“White Room” is a song by British rock band Cream, composed by bassist Jack Bruce with lyrics by poet Pete Brown. They recorded it for the studio half of the 1968 double album Wheels of Fire. In September, a shorter single edit was released for AM radio stations, although album-oriented FM radio stations played the full album version.
Recording for “White Room” reportedly began in July 1967 in London at the initial session for Cream’s as-yet-unnamed third album. Work continued at Atlantic Studios in New York City in December and was completed during three sessions in February, April and June 1968, also at Atlantic.
Jack Bruce sang and played bass on the song, Eric Clapton overdubbed guitar parts, Ginger Baker played drums and timpani, and Felix Pappalardi – the group’s producer – contributed violas. Clapton played his guitar through a wah-wah pedal to achieve a “talking-effect”. Baker claims to have added the distinctive 5/4 or quintuple metre opening to what had been a 4/4 or common time composition.
Rolling Stone magazine ranked “White Room” at number 376 on the 2004 (and its 2010 update) “List of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”. In 1990, Clapton performed the song at his Royal Albert Hall concert series and in 1999 with Sheryl Crow at Crow’s Sheryl Crow and Friends: Live from Central Park concert.
“White Room” has been covered by a variety of artists: Jeff Healey, Waylon Jennings, Joel Grey, Ace Frehley, Frank Gambale (in a jazz fusion style), Iron Butterfly, jazz guitarist Jimmy Ponder, Flower Travellin’ Band on the album Challenge, Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band (with Jack Bruce, Peter Frampton on guitar, Gary Brooker on keyboard, Mark Rivera on saxophone and tambourine and two drummers (Ringo and Simon Kirke) doing the triplets in unison), Helloween, Demons and Wizards (Iced Earth/Blind Guardian), Ring of Fire, Jimmy Barnes, The Bobs, The Guess Who, The Vines, The Stranglers, Hugh Cornwell and Robert Williams on the album Nosferatu, Vassar Clements, BBM, Mostly Harmless and Lana Lane on the album Gemini.