Book Review: Cream: Clapton, Bruce & Baker Sitting On Top of the World

Author: Edoardo Genzolini
Schiffer Publishing
2023, 144 pp. $24.99

I was quite impressed upon absorbing Eduardo Genzolini’s masterful 2023 book, The Who: Concert Memories from the Classic Years, 1964 to 1976. I know from experience how much time and effort it takes to put a book together, so I was more than a little surprised when I learned that Genzolini had readied another book for publication in 2023. Sitting On Top of the World focuses tightly upon a brief time, place and subject: Cream’s 1968 performances in San Francisco.

Cream was indeed in top form – supremely confident and tight – during the four nights at the Fillmore and Winterland. Recordings from those extensively-documented shows would be released in piecemeal fashion during Cream’s time together and in the many years to follow. Scattered tracks – in part and/or in whole – surfaced on Wheels of Fire, Live Cream Vol. 1, Live Cream Vol. 2, the Those Were the Days boxed set, Clapton’s limited-run CD After Midnight, and even in Tony Palmer’s All My Loving pop music film documentary.

As always, too, audience tapers captured the performances as well. Lots of pictures were taken; in large part, those would be amateur photos. But those recordings and images – coupled with memories of those who were there – form the backbone of Genzolini’s latest book. Employing an approach similar (but not identical) to the one he used in his Who book, Genzolini connects the dots by weaving together the color and black-and-white photos with firsthand reminiscences from concertgoers and other relevant parties.

Much care has gone into the creation of this book, a volume that is equal parts highly readable historical tome and wonderfully visual coffee-table book. Two projects in, Genzolini has established himself as one of today’s most effective chroniclers – in words and images – of rock’s classic era. I, for one, can’t wait to see what his next project entails.