” And two other songs.

“The White Room,” One of four songs he wrote with Mr. Bruce on the band’s third album, “Wheels of Fire” (1968), It peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1968. It was the second highest charting Cream single. “Sunshine” peaked at No. 5 earlier this year.

“The White Room” Mr. Brown wrote the poem, inspired by a stay in an apartment with a real white room a few years ago.

“I was semi-destitute, a semi-boom, living on people’s floors, and eventually I started making some money writing songs, and the White Room was the first place I moved into”. He told the culture website Please Tomorrow 2022. In the Dutch documentary he added that he had stopped drinking and taking drugs in the living room and had decided to be “a songwriter instead of a traveling poet”.

“The White Room” begins with these lines:

In a white room with black curtains near the station
A country with black roofs, no gold floors, tired stars
Silver horses, moonlight rays were running in your dark eyes.
Dawn smiles at your departure, my satisfaction
I’ll wait in a place where the sun never shines
Wait in the place where the shadows run away by themselves.s

Peter Ronald Brown was born on December 25, 1940 in Surrey, England during World War II. His parents had moved there after fleeing London during the Blitz. His father, Nathan Brown, born Nathan Leibovitz, and his mother, Kitty Cohen, sold shoes.

Peter began writing poetry as a teenager, inspired by the works of Dylan Thomas, Federico García Lorca and Gerard Manley Hopkins. But he turned, at least temporarily, to journalism, which he studied for nine months in 1958 at the London Polytechnic-Regent Street (now the University of Westminster).

He returned to verse and published his first poem in 1961 in the Evergreen Review, a boundary-breaking literary magazine based in the United States that drew its pages from Samuel Beckett, Jean-Paul Sartre, Allen Ginsberg, Henry Miller and Filled with the work of luminaries like William. Burrows

In “Something,” an early poem written amid fears of nuclear war, Mr. Brown wrote:

Alone and half-drunk hopeful
I stumbled into the flags.
At Green Park Station
And found 30 written on the wall.
I panicked and went out.
Piccadilly night in a brisk wind
must think
Of course, there must be more of us.

For the next few years, he was a working poet. He was part of the band First Real Poetry, which included guitarist John McLaughlin, and had a jazz poetry residency at London’s Marquee Club.

In 1965, he and more than a dozen other poets from around the world, including Mr. Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gregory Corso, Michael Horowitz and Andrei Wozniak, read their work at the International Poetry Festival, held at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The hall was full. On its website, The venue recalled the event as one “where beatniks met the emerging hippie culture”.

A call for help from Mr. Baker launched a long songwriting career, first with Cream and then, after Cream split after two years, on his own solo work with Mr. Bruce. He wrote the lyrics on almost all of Mr. Bruce’s albums, from “Songs for a Taylor” (1969) to “Silver Rails” (2014). One of his contributions, “Theme for a Fantasy Western,” The band became a staple in Mountain’s repertoire.

“I was in awe of Jack,” Mr. Brown said Guardian In an interview last month, however, she said, “Sometimes we had to take a break from each other – two huge personalities in the same room sometimes didn’t look good, plus their addictions came up.”

In the decade after Cream broke up, Mr. Brown found his voice as a singer. He performed with Pete Brown and His Battered Ornaments, Publocotto!, Back to the Front, Flying Tigers and Bond & Brown, which he formed with British rock and blues musician Graham Bond. He also began a long songwriting collaboration with keyboardist Phil Ryan in the early 1980s, which led to Piblokto! was a former member of, which produced several albums until 2013.

He also helped write most of the songs. “noom” (2017), Procol Harm’s final studio album. (He changed Keith ReidProcol Harm’s longtime lyricist, who died this year.)

Mr. Brown’s biography, “White Rooms and Imaginary Westerns: On the Road with Gainsbourg, Writing for Clapton and Cream – An Anarchic Odyssey” (2010), has been adapted as a documentary by director Mark Edgewaters but is not yet complete. has happened . Mr. Brown was recently working on an album, “Shadow Club.” One of his colleagues was Mr. Bruce’s son Malcolm, who, like his father, was an electric bassist. (Jack Bruce passed away. (in 2014).

“We naturally gravitated towards each other,” Mr Brown told The Guardian, adding that he was planning to write songs with Malcolm Bruce for his next album “As long as I’m a Can live for a reasonable time.”

Mr. Brown is survived by his wife, Sheridan McDonald; his daughter, Jessica Walker; her son, Ted McDonald; and a grandson.

Even when he started singing, Mr. Brown said, his admiration for Mr. Bruce initially kept him from singing the Cream songs he helped write.

“You know, ‘I’m not good enough,'” he told Dutch television. “Then I suddenly thought, ‘Well, I’ve written those songs too,’ and I thought, ‘It’s about time I started singing some of these songs.’

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