Eric ClaptonEric Clapton

Eric Clapton was born on March 30, 1945, in a little town called Ripley, England. The British rock guitarist became an important singer-songwriter after a successful career as a guitar player.

Clapton was born in England to a teenage mother who worked as a nurse during World War II before returning to Canada to be with his wife before Clapton’s conception. Clapton was mostly raised by his grandmothers. His guitar playing began in his teens. After a brief stint at Kingston College of Art, Clapton became a professional guitarist. Following stints as lead guitarist with two other minor bands in the early 1960s, in 1963, he became a member of The Yardbirds. This rhythm-and-blues group was where he began to draw attention for his powerful technique and blues-influenced style. Clapton decided to part ways with the Yardbirds when they shifted their musical focus towards a more mainstream pop sound. The same year, Clapton joined John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. It was his guitar playing that quickly became the most popular part of the group.

In 1966, Clapton joined forces with bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker to create the groundbreaking band, Cream. Cream was a high-volume rock/blues group that achieved global fame for its improvisational solos. Clapton’s ability to master blues form and rhythm, his rapid runs, and vibrato are widely emulated by guitarists. It was his high energy, and emotional intensity in playing songs like “Crossroads,” and “White Room,” that set the standards for the rock guitarist solo. Cream disbanded at the end of 1968. It had released albums including Disraeli Gears in 1967, Wheels of Fire (in 1968), and Goodbye.

Clapton formed Blind Faith, a group with Baker in 1969. They were joined by keyboardist/vocalist Steve Winwood, and Rick Grech on bass. But the group split up soon after they recorded one album. He showed his vocal skills on the 1970 release of his solo album. Clapton soon assembled a group of talented session musicians including Carl Radle as bassist, Jim Gordon as drummer, and Bobby Whitlock, on the keyboards, to create a new rock band, Derek and the Dominos.

Eric Clapton served in this role along with being the singer, guitarist, and songwriter. Everyone regards Clapton’s 1970 masterpiece, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs as the apogee of his musical career. It was also a major milestone for rock music. Duane Alman played guitar with the band. Clapton’s heroin addiction and dissatisfaction with Layla led him to seclude himself for two long years. Clapton’s comeback was successful after he overcame his drug addiction. His album, 461 Ocean Boulevard (released in 1974), featured his remake of Bob Marley’s song “I Shot the Sheriff” and his resounding success.

Clapton would release some albums in the following 20 years. These included Slowhand, Backless, and August. In 1992, Eric Clapton released his acclaimed album “Unplugged,” featuring the chart-topping song “Tears in Heaven.” This deeply personal ballad, written after the tragic passing of his child, went on to win the Grammy Award for both Song and Album of the Year in 1993. Unplugged also took the award. Clapton has also explored musical influences with two Grammy-winning collaborations. Clapton’s musical journey continued with collaborative projects, including the blues masterpiece “Riding with the King” with B.B. King in 2000, and the roots-oriented “The Road to Escondido” with J.J. Cale in 2007. His 2010 self-titled album solidified his status as a rock guitar legend. Later works like “Old Sock” and “I Still Do” showcased his relaxed, mature style, while “Happy Xmas” offered a festive departure in 2018.

Eric Clapton’s creative pursuits span both writing and music. In 2007, he released his autobiography, offering fans a glimpse into his life. Ten years later, the documentary “Clapton – Life in 12 Bars” premiered, further exploring his musical journey. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame recognized Clapton’s talent, inducting him twice: once in 1992 as a member of Cream, and again in 1993 for his time with the Yardbirds. In 2000, Clapton embarked on a solo career.

Eric Clapton became a controversial figure during the COVID-19 pandemic due to his outspoken opposition to public health measures and vaccinations. His collaboration with Van Morrison on the protest song “Stand and Deliver” further cemented his anti-establishment image. Clapton’s refusal to perform at venues with vaccine mandates ignited heated debate and prompted a re-examination of his past actions. In a 1999 confession, he admitted to a shocking act of violence against his former wife, Pattie Boyd, during a period of severe drug and alcohol abuse in the 1970s. Eric Clapton blamed his drug and alcohol abuse in several interviews, as well as in his memoirs, for his racist tirade at an English concert held in Birmingham back in 1976. Eric Clapton’s history includes using racial slurs and making prejudiced statements. In a 1970s concert, he directed a xenophobic rant towards immigrants, claiming England belonged solely to white people.

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