jack bruce

Instead of just playing bass, he defined it, carving out a legacy that will endure as long as we keep archives of recorded music. Godspeed, Mr. Bruce.

Jack Bruce found his calling early in life: Instead of just playing bass, he defined it, carving out a legacy that will endure as long as we keep archives of recorded music. Bruce passed away from liver disease on October 25, 2014, at the age of 71. His passing was announced on his website and Facebook page by his family: “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.”

Vernon Reid, guitarist in Bruce’s most recent band, Spectrum Road, responded to news of Bruce’s passing by tweeting, “Every guitarist should pick up their guitar & play the opening riff to Sunshine of Your Love before the sun goes down today!” Reid was, of course, referencing Bruce’s iconic, swaggering—yet still rock-solid—riff from the 1967 hit he performed as vocalist and bassist alongside Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker in the legendary power trio Cream. But as influential as Bruce’s burly bass lines and rich, instantly identifiable vocal vibrato are in the classic-rock repertoire, he was about a lot more than that. His songs formed the soundtrack for a generation and inspired countless musicians.

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