Eric Clapton

  • Born in 1945 in the UK.
  • He received his first guitar at the age of 13. Initially, it was difficult to play, and he lost interest. At 15, he began to play extensively, practicing blues chords. At 16, his skills were such that he was getting noticed an a player.
  • Clapton played in numerous bands early in his career. He joined his first band, The Roosters, when he was 17. He then played briefly with Casey Jones and the Engineers, then for a year and a half, he played with The Yardbirds, starting in October 1963.
  • The Yardbirds first major hit, For Your Love, was also Clapton’s last with the band, as they wanted to move to more of a pop sound, while Clapton was devoted to blues. He move to John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, then quit after a few months to play with several other bands, and then rejoined the Bluesbreakers. By then, he was considered the best blues guitarist on the UK club circuit.
  • By July 1966, he joined Cream. As part of Cream, he started to gain fame in the U.S. market too. Their hit singles in 1968 and 1969 – Sunshine of Your Love, White Room and Crossroads – are all rock & roll classics.
  • After Cream, he played with Blind Faith, and he collaborated with numerous artists of the day. In 1970, he formed a new band – Derek and the Dominoes. The band issued one studio album – Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. The song Layla is perhaps Clapton’s best known work. Most of the songs on the album reflect Clapton’s infatuation with Pattie Boyd, who at the time was George Harrison’s (of Beatles fame – and close friend of Clapton) wife. Eventually Boyd left Harrison and married Clapton.
  • He began to record as a solo artist in 1970. His albums during the 70s were highly successful, most notably 461 Ocean Boulevard in 1974 (includes the hit I Shot the Sheriff), and Slowhand in 1977 (includes the hits Cocaine, Wonderful Tonight, and Lay Down Sally). 
  • He continued to be hugely popular and influential in the 80s and 90s, with many collaborations with legendary artists. In 1992, the single Tears In Heaven was released. The song was written by Clapton after the accidental death of his 4 year old son (who fell from a window on the 53rd floor of an apartment in New York City), and it covers the grief that Clapton felt. This song won 3 Grammy awards, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Rolling Stone ranked it #362 on its list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.
  • In total, he has released 23 solo studio albums, 22 studio albums as a band member, and 14 live albums.
  • He states that the biggest influence on him was Robert Johnson, an early blues guitarist from Mississippi who died in 1938 at the age of 27.
  • Clapton is the only three-time inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. He was inducted as a solo artist in 2000, as a member of The Yardbirds in 1992, and as a member of Cream in 1993.
  • Clapton has received 18 Grammy awards. He was knighted in 2004 – be sure to address him as Sir Eric Clapton if you run into him.
  • He is considered one of the most important guitarists of all time. Rolling Stone ranks him second all time, and virtually all lists include him near the top. His style is very much part of the blues genre, and it earned him the nickname of “Slowhand.”
  • YouTube has a ton of Clapton concert footage, you could spend a full day with him watching the clips. Here’s a 2010 version of I Shot The Sheriff. 

1 thought on “Eric Clapton”

  1. Eric is my man! I saw him in concert back in the 80’s. That’s when I got turned on to the blues! He simply blew me away! I’ve been a super huge fan of his ever since!

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