Bruce, Jack


Bruce, Jack

Jack Bruce was born on 14 May 1943 in Glasgow, Scotland. A singer, composer, and multi-instrumentalist, he was best known for his groundbreaking work on electric bass, especially within Cream. He passed away at age 71 on 25 October 2014.

During his early years, his parents travelled extensively. He attended over 14 different schools before his ended at age 17 when he left the Royal Scottish College of Music. There, he had studied cello and composition.

Traveling to Italy and England, he played bass in a succession of jazz and dance bands. In 1962, he joined Alexis Korner’s Blues Inc. At the time, Charlie Watts (Rolling Stones) was the drummer. In 1963, he left to form the Graham Bond Organization with Graham Bond, Ginger Baker and John McLaughlin. Dick Heckstall-Smith later joined the outfit. Bruce left after three years due to a personality conflict with Ginger Baker.

Bruce then signed on briefly with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, where he first met and worked with Eric Clapton. After the Bluesbreakers, Jack played with Manfred Mann.

In 1966, he formed Cream with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker, despite his acrimonious relationship with the latter. The the trio went on to create the concept of modern rock music. Jack wrote and sang the majority of the band’s songs. The band has sold more than 35,000,000 albums and were awarded the first-ever platinum disc for Wheels of Fire.

After Cream split up in November 1968, Bruce began recording solo works, including Songs For A Tailor. In the suceeding years, he joined or fronted several bands including Lifetime (with John McLaughlin, Tony Williams, and Larry Young), West, Bruce & Laing (with Leslie West and Corky Laing) and Baker Bruce & Moore (with Ginger Baker and Gary Moore). Jack would occasionally accept session work for artists like Lou Reed (Berlin) and Frank Zappa (Apostrophe). In 1997 and 1998 he joined Ringo Starr’s All Starr Band where he worked with Gary Brooker, Peter Frampton, Todd Rundgren, Dave Edmunds and others. Jack Bruce continues to tour and record as a solo act. Jack’s most recent album is More Jack Than God (2003 / Sanctuary Records). In 2008, a 6-CD career retrospective, Can You Follow, was released in Europe.

In 1992, Eric Clapton joined Bruce in the studio. The session resulted in two tracks, “Willpower” and “Ships In the Night”. They can be found on Bruce’s 1992 solo album Something Else as well as his career retrospective, Willpower. In 2001, they re-recorded “White Room” and “Sunshine Of Your Love” from their Cream-days for Bruce’s album, Shadows In The Air.

Jack Bruce was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 1993 with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker for their pioneering work in Cream. They performed a short set at the induction ceremony in Los Angeles. Cream reunited for five shows at London’s Royal Albert Hall in May 2005. Three additional concerts took place at New York City’s Madison Square Garden on 24, 25 and 26 October 2005.

Bruce’s authorized biography – Jack Bruce: Composing Himself – was published in 2010 by Jawbone Press. Written by Harry Shapiro, it has a foreword by Eric Clapton.

Jack Bruce’s family announced the legendary bass player’s death on the musician’s website,, on 25 October 2014. It read “It is with great sadness that we, Jack’s family, announce the passing of our beloved Jack: husband, father, granddad and all around legend. The world of music will be a poorer place without him, but he lives on in his music and forever in our hearts.”

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