Title of Rachel Kushner’s essay collection is from a Cream song. Can you name the song?

Time for trivia.

Rachel Kushner’s new, long-awaited and highly recommended essay collection was published on 4-6-21, and the California novelist said the title comes from lyrics in a Cream song.

The cover of "The Hard Crowd" by Rachel Kushner. The book of essays was published on April 6, 2021.
The final chapter of the book is an eponymous essay in which Rachel Kushner cites “At the party she was kindness in the hard crowd.”

This post lists five Cream songs and I invite you to guess the one that inspired Kushner, best known for the novels The Flamethrowers and The Mars Room, to create the title of her fantastic memoir-like book.

The post went through 12 revisions and I’m not planning a 13th. All but one of the previous revisions omitted the title of Kushner’s latest book. Why? “The Hard Crowd” might have been an obvious clue. It’s not.

I have not deleted the original hints.

Pete Brown wrote the lyrics and Jack Bruce, Cream’s lead singer and bass player, composed the music for the song that is up for your correct guesses.

The music has no cowbell.

What about wah-wah, timapni and violas? Yes. We’re so glad you asked. If you’ve never heard wah-wah, you will like the song’s wah-wah. The other players: guitarist Eric Clapton, drummer Ginger Baker and producer Felix Pappalardi. 

Another clue: Kushner’s book title is not a Cream song or album title. No “Disraeli Gears,” “Wheels of Fire,” “Those Were the Days” and “Anyone for Tennis.”

And one more clue: Kushner was born the same year Cream recorded the song.

The best clue is this line, added especially for Revision No. 11:

At the party she was kindness in the hard crowd

Pete Brown

OK, one of these Cream songs has the words that impressed Kushner.

“Strange Brew”

“Meet Me In The Bottom”

“White Room”

“Sunshine of Your Love”

“Tales of Brave Ulysses”


If you know the answer or even if you have no clue, please leave a humorous reply at the bottom of this post.

A $25 Amazon gift card will be given to the person who writes the wittiest response. Wit is better than right or wrong and you don’t have to write an essay. A funny line or two will do.

No Googling. OK? That’s unfair.

Our site has a 24-7-365 Google tracker sure to catch you.

Featured image credit: “Rachel Kushner at Telluride Film Fest” by Mr Shiv is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. The picture was chosen because the Telluride stage looks similar to the places where one of the Cream clips was recorded. The picture was taken in 2015.

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