Empty, a part meant.
Cream recorded the instrumental tracks for this song in December 1967, making it the first of what would comprise the studio side of Wheels of Fire. The “false” opening of strings (or is it guitars?) creates a unique moment of suspense, quickly shattered when the song’s memorable main riff enters the scene. In that sense, this reminds me of the same effect that “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” employed with its orchestral tuning, although I’m sure every Cream fan collectively cringed at the comparison just now. The lyrics, inspired by Pete Brown’s new apartment (the white room), make brilliant use of light and dark imagery. As with “Sunshine of Your Love,” this song was edited down for the single, excising the verses that followed the first bridge (I think, since it’s been a while). The B side is the album version of “Those Were The Days,” written by Ginger Baker (lyrics) and pianist Mike Taylor (music). It’s a terrific song that references the lost city of Atlantis (ah, those were the days indeed). “White Room” has since been reissued on various back-to-back hit singles over the years, and was even used in commercials for Nissan (1995) and Apple (2000). Apparently, Atlantis isn’t all we’ve lost. Oh, yeah, and The Stranglers did an awesome version of “White Room,” which they included as a free single with The Raven if memory serves.
Original 7-inch Version
A1. White Room (Jack Bruce/Pete Brown) 3:04
B1. Those Were The Days (Ginger Baker/Mike Taylor) 2:52
1969 Japanese 7-inch EP
1. White Room
2. Those Were The Days
3. Crossroads (live)
4. Passing The Time
1984 Old Gold 7-inch Single
A1. White Room
1986 BR Music 7-inch Single
A1. White Room
B1. I Feel Free
1995 Japanese CD Single
1. White Room
2. Sunshine of Your Love
Released on 7-inch in September 1968 in the US (Atco, 45-6617), in October 1968 in Germany and Italy (Polydor, 59235), in 1968 in Australia (Polydor, NH-59148), Canada (Polydor, 541.016), France (Polydor, 421412), Japan (Polydor, DP-1601) and New Zealand (Polydor, PD-9452) and on January 3, 1969 in the UK (Polydor, 56300); reached #6 on the US charts (charted October 5, 1968 for 11 weeks) and #28 on the UK charts. Regional releases feature a picture sleeve.
- Re-issued on 7-inch single in Japan (RSO, 7DW-3008) with picture sleeve.
- Re-released on 7-inch EP with “Crossroads (live)” and “Passing The Time” in 1969 in Japan (Polydor, SKP-1150).
- Re-released on 7-inch single with “Badge” on the B side in July 1984 in the UK (Old Gold, OG 9425).
- Re-released on 7-inch single with “I Feel Free” on the B side in 1986 in the Netherlands (BR Music, 45185) with picture sleeve.
- Re-released on a two-track 3-inch CD single in 1995 in Japan (Polydor, PODP-1116) with “Sunshine of Your Love.”