The following biography
Buy This at Allposters.com
Eric Patrick Clapton, CBE (born March 30,
1945), nicknamed "Slowhand", is a Grammy Award winning English
guitarist, singer and composer, who is one of the most respected and
influential musicians of the rock era, garnering an unprecedented three
inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Although Clapton's musical style has varied
throughout his career, it has always remained rooted in the blues.
Clapton is credited as an innovator in several phases of his career,
which have included blues rock (with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers and
The Yardbirds) and hard rock (with Cream). Clapton has also achieved
great chart success in genres ranging from Delta blues (Me and Mr.
Johnson) and psychedelic rock ("Sunshine of Your Love") to pop ("Change
the World") and reggae ("I Shot the Sheriff").
Clapton is currently on his 2006-2007 world
tour with good friend and longtime tourmate, Robert Cray as his
Musical Career & Personal Life
Clapton's Early Days
Eric Clapton was born in Ripley, Surrey,
England as the illegitimate son of 16-year-old Patricia Molly Clapton
and Edward Walter Fryer, a 24-year-old Canadian soldier. Fryer shipped
off to war prior to Clapton's birth and then returned to Canada.
Clapton grew up with his grandparents,
believing they were his parents and that his mother was his older
sister. Years later his mother married another Canadian soldier, moved
to Canada and left Eric with his grandparents. When Clapton was 9 years
old he discovered this family secret, and the experience became a
defining moment in his life.
Clapton grew up a self-confessed "nasty
kid". During his secondary school years he attended the Hollyfield
School in Surbiton. His first job was as a postman. Influenced by the
blues from an early age, at age 13 Clapton received an acoustic guitar
for his birthday, but he found learning the instrument so difficult he
nearly gave up. After high school, Clapton studied stained-glass design
at Kingston Art School but was later kicked out for lack of progress in
his studies. Clapton spent his early days busking around Kingston,
Richmond, London and the West End. Clapton joined his first band at
17 and stayed with this band - the early British R&B outfit The Roosters
- from January through to August 1963. Clapton did a seven-gig stint
with Casey Jones and the Engineers, in September 1963.
The Yardbirds & John Mayall and the
Clapton joined The Yardbirds, a
blues-influenced rock and roll band in 1963 and stayed with them until
March 1965. Synthesising influences from Chicago blues and leading blues
guitarists such as Buddy Guy, Freddie King and B.B. King, Clapton forged
a distinctive style and rapidly became one of the most talked-about
guitarists in the British music scene. The band initially played covers
of Chess/Checker/Vee-Jay blues numbers and began to attract a large cult
following when they took over the Rolling Stones' residency at the
Crawdaddy Club in Richmond. They toured England with American bluesman
Sonny Boy Williamson; a joint LP, recorded in December 1963, was issued
belatedly under both their names in 1965. In March 1965, just as Clapton
left the band, the Yardbirds had their first major hit, on which Clapton
played guitar: "For Your Love."
Still obstinately dedicated to blues music,
Clapton took strong exception to the Yardbirds' new pop-oriented
direction, partly because "For Your Love" had been written by pop
songwriter-for-hire Graham Gouldman, who had also written hits for teen
pop outfit Herman's Hermits and harmony pop band The Hollies. Clapton
recommended fellow guitarist Jimmy Page as his replacement, but Page was
at that time unwilling to relinquish his lucrative career as a freelance
studio musician, so Page in turn recommended Clapton's successor, Jeff
Beck (although Page would also eventually join the band).
Having quit the Yardbirds in March, Clapton
joined John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers in April 1965. His passionate
playing in nightclubs -- and on the immensely influential album, Blues
Breakers -- established Clapton's name worldwide as a blues guitarist.
With his 1960 Gibson Les Paul Standard guitar and Marshall amplifier,
Clapton's playing by then had inspired a craze of graffiti that deified
him with the famous slogan "Clapton is God."
Clapton left the Bluesbreakers in mid-1966
(to be replaced by Peter Green) and then formed Cream, one of the
earliest examples of a supergroup. Cream was also one of the earliest
"power trios", with Jack Bruce (also of Manfred Mann, the Bluesbreakers
and the Graham Bond Organisation) and Ginger Baker(another member of the
GBO). During his time with Cream, Clapton began to develop as a singer
and songwriter, as well as guitarist, though Bruce, one of rock's most
powerful singers, took most of the lead vocals and wrote the majority of
the material with lyricist Pete Brown. Debuting at the Windsor Jazz and
Blues Festival, Cream established an enduring legend on the high-volume
blues jamming and extended solos of their live shows, while their studio
work was more sophisticated than original rock.
In early 1967, Clapton's status as
Britain's top guitarist was shaken by the arrival of Jimi Hendrix.
Hendrix attended a performance of the newly-formed Cream at the Central
London Polytechnic on October 1, 1966, during which Hendrix sat in on a
shattering double-timed version of "Killing Floor". Hendrix's early club
performances were avidly attended by top UK stars including Clapton,
Pete Townshend, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. Hendrix's arrival
had an immediate and major effect on the next phase of Clapton's career,
although Clapton continued to be recognized in music polls as the
Cream's repertoire varied from pop soul ("I
Feel Free") to lengthy blues-based instrumental jams ("Spoonful") and
featured Clapton's searing guitar lines, Bruce's soaring vocals and
prominent, fluid bass playing, and Baker's powerful, polyrhythmic
In a mere three years Cream had immense
commercial success, selling 15 million records and playing to
standing-room only crowds throughout the U.S. and Europe. They redefined
the instrumentalist's role in rock and were one of the first bands to
emphasize musical virtuosity, skill and flash. Their U.S. hit singles
include "Sunshine Of Your Love" (#5, 1968), "White Room" (#6, 1968) and
"Crossroads" (#28, 1969) - a live cover version of Robert Johnson's
"Cross Road Blues".
Although Cream was hailed as one of the
greatest groups of its day, and the adulation of Clapton as guitar hero
reached new heights, the band was destined to be short-lived. The
legendary in-fighting between Bruce and Baker and growing tensions
between all three members eventually led to Cream's demise. Another
significant factor was a strongly critical Rolling Stone review of a
concert of the group's second headlining U.S. tour, which affected
Clapton profoundly. By this time he had also fallen deeply under the
spell of the music of The Band after they had released the album Music
from Big Pink and began to believe that rock music was heading in a new
direction. He was so infatuated with them that he even asked to join
them, but was turned down.
The valedictory Goodbye album featured live
performances recorded live at The Forum, Los Angeles, October 19, 1968,
and it was released shortly after Cream disbanded in 1968, and also
featured the studio single "Badge", co-written by Clapton and George
Harrison, whom he had met and become friends with after the Beatles had
shared a bill with the Clapton-era Yardbirds at the London Palladium.
(The chorus of "Badge" served as the basis for Harrison's later Beatles
composition, "Here Comes the Sun", which Harrison reportedly composed in
Clapton's back garden.) The close friendship between Clapton and
Harrison also resulted in Clapton's playing on Harrison's "While My
Guitar Gently Weeps" from the Beatles' White Album - according to some,
a tactic intended to make the other Beatles take Harrison's song more
seriously, but whatever the truth, by all accounts the presence of an
outsider, especially of Clapton's calibre, had the effect of bringing
harmony to the irritable band (in January 1969, during the making of
what would become the Let It Be album, Harrison walked out after an
argument and in his absence - fearing Harrison had gone for good and
concerned that the album could not be completed - John Lennon proposed
that Harrison be replaced by Clapton.) In the same year of release as
the White Album, Harrison released his solo debut Wonderwall Music which
became the first of many Harrison solo records to feature Clapton on
guitar, who would go largely uncredited due to contractual restraints.
The pair would often play live together as each other's guests, right up
until Harrison's death in 2001 and the following tribute concert in his
name, for which Clapton was one of the main performers and organizers.
Since their 1968 breakup, Cream briefly
reunited in 1993 to perform at the ceremony inducting them into the Rock
and Roll Hall of Fame. A full-scale reunion of the legendary trio took
place in May 2005, with Clapton, Bruce and Baker playing 4 sold-out
concerts at London's Royal Albert Hall (the scene of their 1968 farewell
shows) and 3 more at New York's Madison Square Garden that October.
Recordings from the London shows were released on CD and DVD in
Blind Faith & Delaney and Bonnie and
A desultory spell in a second supergroup,
the short-lived Blind Faith (1969), which was composed of Cream drummer
Ginger Baker, Steve Winwood of Traffic and Ric Grech of Family, resulted
in one LP and one arena-circuit tour. The supergroup debuted before
100,000 fans in London's Hyde Park on June 7, 1969, and began a sold-out
American tour in July before its one and only album had been released.
The LP Blind Faith (album) was recorded in such haste that side two
consisted of just two songs, one of them a 15 minute jam entitled "Do
What You Like". Nevertheless, Blind Faith did include two classics:
Winwood's "Can't Find My Way Home" and Clapton's "Presence of the Lord".
The album's jacket image of a topless prepubescent girl was deemed
controversial in the U.S. and was replaced by a photograph of the band.
Blind Faith dissolved after only a year together, and while Winwood
returned to Traffic, by now Clapton was tired of both the spotlight and
the hype that had surrounded Cream and Blind Faith, and wanted to make
music that more closely resembled that of The Band.
Clapton decided to step into the background
for a time, touring as a sideman with the American group Delaney and
Bonnie and Friends. He moved to New York in late 1969 and worked with
the band through early 1970. He became close friends with Delaney
Bramlett, who encouraged him in his singing and writing, which would
show determined growth in his next effort.
Using the Bramletts' backing group and an
all-star cast of session players (including Leon Russell and Stephen
Stills, on whose solo albums Clapton played), he released his first solo
album in 1970, fittingly named Eric Clapton, which included the Bramlett
composition, "Bottle Of Red Wine", and one of Clapton's best songs from
this period, "Let It Rain". It also yielded an unexpected U.S. #18 hit,
the J.J. Cale cover "After Midnight".
Clapton's "between-bands" period from 1969
to 1970 also saw him appear on a large number of other artists' records,
ranging from George Harrison's All Things Must Pass (for contractual
reasons, Clapton's contributions went uncredited for decades) to The
Plastic Ono Band's Sometime in New York City and Dr John's Sun Moon and
Derek and the Dominos
Taking over Delaney & Bonnie's rhythm
section — Bobby Whitlock (keyboards, vocals), Carl Radle (bass) and Jim
Gordon (drums) — Clapton formed a new band which was similarly intended
to counteract the 'star' cult that had grown up around him and show
Clapton as an equal member of a fully-fledged group. Tony Ashton from
The Remo Four, Ashton, Gardner and Dyke, Paice Ashton and Lord always
referred to Eric as Derek and christened the band, Derek and The
Dominoes. Clapton's close friendship with George Harrison had brought
him into contact with Harrison's wife Patti Boyd-Harrison, with whom he
fell deeply in love. When she turned him down, Clapton's unrequited
affections prompted most of the material for the Dominos' album Layla
and Other Assorted Love Songs, most notably the hit single "Layla",
inspired by the Persian classical poet Nizami Ganjavi's "The Story of
Layla and Majnun", a copy of which a friend had given him; Clapton found
a strong similarity between the situation of Layla and Majnun and the
one between him and Boyd-Harrison.
Working at Criteria Studios in Miami with
legendary Atlantic Records producer Tom Dowd, the band recorded a
brilliant double-album which is now widely regarded as Clapton's
masterpiece. The two parts of "Layla" were recorded in separate
sessions: the opening guitar section was recorded first, and for the
second section, laid down several months later, drummer Jim Gordon
composed and played the elegiac piano part.
The Layla LP was actually recorded by a
five-piece version of the group, thanks to the unforeseen inclusion of
guitarist Duane Allman of The Allman Brothers Band. A few days into the
Layla sessions, Dowd -- who was also producing the Allmans -- invited
Clapton to an Allman Brothers outdoor concert in Miami. The two
guitarists — who previously knew each other only by reputation — met
backstage after the show, and then both bands retired to the studio to
jam (an impromptu session which, happily, was captured on tape). Clapton
and Allman fell in love with each other's playing and became instant
friends, and Allman was immediately invited to become the fifth member
of The Dominos. (These studio jams were eventually released as part of
the 3-CD 20th-anniversary edition of the Layla album.)
When Allman and Clapton met, The Dominos
had already recorded three tracks ("I Looked Away", "Bell Bottom Blues"
and "Keep On Growing"); Allman debuted on the fourth cut, "Nobody Knows
You When You're Down And Out", and contributed some of his most sublime
slide-guitar playing to the remainder of the LP. The album was heavily
blues-influenced and featured a winning combination of the twin guitars
of Allman and Clapton, with Allman's incendiary slide-guitar a key
ingredient of the sound. It showcased some of Clapton's strongest
material to date, as well as arguably some of his best guitar playing,
with Whitlock also contributing several superb numbers, and his
powerful, soul-influenced voice.
Tragedy dogged the group throughout its
brief career. During the sessions, Clapton was devastated by news of the
death of Jimi Hendrix; eight days previously the band had cut a
blistering version of "Little Wing" as a tribute to him which was added
to the album. One year later, on the eve of the group's first American
tour, Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident. Adding to
Clapton's woes, the Layla album received only lukewarm reviews on
release; he later commented that the album's initial poor reception had
angered and disillusioned him, as he had (perhaps naively) expected it
to be assessed on its merits rather than his involvement.
The shattered group undertook a US tour.
Despite Clapton's later admission that the tour took place amidst a
veritable blizzard of drugs and alcohol, it resulted in the surprisingly
strong live double album In Concert. But Derek and the Dominos
disintegrated messily in London just as they commenced recording for
their second LP. Although Radle would be Clapton's main bass player
until the summer of 1979 (Radle died in May 1980 from the effects of
alcohol and narcotics), the split between Clapton and Whitlock was
apparently a bitter one, and it took until 2003 before they worked
together again (Clapton guested on Whitlock's appearance on the Later
with Jools Holland show, playing and singing "Bell Bottom Blues",
available on a "Later with Jools" DVD). Another tragic footnote to the
Dominos story was the fate of drummer Jim Gordon, who was an undiagnosed
schizophrenic — some years later, during a psychotic episode, he
murdered his mother with a hammer and was confined to 14 years to life
imprisonment. Gordon was moved to a mental institution after several
years, where he remains today.
Despite his success, Clapton's personal
life was in a chaotic mess by late 1971. In addition to his
(temporarily) unrequited and intense romantic longing for Pattie
Boyd-Harrison, he withdrew from recording and touring to isolation in
his Surrey, England residence where he nursed his heroin addiction,
resulting in a career hiatus interrupted only by the Concert for
Bangladesh (where he passed out on stage, was revived, and continued the
show) in August of 1971. In January of 1973, The Who's Pete Townshend
organized a comeback concert for Clapton at London's Rainbow Theatre
aptly titled the "Rainbow Concert" to help Clapton kick his addiction.
Clapton would return the favour by playing 'The Preacher' in Ken
Russell's film version of The Who's Tommy in 1975; his appearance in the
film (performing "Eyesight To The Blind") is notable for the fact that
he is clearly wearing a fake beard in some shots, the result of deciding
to shave off his real beard after the initial takes.
Now partnered with Boyd-Harrison (they
would not actually marry until 1979) and free of heroin (although
starting to drink heavily), Clapton put together a strong new touring
band that included Radle, Miami guitarist George Terry, drummer Jamie
Oldaker and vocalists Yvonne Elliman and Marcy Levy (later better known
as Marcella Detroit of 1980s pop duo Shakespear's Sister). With this
band Clapton recorded 461 Ocean Boulevard (1974), an album with the
emphasis on songs rather than musicianship; the cover-version of "I Shot
The Sheriff" was a major hit and was important in bringing reggae and
the music of Bob Marley to a wider audience. The band toured the world
and subsequently released the 1975 live LP, E.C. Was Here.
The 1975 album There's One In Every Crowd
continued the trend of 461. Its original intended title The World's
Greatest Guitar Player (There's One In Every Crowd) was altered, as it
was felt the ironic intention would be missed. (Clapton's own original
cover artwork, a (self-)portrait of a miserable-looking character with a
pint glass, was also replaced by a photograph of Clapton's dog Jeep,
apparently with its muzzle on a coffin.)
Clapton continued to release albums
sporadically and toured regularly, but much of his output from this
period was deliberately low-key and failed to find the wide acceptance
of his earlier work; highlights of the era include No Reason to Cry,
whose collaborators included Bob Dylan and Robbie Robertson, and
Slowhand, which featured "Wonderful Tonight", another song inspired by
Patti Boyd-Harrison, and a second J.J. Cale cover, "Cocaine", which has
since become a rock staple.
Clapton has covered songs by a myriad of
arists, most notably Robert Johnson and J.J. Cale. Other artists Clapton
has covered include Bob Marley and Bob Dylan. He cites Johnson and Cale
as major influences on his guitar playing, stating in the liner notes of
his Robert Johnson tribute album Me and Mr. Johnson "It is a remarkable
thing to have been driven and influenced all of my life by the work of
one man... I accept that it has always been the keystone of my musical
foundation... I am talking of course about Robert Johnson". He has
covered more than six of Cale's originals and has put out an album with
the artist. Other artists Clapton has made collaborations with include
Frank Zappa, B.B King, Santana, Ringo Starr, Bob Marley and The Plastic
In 1976, Clapton was the centre of
controversy and accusations of racism, when he spoke out against
increasing immigration during a concert in Birmingham. He commented that
England had "...become overcrowded...that England sells itself as the
"land of milk and honey" only to turn around and stick its invited
immigrants into low paying labour jobs, living in substandard
conditions..." Clapton also voiced his support of controversial
political candidate Enoch Powell, making references to "a black colony."
As a result, it would be a full decade before Clapton was welcome to
play in Birmingham again. These comments (along with
equally controversial remarks and actions by other artists, such as
David Bowie and Siouxsie Sioux) led to the creation of the Rock Against
Racism movement in the UK.
Despite his controversial stance, Clapton
has not made any notable effort to distance himself from the remarks and
has denied there was any contradiction between his political views and
his career based on an essentially black musical form. In an interview
with Q magazine he defended his position, saying it wasn't racist but
instead borne of concern that "...ghettoes would spring up all over
England, which they have done." However, in a later
interview, although not fully retracting the remarks, he attributed them
to his inebriation at the time, a product of his much-publicised
alcoholism. According to an article in The Independent (London) on March
22, 2004 entitled "Why they're rocking against racism again":
Some see the current climate as similar to
the situation prevailing when Rock Against Racism began in late 1976
[...] A somewhat inebriated Eric Clapton, then considered very much part
of the old guard, at a concert in Birmingham, told the audience that the
politician Enoch Powell -- infamous for his "rivers of blood" speech
opposing mass immigration -- was right and that Britain was
"overcrowded". [...] A sheepish Clapton was later reported to have
explained that he was angry because an "Arab" had felt his wife's
In the late 1980s Clapton added four black
musicians to his band, bassist Nathan East, keyboardist Greg
Phillinganes, drummer Steve Ferrone and backing singer Katie Kissoon.
Whilst Clapton had previously played and recorded with many black
musicians (including Buddy Guy, BB King and Robert Cray), and had
appeared alongside performers of varying ethnicities at collaborative
events (such as The Concert for Bangla Desh), this was the first time
Clapton had been in a band in which the official members were not all
Clapton has also dated supermodel Naomi
Campbell (who is of Afro-Jamaican heritage) and has a home in
Antigua, which is populated almost exclusively by people of African
The late 1970s saw Clapton struggle to come
to terms with the changes in popular music, and a relapse into
alcoholism that eventually saw him hospitalised and then spending a
period of convalescence in Antigua, where he would later support the
creation of a drugs and alcohol rehabilitation centre, The Crossroads
In 1981, Clapton was invited by producer
Martin Lewis to appear at the Amnesty International benefit The Secret
Policeman's Other Ball. Clapton accepted the invitation and teamed up
with Jeff Beck to perform a series of duets - reportedly their
first-ever billed stage collaboration. Three of the perfomances were
released on the album of the show and one of the songs was featured in
the film of the show. The performances heralded a return to form and
prominence for Clapton in the new decade.
In 1984, he performed on Pink Floyd member,
Roger Waters solo album, The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking and went on
tour with Waters following the release of the album. Since then Waters
and Clapton have had a close relationship, and in 2005 they performed
together for the Tsunami Relief Fund and on May 20, 2006 performed with
Waters at the Highclere Castle playing two set pieces of "Wish You Were
Here" and "Comfortably Numb".
As Clapton came back from his addictions,
his album output continued in the 1980s, including two produced with
Phil Collins, 1985's Behind the Sun, which produced the hits "Forever
Man" and "She's Waiting", and 1986's August.
August, a polished release suffused with
Collins's trademark drum/horn sound, became Clapton's biggest seller in
the UK to date and matched his highest chart position, number 3. The
album's first track, the hit "It's In The Way That You Use It", was also
featured in the Tom Cruise-Paul Newman movie The Color of Money. The
horn-peppered "Run" echoed Collins' "Sussudio" and rest of the
producer's Genesis/solo output, while "Tearing Us Apart" (with Tina
Turner) and the bitter "Miss You" echoed Clapton at his angry best.
The period kicked off Clapton's extensive
two-year period of touring with Collins and their August collaborates,
bassist Nathan East and keyboard player/songwriter Greg Phillinganes.
Despite his own earlier battles with the bottle, Clapton also remade
"After Midnight" as a single and a promotional track for the Michelob
beer brand produced by Anheuser-Busch, which had also marketed earlier
songs by Collins and Steve Winwood.
Clapton won more plaudits and a British
Academy Television Award for his collaboration with Michael Kamen on the
score for the critically-acclaimed 1985 BBC television thriller serial
Edge of Darkness.
In 1989, Clapton's commercial and artistic
resurgence finally came full circle with Journeyman, which featured
songs in a wide range of styles from blues to jazz, soul and pop and
collaborators including George Harrison, Phil Collins, Daryl Hall, Chaka
Khan, Mick Jones, David Sanborn and Robert Cray.
In 1985 Clapton, while still married to
Patti Boyd-Harrison, had started a relationship with Yvonne Khan Kelly;
they had a daughter, Ruth, in the same year. Clapton did not publicly
acknowledge his daughter's existence for several years (she eventually
made a spoken-word appearance on his 1998 album Pilgrim and in 2001 was
pictured in the Reptile album artwork). Clapton and Boyd-Harrison
divorced in 1989 following his affair with Italian model Lory Del Santo,
who gave birth to his son Conor in August 1986 (the month of his birth
prompting the title of the album released that year).
The early 1990s saw tragedy enter Clapton's
life again on two occasions. On August 27, 1990 guitarist Stevie Ray
Vaughan, who was touring with Clapton, and two members of their road
crew were killed in a helicopter crash between concerts. Then, on March
20, 1991 at 11:00AM, Conor, who was four and a half, died when he fell
from the 53rd-story window of his mother's New York City apartment,
landing on the roof of an adjacent four-story building. A fraction of
Clapton's grief was heard on the song "Tears in Heaven" (on the
soundtrack to the 1991 movie Rush), co-written with Will Jennings,
which, like the MTV Unplugged album that followed it, won a Grammy
While Unplugged featured Clapton playing
acoustic guitar, his 1994 album From The Cradle contains new versions of
old blues standards highlighted by fine electric guitar playing.
Clapton finished the twentieth century with
critically-acclaimed collaborations with Carlos Santana and B. B. King.
Clapton's 1996 recording of the Wayne Kirkpatrick/ Gordon Kennedy/Tommy
Sims tune "Change the World" (featured in the soundtrack of the movie
Phenomenon) won a Grammy award for song of the year in 1997, the same
year he recorded Retail Therapy, an album of electronic music with Simon
Climie under the pseudonym TDF. The following year, Clapton released the
album "Pilgrim", the first record featuring brand new material for
almost a decade.
In 1999 Clapton, then 54, met 25-year-old
graphic artist Melia McEnery in Los Angeles while working on an album
with B.B. King. They married in 2002 at St Mary Magdalen church in
Clapton's birthplace, Ripley, and as of 2005 have three daughters, Julia
Rose (2001), Ella May (2003), and Sophie (2005).
Following the release of the 2001 record
"Reptile", Eric performed Layla and While My Guitar Gently Weeps at the
Party at the Palace in 2002 and in November he masterminded The Concert
for George at the Royal Albert Hall, a tribute to George Harrison, who
had died a year earlier of cancer. The concert featured Paul McCartney,
Ringo Starr, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, and Ravi Shankar, amongst others.
In 2004, Clapton released two records
packed full of covers by legendary Bluesman, Robert Johnson. "Me & Mr
Johnson," contains many delights from the soulful "Love in Vain," to the
pacey "Last Fair Deal Going Down," and "They're Red Hot." The second
album, "Sessions For Robert J," was released in December and comprised
of the outtakes from the "Me & Mr Johnson." Before his Tour of Japan in
2003, Clapton had stated that his new album would have a definite
"rocky," feel but the two Robert Johnson records undoubtedly
contradicted this. He later revealed that "when we got stuck or if it
wasn't moving fast enough we'd stop and do a Robert Johnson song. That
would clear the air and we'd go back and carry on for the new album. As
a result, we ended up with a complete Robert Johnson album first, which
was released last year as 'Me And Mr. Johnson."
"Back Home," Clapton's first album of new
original material in nearly five years, was be released on Reprise/Duck
Records on August 30th. Featuring twelve songs, five of which were
penned by Clapton with creative collaborator Simon Climie, "Back Home"
also includes "Love Comes To Everyone" by George Harrison, the Spinners'
"Love Don't Love Nobody," a rendition of Stevie Wonder and Syreeta
Wright's "I'm Going Left," and compositions by Vince Gill, Doyle
Bramhall II and others. It was through the writing and recording
process, Clapton explains, that the theme of "Back Home" emerged. "One
of the earliest statements I made about myself," he reveals, "was back
in the late '80s, with 'Journeyman.' This album completes that cycle in
terms of talking about my whole journey as an itinerant musician and
where I find myself now, starting a new family. That's why I chose the
title. It's about coming home and staying home. Even though," he adds
with a laugh, "I'll be out on the road again next year, playing this
In 2006 it was announced that Derek Trucks
and Doyle Bramhall II would join Clapton's band for his 2006 and 2007
tour. Trucks is the third member of the Allman Brothers Band to support
Clapton, the second being keyboardist Chuck Leavell who appeared on the
MTV Unplugged album. Support act band leader, Robert Cray regularly join
Eric on stage for "Old Love" which he co-wrote with Eric for the 1989
album "Journeyman" and on the encore on "Crossroads" The setlist for the
2006-2007 World Tour has been constructed from compositions spanning his
entire solo career from After Midnight from the 1970 ""Eric Clapton" "
LP to "Back Home" from the album of the same name. On May 20th, 2006 he
performed with a set band consisting of ex-Queen drummer Roger Taylor
and ex- Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters, at the Highclere Castle. On
August 13th 2006, Clapton made a guest appearance at the Bob Dylan
concert in Columbus, Ohio. He guest appreared on three songs of Jimmie
Vaughan's opening act.
A collaboration with guitar legend J.J.
Cale, titled "The Road To Escondido," is to be released in November
2006. The 14 track CD was produced and recorded by the duo in August
2005 in California. The resulting music defies being labeled into any
one category, but instead finds influence across the spectrum of blues,
rock, country and folk. A hybrid sound that is unique musically, while
still bearing the signature styles of Cale and Clapton recognized by
fans around the world. The songs are warm and rich, with deep flowing
rhythms, yet use an economy of words to express much.
In a true collaboration, Cale and Clapton
jointly produced and recorded the album, each playing and singing on the
tracks. Cale wrote 11 of the songs, Clapton wrote "Three Little Girls,"
John Mayer wrote "Hard To Thrill" and the duo cover the blues classic
"Sporting Life Blues." J.J. Cale's touring band accompanies them on the
album as well as guest musicians including, Taj Mahal, John Mayer, Derek
Trucks, Doyle Bramhall II, Albert Lee, Nathan East, Willie Weeks and
Steve Jordan. Particularly special is the involvement of Billy Preston,
who donated his classic keyboard talents throughout the album. The album
is dedicated to Preston and Clapton's late friend Brian Roylance.
The rights to Clapton's official memoirs,
to be written by Christopher Simon Sykes and to be published in 2007,
were reportedly sold at the 2005 Frankfurt Book Fair for USD $4 million.
 Clapton initiated the revival of Cream, playing at London's Royal
Albert Hall in May and New York's Madison Square Garden in October 2005.
The search for his father
Although Clapton's grandparents had
eventually told him the truth about his parentage – that he was the
illegitimate son of a Canadian serviceman – the precise identity of his
father remained a mystery for many years. Clapton knew that his father's
name was Edward Fryer, but few other details were known. This was a
source of disquiet and speculation for Clapton, as witnessed by his 1998
song My father's eyes in which he writes "How did I get here? When will
all my hopes arrive?...When I look in my father's eyes".
A Toronto journalist called Michael
Woloschuk set about solving the mystery. He researched Canadian Armed
Forces service records and tracked-down members of Edward Fryer's
family, finally piecing together the story that Clapton's father was
Edward Walter Fryer, born 21 March 1920, in Montreal and died 15 May
1985 in North York, Ontario. Fryer was a musician (piano and saxophone)
and a lifelong drifter, who was married several times, had several
children and apparently never knew that he was the father of Eric
Clapton's choice of electric guitars have
been as notable as the man himself, and alongside Hank Marvin, The
Beatles and Jimi Hendrix, Clapton has exerted a crucial and widespread
influence in popularising particular models of the electric guitar.
Early on in his career, Clapton used both
Gibson and Fender guitars, but became exclusively a Gibson player in
mid-1965, when he purchased a used 1960 Gibson Les Paul Standard guitar,
and was largely responsible for Gibson's reintroduction of the original
Les Paul body style after it was replaced by the Gibson SG.
During his stint in Cream, Clapton
continued to play Gibson guitars, including Les Paul models, a Gibson
Firebird and a Gibson ES-335, but his most famous guitar in this period
was a 1964 Gibson SG. The guitar was noted for its remarkable,
psychedelic appearance. In early 1967, just before their first US
promotional tour, Clapton's SG, Bruce's Fender VI and Baker's drum head
were repainted in eye-popping psychedelic designs created by the visual
art collective known as The Fool.
Clapton played a Les Paul on the Beatles'
studio recording of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." He later lent his SG
to singer Jackie Lomax, who subsequently sold it to musician Todd
Rundgren for US$500 in 1972. Rundgren restored the guitar and nicknamed
it "Sunny," after "Sunshine Of Your Love." Rundgren played the guitar
extensively on record and in concert in the mid-1970s, eventually
retiring it in 1977. He retained it until 2000, when he sold it at an
auction for US$150,000.
During Clapton's heroin addiction from 1969
to 1974, he began to sell off his collection of guitars to pay for his
drug habit. Seeing Clapton selling his most treasured possessions was
one of the reasons Pete Townshend was prompted to assist him get over
Another moment involving Clapton's guitars
and Pete Townshend resulted in Hard Rock Cafe's unique and gigantic
collection of memorabilia. In 1971, Clapton, a regular at the original
Hard Rock Cafe in Hyde Park, London, gave a signed guitar to the cafe to
designate his favorite bar stool. Pete Townshend, in turn, donated one
of his own guitars, with a note attached: "Mine's as good as his! Love,
Pete." From there, the collection of memorabilia grew, resulting in Hard
Rock Cafe's atmosphere.
Later (due to fellow Blind Faith bandmate
Steve Winwood's influence, and Clapton's love of Buddy Guy's sound),
Clapton began using Fender Stratocasters. First was "Brownie" used
during the recording of Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs which in
1971 became the backup the most famous of all Clapton's guitars was
"Blackie" (a concoction of Clapton's favorite parts from several other
Strats) which he used until the late 1980s when it wore out.
In 1988 Clapton, along with fellow Strat
player Yngwie Malmsteen, was honored by Fender with the introduction of
his signature Eric Clapton Stratocaster. These were the first two artist
models in the Stratocaster range and since then the artist series has
grown to include models inspired by both Clapton's contemporaries such
as Mark Knopfler, Jeff Beck and those who have influenced him such as
Buddy Guy. The late Stevie Ray Vaughan also has an artist series model.
Clapton has also been honoured with a signature-model acoustic guitar
made by the famous American firm of C.F. Martin & Co..
In 1999 Clapton auctioned off some of his
guitar collection to raise money for his Crossroads Centre he founded in
Antigua in 1997. The Crossroads Centre is a treatment base for addictive
disorders like drugs and alcohol. The total revenue raised by the
auction at Christie's was US $7,438,624.
2006 tour band
Eric Clapton - guitar, vocals
Doyle Bramhall II - guitar, backing vocals
Derek Trucks - guitar
Chris Stainton - keyboards
Tim Carmon - keyboards
Willie Weeks - bass
Steve Jordan - drums
The Kick Horns (Simon Clarke, Roddy
Lorimer, and Tim Sanders) - brass
Michelle John - backing vocals
Sharon White - backing vocals
US / Canada - Eastern Region, Japan,
Australia and New Zealand
Eric Clapton - guitar, vocals
Doyle Bramhall II - guitar, backing vocals
Derek Trucks - guitar
Chris Stainton - keyboards
Tim Carmon - keyboards
Willie Weeks - bass
Steve Jordan - drums
Michelle John - backing vocals
Sharon White - backing vocals
Support act for European and US / Canada :
The Robert Cray Band
Previous band members
Albert Lee - guitar
Jack Johnson - guitar
Mark Knopfler - guitar
Andy Fairweather Low - guitar, backing
Phil Palmer - guitar
George Terry - guitar, backing vocals
Gary Brooker - keyboards
Chuck Leavell - keyboards
Greg Phillinganes - keyboards, Hammond
organ, backing vocals
Billy Preston - Hammond B3 Organ
David Sancious - keyboards, guitar,
harmonica, backing vocals
Chris Stainton - piano, keyboards
Nathan East - bass guitar
Pino Palladino - bass guitar
Carl Radle - bass guitar
Paulinho Da Costa - percussion
Phil Collins - drums, vocals
Ray Cooper - percussion
Steve Ferrone - drums
Steve Gadd - drums
Ricky Lawson - drums
Andy Newmark - drums
Jamie Oldaker - drums
Jim Price - trumpet, trombone, keyboards
Bobby Keys - sax
Yvonne Elliman - backing vocals
Katie Kissoon - backing vocals
Marcy Levy - backing vocals
Tessa Niles - backing vocals
Some of this article's trivia section can
be put into the main portion of the article.
Please help by removing unencyclopedic
content or integrating content from the trivia section into other
appropriate areas of the article.
Clapton employs Lee Dickson to take care of
his guitars. They are kept in a controlled environment and at the moment
he has about 750 guitars. Back when he was at his prime he had some
2,000 guitars.
Clapton was ranked 4th in Rolling Stone’s
controversial list of The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. 
According to the aforementioned list,
Clapton is the second greatest living guitarist (behind B.B. King).
Early in his career, Clapton used a 1960
model Gibson Les Paul, and was partially responsible for Gibson's
reintroduction of the original Les Paul body style after it was replaced
by the Gibson SG.
Although many sources give his surname at
birth as Clapp, this is incorrect. Though his grandmother's second
husband's name was Clapp, his mother's name was Clapton; his
grandparents never legally adopted him.
Eric Clapton is credited on Dire Straits’
Brothers in Arms album, as he loaned Mark Knopfler one of his guitars
for the album.
Clapton played lead guitar on The Pros and
Cons of Hitch Hiking, Roger Waters' debut solo album after leaving Pink
Clapton was banned from driving in France
and had his British driving license confiscated after being clocked
driving at 216 km/h (134mph) in a Porsche 911 Turbo on a French motorway
in October 2004.
Clapton claims to have slept with over
1,000 women. He supposedly once ordered a fellow musician to let him
sleep with his girlfriend.
Minor Planet 4305 is named 4305 Clapton to
honor him. It is an asteroid between Mars and Jupiter.
The soundtrack of Goodfellas contains two
of his songs: "Layla" (by Derek and the Dominos) and "Sunshine of Your
Love" (by Cream). Both of these songs have immediately recognizable
guitar riffs (even to those who have never heard the songs in their
entirety), although the portion of "Layla" used is the piano coda, and
not the riff for which the song is best known .
Clapton performed at The Band's farewell
show, which is chronicled in The Last Waltz, a film by Martin Scorsese.
While performing the beginning of "Further On Up the Road," his guitar
strap came undone. To cover for him while he fixed it, Robbie Robertson
improvised a guitar solo.
Clapton played two farewell concerts on
November 26: Cream in 1968, and The Last Waltz in 1976. Ironically, The
Band's music is partly what inspired him to leave Cream in the first
Clapton and Cream bandmates Ginger Baker
and Jack Bruce have all played with each other in other groups. Clapton
and Baker played together in the short-lived supergroup Blind Faith,
Baker and Bruce played together with the Graham Bond Organisation and
Blues Incorporated, and Bruce and Clapton played together near the end
of Clapton's tenure with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers.
Prior to the Cream reunion at the Royal
Albert Hall, the band had never played "Badge" live, since the song was
included on Goodbye, the band's last original album before their
break-up. However, Clapton, as a solo artist, has played the song live,
as indicated on The Cream of Eric Clapton.
Before the formation of Cream in 1966,
Clapton was all but unknown in the United States. He left The Yardbirds
before "For Your Love" hit the American Top 10.
Once while playing a Cream concert, he and
Ginger Baker suddenly stopped playing; Jack Bruce, apparently due to the
volume of his amplification, did not notice.
Even though all three were band members of
The Yardbirds, Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Jeff Beck never played in the
band all at the same time. The three guitarists did however all play on
stage at the same time at the ARMS charity concerts in 1983 in honour of
Ronnie Lane. Clapton and Page had previously played together with The
Immediate All-Stars in 1965. And, as noted above, Clapton and Beck
played together in 1981 at The Secret Policeman's Other Ball.
According to an interview with Ginger Baker
on the Cream reunion DVD, the reunion was Clapton's idea.
When "Layla" from Unplugged hit #12 on the
U.S. charts, Clapton became one of only two artists (the other being
Neil Sedaka) to have made the Billboard Hot 100 with two versions of the
Upon his return to England after recording
Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, he was supporting a £1,000-per-week
Clapton holds the #10 ranked guitar solo
for the song "Crossroads" in Guitar World magazine's 100 Greatest Guitar
Solos. While this is his highest ranked solo, he also boasts four
Clapton is the only person inducted into
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio three times (The
Yardbirds, Cream, and solo).
Clapton wrote the score to the film Rush.
That film featured Gregg Allman, whose brother, Duane, was a guest
musician who helped Clapton record Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.
His name has appeared on some albums
distributed in Japan as Eric Crapton, , though this is most likely a
case of bad Engrish rather than sabotage.
Clapton was good friends with fellow 1960's
guitarist Jimi Hendrix. Both musicians went to the same concert the
night Hendrix died; Clapton had bought a left-handed Stratocaster to
give to his friend after the performance, but he never got the
Neon Genesis Evangelion character designer,
Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, did the cover to Clapton's album "Pilgrim."
^ "Eric Clapton" by Chris
Welch, extract from Cream: Strange Brew at Official Cream website.
Retrieved on 2006-07-04.
^ "Clapton takes new
bride to Conor's grave", The Sun Online. Retrieved on 2006-07-04.
^ Flag and country
information-State of ANTIGUA and BARBUDA. Retrieved on 2006-07-04.
^ "Joel Rickett on the
latest news from the publishing industry", The Guardian, 22 October
2005. Retrieved on 2006-07-04.
^ Daily Telegraph, 27
^ "The 100 Greatest
Guitarists of All time", Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2006-07-04.
^ "French ban for
speeding Clapton", BBC, 14 October 2004. Retrieved on 2006-07-04.
^ "Profile: Cream: God
and the brawlers, a heavenly rock band", The Times Online, 1 May
2005. Retrieved on 2005-07-04.
^ "About (4305) Clapton",
Harvard University. Retrieved on 2006-07-04.
^ "Soundtracks for
Goodfellas" at IMDB. Retrieved on 2006-07-04.
^ Those Were the Days
liner notes, page 28.
^ Engrish.com. Retrieved
Ray Coleman, Clapton! The Authorised
Biography (Warner Books, 1985; originally published as "Survivor")
D. Widgery, Beating Time (Chatto & Windus,
Fred Weiler, Eric Clapton (Smithmark, 1992)
Eric Clapton: Crossroads liner notes
Marc Roberty, Eric Clapton - The Complete
Recording Sessions 1963-1992
Marc Roberty, Eric Clapton: The New Visual
Documentary (Omnibus Press, 1994)
Marc Roberty, Clapton - The Complete
Chronicle (Mitchell Beazley, 1993)
Michael Schumacher, Crossroads - The Life
and Music of Eric Clapton (Warner Books, 1998)
Robin Bextor, Eric Clapton - Now & Then
(Carlton Books, 2006)
above biography has been copied in part or in whole
from an article on
"The Free Encyclopedia." It has been modified under
the GNU Free Document License Section 5 in the
following manner: (1) All links within the article
have been removed, including text links such as
"[#]"; (2) The "[Edit]" text and link have been
removed [if you would like to update the article,
you may do so from the original page]; (3) the table
of Contents links and text have been removed; and
(4) all of the sections of the original article have
not been copied. All of the above text is available
under the terms of the
GNU Free Document License.
URL of Original Article:
Date Article Copied:
will try to replace this article with an original
biography in the near future, but we hope this will
be of help to our visitors in the mean time.