In the late 1960s, the term “supergroup” was hardly a part of the English lexicon. Some people used to think that Led Zeppelin and The Jeff Beck Group were supergroups, but these were bands that were just trading for the reputation of their lead guitarists. To be a true supergroup, every member must have an enduring legacy. In 1969 the term was simply a catchphrase for something that didn’t exist until Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Ginger Baker and Rick Grech merged Blind faith. In retrospect, being a supergroup was more of an obstacle than a stroke of luck for Blind Faith.
Recorded under a veil of secrecy and controversy, Blind Faith’s only album of the same name was tainted by greed, ego and the transition from 60s idealism to 70s self-enthusiasm. Clapton and Baker had ridden the wild roller coaster of fame and fame with Cream and were eager to get back to the business of making valid and meaningful music. With his choirboy voice and songwriting skills, Winwood saved himself from Traffic and hiked back to his R&B roots while throwing himself into casual jazz experiments. For his part, Grech was just happy to be in the same room with these guys. The six songs – Winwood’s “Had To Cry Today”, “Can’t Find My Way Home” and “Sea of Joy”; Clapton’s “Presence of the Lord”; Baker’s “Do What You Like” and Buddy Holly’s “Well All Right” were all steadfast and true to the cause.
The inflated hype guaranteed that Blind Faith would be a real hit on both sides of the Atlantic. In America, the album received unsolicited attention for its cover – a photo of a topless underage girl holding a model airplane – which barely foiled its way to the top of the charts (later copies showed a casual band photo in place of the young lady). Regardless, mediocre and poorly rehearsed live performances in Europe and the States drove Clapton into the arms of Delaney and Bonnie, while Winwood, Grech and Baker tried to raise the profile by joining Baker’s Air Force. Winwood eventually returned to the haven of traffic, and Clapton formed Derek and The Dominoes – the group Clapton had wished Blind Faith could have been. That just fits Blind faith forever remains a symbol of his brief moment in the spotlight.
~ Shawn Perry