Cream’s “White Room” Lyrics Meaning
Cream’s “White Room” is a song that is highly-metaphorical. The term “white room” is derived from the song’s writer, Pete Brown, literally living in a white room in 1967. And what was particular noticeable about that juncture in time is that he stopped consuming drugs and alcohol. And accordingly, the lyrics featured throughout the song are widely interpreted as being about the singer’s on-again/off-again relationship with drugs. Another way it can be understood is as him recounting his association with a romantic interest. And once again, this relationship doesn’t appear as if it is a consistent one. And Brown has alluded to the idea that the “meandering” nature of this song is about both a romance and his relationship with substances.
But regardless of its general ambiguity, “White Room” has proven to be a classic in a rock-music genre. This would indicate, to some extent, that fans have been able to derive their own meanings from its lyrics. However, there is definitely a story being told throughout, albeit a veiled one. And conclusively, we can say if nothing else that the singer appears to be somewhat of a depressed isolationist who is dealing with relationship/social issues.
Who wrote “White Room”?
“White Room” was written by Cream member Jack Bruce (1943-2014) along with a friend of his named Pete Brown. At the time the latter was known more as a poet than an actual musician.
In fact Pete Brown derived the lyrics of this song from a poem he had written earlier. And this poem in question was originally eight-pages in length.
Prior to that Jack Bruce had attempted to write his own lyrics to the instrumental he concocted. And in that regard, the track was originally entitled “Cinderella’s Last Goodnight” and was about, according to his own words, “some doomed hippie girl”.
Release Date of “White Room”
Polydor Records (UK) in collaboration with Atco Records (US) released “White Room” at various junctures during the course of 1968. It was the lead single from Cream’s third album, which is entitled “Wheels of Fire”.
This track proved to be a moderate success at the time of its release, peaking at number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. It got to number 28 on the Singles Chart in Cream’s home country of the United Kingdom.
The song also charted in Australia, Austria, Canada and New Zealand.
However, despite this relatively-humble showing, “White Room” is still considered one of the best rock tracks in American music history. For instance, Rolling Stone placed it at number 376 on its 2011 list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.
Guitar World also placed it on its 2015 ranking of the “10 Greatest Wah Pedal Songs of All Time”. That is to say that legendary guitarist Eric Clapton most-effectively used a wah-wah pedal on this track.
Who produced this classic?
“White Room” was produced by Felix Pappalardi, who also played viola on the song.
And outside of Jack Bruce’s vocals and Eric Clapton’s guitars the other member of Cream, Ginger Baker (1939-2019), played the drums.