Blind Faith - Well...All Right,Sea Of Joy and Sleeping On the Ground

Artist Biography by Bruce Eder

Blind Faith was either one of the great successes of the late '60s, a culmination of the decade's efforts by three legendary musicians -- or it was a disaster of monumental proportions, and a symbol of everything that had gone wrong with the business of rock at the close of the decade. In actual fact, Blind Faith was probably both. By any ordinary reckoning, the quartet compiled an enviable record. They generated some great songs, two of them ("Sea of Joy," "Presence of the Lord") still regarded as classics 30-plus years later; they sold hundreds of thousands of concert tickets and perhaps a million more albums at the time; and they were so powerful a force in the music industry that they were indirectly responsible for helping facilitate the merger of two major record companies that evolved into Time Warner, before they'd released a note of music on record. And they did it all in under seven months together.

Blind Faith's beginnings dated from 1968 and the breakup of Cream. That band had sold millions of records and eventually achieved a status akin to that of the Beatles or the Rolling Stones. Cream's internal structure was as stressful as it was musically potent, however, as a result of the genuine personal dislike between bassist/singer Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker, which occasionally overwhelmed the respect they had for each other as musicians, leaving guitarist/singer Eric Clapton to serve as mediator. After two years of service as a referee, spent all the while in an unremitting spotlight, the public seemingly hanging on every note he played, Clapton was only too happy to leave that situation behind.

The initial spark for Blind Faith came from Clapton and Steve Winwood, whose band Traffic had split up in January of 1969, amid acrimonious disputes over songwriting and direction. Winwood at age 20 was some three years younger than Clapton, and had emerged as a rock star at 17 as a member of the Spencer Davis Group, spending three years as the lead singer on a string of enviable R&B-based hits. His concerns were musical -- he wanted to work with the best musicians, and wanted to experiment with jazz, which led him to leave the Spencer Davis Group and form Traffic, which proved riven by egos nearly as strong as the members' musical impulses. The January 1969 breakup would be the first of several temporary splits in the band's lineup.

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