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Eric Clapton has astounded the music world by finally agreeing to reform Cream, rock's first supergroup, 36 years after they split up at the height of their worldwide fame.

Back then Clapton was declared a "guitar God", Ginger Baker was the epitome of the wild-eyed rock drummer and Jack Bruce was the pioneer of a raw, biting tone for the electric bass. Over two years they sold more than 35 million records, producing a new form of "heavy" music that fused hard rock, blues and jazz. But they were unable to survive their ego-powered celebrity.

There was such venom at the end that, years later, Clapton, right, said the thought of a reunion "scares the living daylights out of me".

John Mayall, the veteran leader of the Bluesbreakers, the British band from which Clapton defected to create Cream in 1966, said on Friday: "I'm amazed. But Eric is always doing something unexpected."

Sources close to the musicians said reunion plans were under way, with Clapton, 59, Bruce, 61, and Baker, 65, talking of "probably two gigs, or maybe more" at the Royal Albert Hall in May.

The hall was where Cream last performed in Britain in November 1968 after shows in America that were earning the trio $US60,000 a night.

Cream have played together only once since, with searing versions of White Room, Crossroads and Sunshine of Your Love, at the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame in Los Angeles in 1993.
 

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My old man will be over the moon about this. He used to play the old albums when I was a little lad and he got me into rock music. He never, ever told me to turn the stereo down and he was the dude who gave me that first $4.99 for that 1st Van Halen album I ever bought. Even this day he still plays some of his old Cream records.
 
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