Jack Bruce, bass player in the legendary 1960s rock band Cream, has died today aged 71.
The composer, singer and multi-instrumentalist passed away today after battling liver disease having enjoyed a musical career stretching a remarkable 52 years.
Regarded as one of the most influential rock bands of all time, Bruce wrote and sang most of their songs, including “I Feel Free” and “Sunshine Of Your Love”.
In a statement, his family said: “It is with great sadness that we, Jack’s family, announce the passing of our beloved Jack: husband, father, granddad, and all round legend.
“The world of music will be a poorer place without him but he lives on in his music and forever in our hearts.”
Bruce’s death was announced on his official website, and confirmed by his publicist Claire Singers.
She said: “He died today at his home in Suffolk surrounded by his family.”
Cream sold 35 million albums in just over two years and were awarded the world’s first ever platinum disc for their LP Wheels of Fire.
Bruce wrote and sang most of the songs, including “I Feel Free”, “White Room”, “Politician” and perhaps the world’s most performed guitar riff, in “Sunshine Of Your Love”.
Cream split in November 1968 at the height of their popularity but reunited for a series of final shows in 2005, 37 years after they went their separate ways.
When the group split, Bruce felt that he had strayed too far from his ideals and wanted to re-discover his musical and social roots.
Bruce was born to musical parents in Glasgow on May 14, 1943, in Bishopbriggs, Lanarkshire.
Growing up he attended 14 different schools, finishing his formal education at Bellahouston Academy and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music, to which he won a scholarship for cello and composition.
He left the Academy and his homeland at the age of 16, because of poverty and discouraged by his professors’ lack of interest in his ideas.
Bruce travelled to Italy and then England, playing double-bass in dance bands and jazz groups, and joined his first in a series of significant bands in 1962 in London.
This was Alexis Korner’s Blues Inc. with whom Charlie Watts, later to join the Rolling Stones, was their drummer.
Bruce had to turn down soul legend Marvin Gaye’s offer to join his US-based band because of his impending first marriage.
He then joined John Mayall’s Blues Breakers, where he first met Eric Clapton, followed by Manfred Mann.
It was Ginger Baker who initially asked Bruce to form a trio with Eric Clapton with the latter insisting he would be the singer.
After leaving Cream he recorded 14 solo albums, which covered a range of genres including rock, jazz and classic music.
He worked as session player on carefully chosen dates with the big names like Lou Reed and Frank Zappa, with whom Jack co-wrote Apostrophe, Zappa’s biggest selling album.
In 1993 Bruce was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Cream, and later forming a new group called BBM with Gary Moore and Ginger Baker which led to the top-ten album Around the Next Dream.
During the late 1990s, Jack toured with several iterations of Ringo Starr’s All Star Band, along with guitarists Peter Frampton and Todd Rundgren.
Aside from Cream’s reformation in 2005, Bruce was given the Bass Player Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his pioneering musicianship and his outstanding influence on the development of modern bass technique.
The next year he accept a special Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of Cream at the Grammys.
His 14th and final solo album Silver Rails was released this year to critical accalim.
Bruce was married twice, first to Janet and then to Margrit, his wife of 31 years and also his manager. He would have five children – Malcolm, Jonas, Natasha, Kyla, Corin – and one grandchild Maya.
Before he passed away, Bruce and Margrit were hoping to retire to Majorca where they intended to make oil from their homegrown olives.