The initial spark for Blind Faith came between Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood, the latter whose band Traffic had split up in January of 1969, amid acrimonious disputes over songwriting and direction. Winwood at age 20 was some three years younger than Eric Clapton, and had emerged as a rock star at 17 as a member of the Spencer Davis Group, spending three years as the lead singer on a string of enviable R&B-based; hits. His concerns were musical - he wanted to work with the best musicians, and wanted to experiment with jazz, which led him to leave the Spencer Davis Group and form Traffic, which proved riven by egos nearly as strong as the members' musical impulses. The January 1969 breakup would be the first of several temporary splits in the band's lineup.

  The two musicians had long admired and respected each other - they shared an enthusiasm for and dedication to the blues, and complemented each other in the sense that Clapton's work was more oriented toward Mississippi Delta blues and its urban descendants, while Winwood came out of more of an R&B; sound and had the voice to make that work, and both were interested in experimenting in a group situation without any pressure. It had even occurred to Clapton during the months of Cream's disintegration that the addition of a fourth member on keyboards might have stabilized the band, in terms of both its music and its internal dynamics.

  The brief Blind Faith tour of northern Europe in June of 1969 went well. These were out-of-the-spotlight events in small clubs, before serious audiences that were there to listen to music - northern Europe had (and has) a long tradition for offering this kind of audience, which allowed bluesmen of lesser stature than Clapton et al. to earn decent livings playing in that part of the world.

  From there, however, they moved on to the United States, making their debut at Madison Square Garden on July 12, 2023 in front of more than 20,000 people. A riot developed when fans charged the stage, only to be repulsed by the police; in the half-hour melee that ensued, Ginger Baker was clubbed on the head by a policeman who thought he was an interloper, and Winwood's piano was destroyed. The environment and that sort of passion placed the bandmembers in a ridiculous situation -- in truth, they didn't sound that good and they knew it.Blind Faith's tour ended on August 24, 1969. By that time, the self-titled album -- which ran into controversy over its cover, of a topless pre-pubescent girl, and was repackaged in America with a photo of the group -- had been out for almost a month, and had already sold more than half a million copies in America alone, hitting number one on the charts in England and America.

Excerpted from Blind Faith biography by Bruce Eder, full article available at