Cream rises to top as Bruce finally gets degree - 50 years after angry walk-out
AS a precocious and talented teenager who believed he was destined for stardom, Jack Bruce thought he knew it all.
So, when his tutors at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama failed to take his ideas on music seriously enough, he quit the course in protest.
Now, nearly 50 years on, Jack Bruce, the rock legend who founded the superband Cream with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker, has returned to Scotland's national school of music to receive an honorary degree and make peace with the body he walked out on.
Now 64, Bruce studied cello and classical composition at the RSAMD. But he was to find his fortune in rock music, becoming a millionaire as vocalist and bass player with Cream, a band that had hits with the likes of I Feel Free and Strange Brew.
He returned to the RSAMD in Glasgow to accept his honorary degree from Jim Gourlay, the director of music.
A spokesman for the academy said yesterday: "We are delighted to finally confer a degree on someone who turned out to be one of the most influential and successful musicians of his age.
"Jack Bruce is hailed as one of the most powerful vocalists and bassists of all time. His pioneering playing on the electric bass guitar revolutionised the way the instrument is used.
"His work with bands such as Cream, as well as his solo material, opened the doors to a new approach to the art of sound, breaking the barriers of tradition and creating a kind of music which had never been heard before."
Chris Jisi, an American rock writer and guitar expert, said both Clapton and Baker had attracted more attention on stage. He said: "Bruce was at times overshadowed by the other two, even though he was the lead vocalist and main song writer who stirred this strange brew with vision and an unusually progressive bass style."
Bruce already played in big bands around Glasgow while a student. And the multi-talented Glasgow-born musician took to the road after leaving the RSAMD, playing double bass in dance bands and jazz groups in London and mainland Europe.
He also played with Manfred Mann before founding Cream in the 1960s.
Bruce, who now lives in Suffolk, has worked with some of rock's top musicians, including Ringo Starr, Charlie Watts, who went on to become the Rolling Stones' drummer, Bob Dylan, Lou Reed and Peter Frampton.
He is also credited with influencing musicians ranging from Sting to Jaco Pastorius.
Cream notched up 35 million album sales around the globe in only two years, won the first-ever platinum disc and virtually invented stadium-sized rock concerts, before splitting up in 1968.
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