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Artist: Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton

Bio

Eric Clapton (born Eric Patrick Clapp in Ripley, Surrey, England on 30 March 1945), nicknamed "Slowhand", is a Grammy Award winning English composer, singer and guitarist who became one of the most respected artists of the rock era, winning three inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Clapton's musical style has changed during his career, but has 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 (1963-1965), early single hit "Come With Me" by The Roosters, blues-hard rock (with Cream), and work as a sideman and a solo artist; he has achieved chart success in genres ranging from Delta blues (Unplugged) and psychedelic rock (Sunshine of Your Love) to pop (Change the World) and reggae (I Shot the Sheriff). Eric Clapton was a friend of George Harrison of the Beatles. It is believed that he wrote Layla about Harrison's wife, Pattie Boyd, whom he married in 1979 after she divorced George Harrison. They divorced in 1988. Eric Clapton has also dated singers Marianne Faithfull and Rosanne Cash, actresses Patsy Kensit and Sharon Stone, and rock muses Cynrinda Fox and Geraldine Edwards, who was one of the inspirations for Penny Lane in Almost Famous. He is now married to Melia McEnry and has been since 2002. They have three daughters together. Clapton formed relationships with different artists in his career. From his start in The Yardbirds, then journeying forward to Cream, John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, Derrek and the Dominoes, he is an extremely gifted musician. Clapton would go on to play lead guitar in Roger Waters' first solo album, The Pros and Cons of Hitchiking. All this while compiling hit after hit in his solo career, has made Clapton one of the most enduring guitarists of the classic rock era. "Tears in Heaven" was written after his son's tragic death. It was co-written with Russ Titelman and acknowledged with a Grammy in 1993. Most recently, Eric Clapton has organized a benefit concert in honor of Hubert Sumlin, the great bluesman, that took place at the Apollo Theater in New York on February 24, 2012. He was joined by Jeff Beck, Keb Mo, Levon Helm, and Derek Trucks among others. Clapton is known to sponsor an array of
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News

The Breeze: An Appreciation of J.J. Cale by Eric Clapton - ArtistDirect

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07/29/2014
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The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale by Eric Clapton - ArtistDirect

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07/29/2014
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Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013 by Eric Clapton - ArtistDirect

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11/19/2013
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Old Sock by Eric Clapton - ArtistDirect

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03/12/2013
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Articles

Eric Clapton: 24 Nights Rock and Roll Disc, Jan 1992

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CORRECTION. Eric Clapton was God.

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It beggars belief that the tired, limp-dicked, becluttered music we hear on 24 Nights is from the same artist whose very name once was the blues. In that magic time of the mid-60's, when great guitar players seemed to be turning up on every street corner, Britain's two other great bluesmen, Peter Green and Mick Taylor, worshipped the ground Eric Clapton riffed on. During his stints with the Yardbirds, John Mayall, Cream, Blind Faith, and Derek and the Dominos, Clapton burned a hole right through even the tritest material making junk like Cream's 'Anyone for Tennis?' required listening. His playing was at its zenith during the Layla period until both heroin and alcohol addictions robbed him of whatever fire was left.

It was Miles Davis who once said what I consider the wisest truth about making meaningful music: "The secret," he said, "is finding the melody within the melody." In all of Eric Clapton's great music he is endlessly redefining the melody. Take the seminal 'Crossroads': Every lead run is like a song-within-a-song. It is beautifully melodic, muscular, and each note tells - there is no superfluous riffing, no antics for show. The lead breaks are so airtight and full of authority that they scarcely sound improvised. To the contrary, every fretted note of 'Crossroads' sounds rehearsed to perfection.

But, alas, what do we get on 24 Nights, the highly anticipated culmination of his 1990 and '91 tours at London's Albert Hall? Try as he might, there's not a glimmer left in old warhorses like 'Badge' (which, here, has an unbelievably lame vocal), 'White Room' and 'Bell Bottom Blues'. In fact he often requires help on vocals from his sidemen, who oblige by stepping in during the requisite hard parts. Eric Clapton has become the Perry Como of the rock world, with glassy-eyed, tepid pop ditties like 'Pretending' and 'Bad Love' anchoring his sets between aimless blues noodling. Anyone who can remain awake during the endless droning of Disc Two (the pop disc) should get an automatic license to operate heavy machinery.

Even when Clapton seems to suggest he is actually trying, his guitar is so weenie sounding that you wonder if he remembers how a god is supposed to sound.

24 Nights confirms what I've felt for about two decades about Ole Slowhand: That he has permanently traded in his blue suede shoes for a pair of brown Hush Puppies.

Danish Blues Power: Eric Clapton Melody Maker, Jun 1974

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"WE WANT Buddy Holly!... I AM Buddy Holly!"

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Blowing defiance on a honking duck-call, the figure wearing a misshapen trilby hat, lens-less glasses, and oversized dungarees, crashed full-length down the aisle of a Danish sex club, and lay semi-conscious before a disbelieving erotic dancer, her nakedness no match for this alternative spectacle.

Eric Clapton, once voted England’s Best Dressed man, was celebrating his return to active service. Of all the many roles Eric has played over the years, this was undoubtedly the most bizarre.

Gone was the white suit of yesteryear, and the supercool image. In its place, a lurching raver, dressed like a scarecrow.

And yet it symbolized Eric’s apparent determination to break out of the self-imposed hibernation of the last few years.

Since Derek and the Dominos folded-up, Clapton has withdrawn from the world – as all the world knows. But now he is back – and although a little nervous and shy, particularly of the mounting backlog of unanswered questions – he is out to enjoy himself, and prove that the Clapton guitar magic is still there.

A sympathetic bunch of musicians have been assembled for his return match with the rock machine, which kicked off in Stockholm last week, and went on to Copenhagen, where the MM caught up.

The band is still unnamed but includes ex-Domino Carl Radle on bass, Jamie Oldaker (drums), Dick Sims (keyboards), George Terry (guitar), Yvonne Elliman (vocals) and Eric on guitar and vocals.

A surprise addition to the team was Legs Larry Smith, fresh from his triumphs with Elton John and now busy compere-ing and miming to a miniature guitar, with miles of taped applause on hand in case the natives get restless.

And the show so far? It was fun, overlong, occasionally sloppy but promising. By the time they get into their 26 week American tour, they should be either completely exhausted from excessive raving, or the tightest, hottest band on the circuit.

And Eric? Well, it was worth the trip to Copenhagen just to hear him dig into the blues again on 'Have you Ever Loved A Woman?'

On arrival in Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen, it was revealed that the previous night’s debut concert at the Tivoli Gardens, Stockholm, had been something of a riot.

"There were 15,00 people there and the band just kept on playing over time. The promoter complained that he had lost a thousand pounds in takings at the funfair."

Helen Walters, charming press lady, and wife of BBC producer John, chortled at the memory, and revealed that attempts were made to pull out the plugs and silence the musicians. Robert Stigwood himself kept the promoter out of harm’s way by engaging him in time-consuming conversation.

But there was some cause for worry amidst the general banter and chatter. "The van with all the equipment crashed on its way from Stockholm," revealed Eric, straightening the orchid implanted in his tattered buttonhole. "That’s why we’re sitting around here. We should be having a sound-check down at the hall. Hey, Richard, is that equipment at the hall yet?"

We had all been afore-warned. No interviews. But it seemed not unreasonable to ask a few questions.

What of the forthcoming album? "It’s called 461 Ocean Boulevard, which is the address of the record studio in Miami. Wait ‘till you hear it. You’ll love it. It’s really great. We’re bringing out a single too, it’s ‘I Shot The Sheriff’ by the Wailers..."

Our conversation was interrupted, as it was destined to be on innumerable occasions, and then 'twas time for the gig, at the large, hot and airless K. B. Hall, more suitable for basket ball or mass Turkish baths than music, but packed with youths in the intercontinental uniform of blue denim, and as one might expect in liberated Denmark, smoking dope freely, without fear of fine or imprisonment.

Legs Larry Smith – dubbed for the occasion, Legs Christian Anderson – induced the assembled Scandinavians to roar with mirth, as they were to later roar for more. First on, however, were Moirana, a competent local band who have been to England, and sported a fine lead guitarist, Nils Heuriksen.

Then Eric had arrived at the side of the theatre, looking, as somebody said "Like Hiram Holliday," while on stage, Legs Christian flounced out to an ovation. It was difficult to tell how much was coming from the pre-recorded audience or the real one slumped in serried rows around the hall.

But Larry earned his crust, waving, blowing kisses, bowing, and clutching a ridiculous guitar the size of George Formby’s ukelete. It was the final outrage when the tapes switched to the sonorous clangs of Pete Townshend’s 'Pinball Wizard', and Larry cavorted like the phantom guitar smasher from Shepherd’s Bush.

"And now from l'il old England, just across the sea, it’s my privilege to introduce you to the one and only – Eric Clapton!"

And now a roar of real applause wafted up through the smoke laden air, and then faltered. For who was this baffling figure, disguised like Sherlock Holmes attempting to obtain information among the down and outs?

But as Eric took off his hat, even the baggy dungarees that billowed around his haunches, failed to completely disguise the man who had come thus far, all the way from Yardbirds, John Mayall, and all-stations to Cream, Blind Faith and the Dominos. 'Tell The Truth' was aptly-titled tune, and Clapton the musician shone through his subterfuge.

It was slow, this first number, as were the bulk of the evening’s tempos. There was a lot of basic riffing, a plethora of unyielding backbeats, and the kind of loose jamming sound that dominated the rock bands of the early '70s.

Arrangements consisted of beginnings, endings, and a few changes en route. Sometimes Eric came in on the wrong key vocally, and there was occasional uncertainty about how to handle a time change or coda.

But this wasn’t intended as slick glam-rock, or superstar jive. It was funky, fun and in the most part, satisfying. And most important, it was a musical vehicle for a guitarist who can still raise goose pimples and send a shiver through the bones.

A lot of the time, Eric was content to chord, while George Terry offered some excellent slide guitar work. The sound was spoilt on occasions by some unstoppable feedback, and from my position, stage right, it was somewhat muddy.

'Layla' was welcome, but ragged, followed by the best song so far, 'Please Remember', a fine ballad with the drums laying out giving us a chance to recall how well Eric can sing when he has the urge.

The first shiver down the spine came when Eric played a stop-time intro to 'Blues Power', and his guitar stood out at last from the churning ensembles. 'Loved A Woman' followed, with churchy organ backing from Dick Sims that brought to mind the originals Billy Preston recordings. Here Clapton excelled, turning the legend into reality. I could have listened to that all night.

But onwards, to a sprightly 'Badge', with Legs Christian dashing on to offer some dubious second lead guitar, biting the strings with his teeth. 'Willie And The Hand Jive' was a bit of a bore, throbbing along to a Bo Diddley beat for about ten minutes, and 'I Can’t Find My Way Home' was a trifle laborious and failed to earn much applause.

Hastily the band snapped into a fast boogie blues, which turned out to be 'Little Queenie', with Eric offering a few arm-swoops a la Townshend, and climaxing on the time-honoured cry of "Good evening, friends."

Around 11.25, after two hours plus of continuous blowing, the band quit the stage, to be ordered back for an encore on a slow raunchy 'Crossroads' and a final jam. Neither was particularly inspired, but the audience were happy and so were the musicians. For this was an event to be entered into the scrapbooks, the night Eric the Ready came back.

After the show, the band hastened back to the hotel for a party and a banquet. Local record executives offered hearty congratulations, one going so far as to tell Robert Stigwood, "Tonight I heard the greatest music I haff heard in my entire life."

Eric could match that. As he sat with Yvonne Elliman at a corner table he announced: "Eric Clapton is the greatest thing – in the entire world!" and proceeded to order, and down, two tumblers of Bacardi and orange (I think).

"We’ve not had much time to rehearse you know," said Eric. "So nobody knows what we are going to play next. We just fall into each number, depending how we feel. What did you think of the drummer: He’s great isn’t he? And Jamie’s only 22. He was recommended to me by Carl, who got the guys together in America."

"We’ve recorded quite a few new things for the album, but tonight we did mainly the old favourites because they come out best and it’s what people want to hear. But we did change the show from last night."

Will he play England? "Oh yes, after the American tour, but we haven’t arranged anything yet."

At this point Eric stood up, pointed an accusing finger at the party and croaked: "I’m all under arrest!" Confusing, but we persevered. Eric returned to his seat.

"Have you heard Georgie Fame’s new LP? It’s called Survival – really good. You know..." Interruption. Announcements.

The banquet was canceled and instead we were all to proceed at once to the Eden Club, an establishment some forty minutes drive away. Packets of sandwiches were procured and a fleet of taxis summoned. The entire party was spirited out of town and an hour later found themselves seated in a luxurious theatre adjacent to a restaurant.

Amidst much laughter, hooting and catcalls, the girls hired for our entertainment gave a private show that reminded me of Shakespearian hams up against the cowboys in the Wild West.

"Please, listen, if you do not want to watch the show, then we shall leave," said one nubile nude, uncertain how to cope with "these hooligans". The reply was short and sharp: "Go ‘ome then you old --!"

While classical music and soap bubbled filtered from the roof, Eric set up a barrage of duck-calls, usually delivered at the most dramatic moment of erotic play. "Shudda your mouth!" stormed the artiste; "you don’t know how to enjoy yourselves! And take your hand away from there. That is not allowed here."

"Listen, love," said an outraged Legs Larry Smith, seated in the front row, "after the drive out to this place, my hand is frozen stiff!" A roar of applause greeted this, and shortly after Eric made his Buddy Holly declaration.

"Eric, I think you should get some rest," said a concerned Robert Stigwood. "Rest?" roared Eric. "I’m too tired to rest!"

Top Albums

The Cream of Clapton cover art

The Cream of Clapton

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Unplugged cover art

Unplugged

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Tears in Heaven cover art

Tears in Heaven

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Top Songs

Tears in Heaven cover art

Tears in Heaven

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Layla cover art

Layla

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Cocaine cover art

Cocaine

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Wonderful Tonight cover art

Wonderful Tonight

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I Shot The Sheriff cover art

I Shot The Sheriff

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Change The World cover art

Change The World

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Lay Down Sally cover art

Lay Down Sally

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