Eric Clapton (30.3.1945)
Eric Clapton is a British blues and rock guitarist, songwriter, singer and composer.
Eric Clapton: Childhood
Eric Clapton was born in Ripley, Surrey, to Patricia Clapton and Edward Fryer. His mother was 17 and his father was a 25-year-old soldier from Montreal. Before Eric's birth, his father was sent to war and then returned to Canada.
Eric Clapton was raised by his grandmother and her husband, believing that they were his real parents and that his mother was his older sister. Patricia later married another Canadian soldier and moved to Canada, leaving Eric to live with his grandparents.
On his 13th birthday, Eric Clapton was given a Hoyer acoustic guitar.
In 1961, Eric Clapton began studying at the Kingston College of Art, but was asked to leave at the end of the year, as his passions lay with music, rather than art. He started to busk around London and at the age of 17, he joined an early British R&B band, The Roosters as well as a brief stint with Casey Jones & The Engineers.
Eric Clapton: Music Career
Eric Clapton joined The Yardbirds in 1963. The band was influenced by the likes of Bb King, Buddy Guy and Freddie King. Their popularity grew when they took over the Rolling Stones' residency at Richmond's Crawdaddy Club. Their first major hit, 'For Your Love' came in 1965, just before Clapton left the band. The song had been written by Graham Gouldman, who also wrote songs for Herman's Hermits and The Hollies. When Clapton left The Yardbirds, he was replaced by Jeff Beck (Jimmy Page had already turned down the offer).
Clapton then joined John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, drawing worldwide attention to his guitar playing on Blues Breakers.
In July 1966, Eric Clapton left the Bluesbreakers (he was replaced by Peter Green). He went on to form Cream, with Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker. Though Clapton was still highly regarded as a guitarist, the emergence of Jimi Hendrix stole a little of his limelight. During his time in Cream, Eric Clapton collaborated with George Harrison of The Beatles, playing on Harrison's 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps'.
After Cream split, Clapton formed Blind Faith with Steve Winwood (of the band Traffic), Ginger Baker and Ric Grech (of the band Family). They released just one self-titled LP and the band was relatively short-lived. Eric Clapton stepped away from the limelight for a time, playing with Delaney and Bonnie and Friends, as well as The Plastic Ono Band.
Eric Clapton released his debut solo album, entitled Eric Clapton in 1970. He then went on to form Derek and the Dominoes with Bobby Whitlock, Carl Radle and Jim Gordon. It was during this time that he penned one of his biggest hits, 'Layla'. Much of his material written at this time is said to have been inspired by his unrequited affection for George Harrison's wife, Pattie Boyd. Duane Allman of The Allman Brothers played guitar for the Layla album.
For some time in the 1970s, Eric Clapton withdrew from public performance. In 1973, Pete Townsend of The Who organised a comeback concert for him.
Eric Clapton's 1974 album 461 Ocean Boulevard featured Marcella Detroit of Shakespear's Sister and contained a cover of Bob Marley's 'I Shot the Sheriff'.
During the 1980s, Eric Clapton continued to perform and record with a number of high-profile musicians. In 1984, her performed on Roger Waters' (of Pink Floyd) solo album, The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking. He also had two albums produced by Phil Collins (formerly of Genesis), 1985's Behind the Sun and 1986's August. The latter album featured 'Tearing Us Apart' with Tina Turner.
One of Eric Clapton's best-known albums, Journeyman, was released, featuring appearances from Mick Jones, Chaka Khan and Daryl Hall.
On Eric Clapton's 1990 tour, Steve Ray Vaughan (his guitarist at the time) and two members of their road crew were killed in a helicopter crash whilst traveling between concerts.
Two years later, Eric Clapton performed at Madison Square Garden in New York for Bob Dylan's 30th Anniversary concert, along with Steve Cropper, Tom Petty and Neil Young. On his 1994 album From the Cradle, Eric Clapton played revised versions of old blues standards. At the end of the century, Clapton could be found collaborating with B.B. King and Carlos Santana.
The next millennium continued to be a prolific one for Eric Clapton as he continued to perform and collaborate with the likes of Ravi Shankar, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and Jeff Lynne (at a tribute to George Harrison) and released two albums full of covers of Robert Johnson covers. In October 2009, Eric Clapton was chosen as one of the performers at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 25th anniversary concert along with U2, Van Morrison and Jeff Beck.