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Pete Brown, who wrote ‘Sunshine of Your Love’, dies at 82

Pete Brown is an English beat poet who wrote the lyrics for rock supergroup Cream’s hits “White Room,” “I Feel Free,” “Sunshine of Your Love,” and other songs. Even after the band disbanded, he collaborated for nearly five years. Their lead vocalist and bassist for decades, Jack Bruce, died Friday at his home in Hastings on England’s southeast coast. he was 82 years old.

His manager, Peter Conway, said the cause was cancer.

Mr. Brown entered Mr. Cream’s circle at Mr. Cream’s request. ginger baker, the band’s drummer. Mr. Brown played poetry in the back of jazz musicians and Mr. Baker started a jazz combo, so they knew each other. Baker enlisted Brown on the lyrics for the group’s debut single, “Wrapping Paper,” ahead of the release of their first album, Fresh Cream, in 1966.

Mr. Brown soon found Mr. Bruce a lifelong songwriting partner, and his fluid, propulsive playing was complemented by Mr. Baker’s explosive drumming and Cream’s third member, Eric Clapton’s explosive guitar. became the counterpoint of

in a short documentary Speaking on the making of The White Room, which aired on Dutch TV in 2018, Braun recalled: “I am free” It was such a hit that everyone was like, ‘Okay, this is the team, let’s do it. ”

Although Mr. Brown did not contribute lyrics to all of Cream’s songs, he was the group’s primary lyricist. On his second album, Disraeli Gears (1967), he wrote the lyrics: “Sunshine of your love,” Collaboration with Mr. Bruce and Mr. Clapton, “Dance the Night Away” and two other songs.

“White Room” One of four songs written with Mr. Bruce on the band’s third album, Wheels of Fire (1968). It climbed to number six on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1968. It was Cream’s second highest-selling single. “Sunshine” peaked at #5 earlier that year.

“White Room” The poem began as a poem inspired by Mr. Brown’s stay in the actual white room of his apartment several years ago.

“I was half-poor, half-poor, living on people’s floors, then I started making money writing songs, and the first place I moved to was a white room.” He told the culture website “Kill me in 2022.” In the Dutch documentary, he added that he had decided to stop drinking and taking drugs indoors and to become “a songwriter, not an itinerant poet”.

“White Room” begins with these lines:

In a white room with black curtains near the station
Country of black roofs, no golden pavements, tired starlings
A silver horse ran through the moonlight in your dark eyes
Dawn light smiles at you leaving, my contentment
I’ll wait in this place where the sun doesn’t shine
Wait in this place where shadows run aways

Peter Ronald Brown was born in Surrey, England on December 25, 1940, during World War II. His parents emigrated there after fleeing London during the bombing raids. His father, Nathan Brown (real name Nathan Liebowitz) 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 Gerald Manley Hopkins. However, he took a detour to journalism, at least temporarily, studying for nine months at the Polytechnic Regent Street (now the University of Westminster) in London in 1958.

He returned to poetry, publishing his first poem in 1961 for the Evergreen Review. Evergreen Review is a US-based, boundary-busting literary magazine filled with works by celebrities such as Samuel Beckett, Jean-Paul Sartre, Allen Ginsberg, Henry Miller and William. Burroughs.

In “Few,” an early poem built on the horrors of nuclear war, Mr. Brown writes:

Alone half drunk and full of hope
stumbled into the swamp
At Green Park Station
And I found 30 written on the wall.
jumped out in surprise
To the night of Piccadilly where the wind resounds
certainly think,
I’m sure there must be more than that.

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

In 1965, he and a dozen other poets from around the world, including Mr. Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gregory Corso, Michael Horowitz and Andrei Voznesensky, filled London’s Royal Albert Hall. Incarnation of International Poetry read their works. On that website, The audience recalled the event as “beatnik meets emerging hippie culture”.

Seeking Baker’s help jump-started a long songwriting career, first with Cream and, when Cream broke up two years later, on Bruce’s solo work. He wrote the lyrics for nearly every album by Mr. Bruce, from “Songs for a Taylor” (1969) to “Silver Rails” (2014). one of their collaborations “Fantastic Western Theme” It became a staple in the repertoire of the band Mountain.

“I was in awe of Jack,” Brown said. Guardian in an interview last month. But he said, “Sometimes we had to give each other rest. Sometimes it wasn’t good to have two very large people in the same room, and his addiction got in the way.” Told.

Mr. Brown found his voice as a singer in the decade after Cream split up. He has played with Pete Brown & His Battered Ornaments, Piblocoto!, Back to the Front, The Flying Tigers, and Bond & Brown, a band he formed with British rock and blues musician Graham Bond. bottom. Also in his early 1980s, he began his long-running songwriting collaboration with keyboardist Phil Ryan, former member of Piblokto!, producing several albums until 2013.

He also collaborated on writing most of the songs “Novum” (2017), Procol Harum’s last studio album. (he replaced Keith ReedProcol Harum’s longtime lyricist, who died this year).

Mr. Brown’s autobiography White Rooms & Imaginary Westerns: Journeys with Ginsburg, Written for Clapton and Cream: Anarchy Odyssey (2010) was adapted as a documentary by director Mark A.J. Waters. has been completed, but is not yet completed. . Mr. Brown was recently working on the album Shadow Club. One of his collaborators was Mr. Bruce’s son Malcolm, an electric bassist like his father. (Jack Bruce dies in 2014. )

“We were naturally drawn to each other,” Brown told The Guardian, adding that he intends to write songs with Malcolm Bruce for his next album “as long as I can live for some time.”

Brown is survived by his wife, Sheridan MacDonald. his daughter, Jessica Walker; his son, Tad McDonald; and his grandson.

According to Brown, even after he started singing, he initially avoided singing the Cream songs he co-wrote because of his admiration for Bruce.

“As you know, ‘I’m not good enough,'” he said on Dutch television. “Then all of a sudden I thought, ‘Okay, I wrote these songs too,’ and I thought, ‘It’s about time I started singing some of these songs.'”

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/05/25/arts/music/pete-brown-dead.html Pete Brown, who wrote ‘Sunshine of Your Love’, dies at 82

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