Beat poet and Cream lyricist Pete Brown dies aged 82

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The Beat poet Pete Brown, who appeared at the Albert Hall in the 1960s with Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Michael Horovitz, and also co-wrote hit songs for the band Cream in the same period, has died at the age of 82 from cancer.

In 1965 Brown was there at the poetry happening Wholly Communion at the Albert Hall, which was attended by thousands. He also wrote the lyrics for some of Cream’s greatest hits, including White Room, Sunshine of Your Love, and I Feel Free. After the break-up of Cream, he continued to write the lyrics for most of former Cream bass player Jack Bruce's solo albums.

His musical career was chequered: he suffered the ignominy of being thrown out of his own band, Pete Brown and the Batttered Ornaments, the day before they were due to support the Rolling Stones at Hyde Park.

He was part of the poetry scene in Liverpool during the 1960s, and in 1964 was the first poet to perform at Morden Tower in Newcastle. Several collections of his poetry have been published, from Few in 1966 to his most recent collection in 2016, Mundane Tuesday and Freudian Saturday.  In 2010, he published his autobiography White Rooms and Imaginary Westerns.

Speaking at the 50th anniversary of the Albert Hall event in 2015, he said: “Yes, I was there, I was very young, it was my apprenticeship.” The man who wrote the words for the Cream song ‘Politician’ added: “I’m still angry after all these years. It’s great.” 





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John F Keane

Mon 22nd May 2023 21:42

He wrote the lyrics for Tales of Brave Ulysses, which transcend normal rock music lyrics in all ways.

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