Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton

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English Rock God (his nickname) Eric Clapton, who is perhaps best known for his moving “Wonderful Tonight” and “Layla” songs, has been ranked the second greatest guitarist of all time by Rolling Stone in 2015. 

An 18-time Grammy Award winner and the only triple inductee of the Rock and Roll of Fame (as a member of The Yardbirds, a member of Cream and as a solo artist), he has continued to record music and tour through his 60s, while also performing charity work. 

He has received a Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music, and in 2004 was awarded a CBE at Buckingham Palace for services to music. He has also achieved four Ivor Novello Awards from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors, including the Lifetime Achievement Award. In his solo career, Clapton has sold more than 130 million records worldwide.

Eric Clapton grew up with music around him. His grandmother, and absent father, (who had played in several dance bands before he went back to his Canadian wife) were skilled pianists, and his mother and uncle both enjoyed big-band music. By age 16, whilst at the Kingston College of Art, Clapton really took to the instrument to such an extent, that he was thrown out of school for not doing any work because of it (and then there was the drinking!) He went on to join several bands but left. But by then he had already become one of the most respected guitarists on the West End pub circuit, and in 1963 Clapton became a prominent member of The Yardbirds. With them Clapton recorded his first commercial hits, "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" and "For Your Love," but he grew frustrated with the band's commercial pop sound and left in 1965. The two young guitarists who replaced Clapton in The Yardbirds, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck, would also go on to rank among the greatest rock guitarists in history. 

Later, he joined the blues band John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers recording an album called The Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton, which established his reputation as one of the great guitarists of the age. The album, with songs such as "What'd I Say" and "Ramblin' on My Mind," is widely considered among the greatest blues albums of all time. Clapton's miraculous guitar-playing on the album also inspired his most flattering nickname, "God," popularized by a bit of graffiti on the wall of a London Tube station reading "Clapton is God."

Despite the record's success, Clapton soon left the Bluesbreakers as well; and teamed up to make a rock trio, Cream. Performing original takes on blues classics as well as modern blues tracks, Cream achieved international superstar status. Yet they, too, broke up citing clashing egos as the cause.

Then, in 1970, he formed Derek and the Dominos, and went on to compose and record one of the seminal albums of rock history, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. 

Having finally kicked his drug habit in 1974, he re-emerged with concerts at London's Rainbow Theatre organised by Pete Townshend of The Who. Later that year he reappeared with a new style and sound with 461 Ocean Boulevard, featuring one his most popular singles, a cover of Bob Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff." 

Eric had become an assured vocalist and composer in addition to a guitar hero. The album did very well, launching a brilliant solo career during which he produced successful album after album. Highlights include No Reason to Cry (1976), featuring "Hello Old Friend"; Slowhand (1977), featuring "Cocaine" and "Wonderful Tonight"; and Behind the Sun (1985), featuring "She's Waiting" and "Forever Man."

With each album after 461 Ocean Boulevard, Eric reinvented himself musically. Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, albums and tours would follow year in and year out. In 1985, Clapton found a new audience following his performance at the worldwide charity concert, Live Aid. Annual stands at the Royal Albert Hall and successful albums like August, Journeyman and the Crossroads box set kept him well in the public mind. In the late 80s, he carved out a second career as the composer of film scores. His career went from strength to strength and reached new heights in 1992 with the release of Unplugged and the Grammy winning single, “Tears In Heaven.”

In 2005, Eric, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce revisited the past when they re-formed Cream for four reunion concerts in May at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Their farewell shows had taken place at the venue 37 years earlier in November 1968. In October, Cream performed three further concerts at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The London shows were released on CD and DVD, and later Blu-Ray and digital formats.

Eric’s next studio project was to be produced by one of the architects of the “Tulsa Sound,” J.J. Cale. Eric had long admired Cale’s work, having recorded versions of “After Midnight,” “Cocaine,” and “Travelin’ Light.” The album soon turned into a collaborative effort. The Road To Escondido was released to critical acclaim in November 2007. The following February, it won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album (Vocal or Instrumental) at the 50th Annual Awards Ceremony in Los Angeles.

In September 2009, Eric released his 19th studio album, Clapton. "Run Back To Your Side", one of the album tracks, received a Grammy nomination for Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance. The following years have seen the release of solo albums Old Sock (2013), I Still Do (2016) and Happy Xmas (2018), a live recorded collaboration with jazz great Wynton Marsalis and as “Eric Clapton and Friends,” an album of songs honoring J.J. Cale’s legacy.

Then, there are the more than 200 recording sessions and live guest appearances for artists ranging from Aretha to Zucchero. Eric’s first recorded guest session was for Otis Spann in May 1964. Undoubtedly, his most well-known is when he added guitar to George Harrison’s composition, "While My Guitar Gently Weeps” in September 1968. Most recently, he contributed to “The Watcher,” a track on Hawkwind’s Road To Utopia (2018). Eric can be heard on records by Gary Brooker, Bob Dylan, Bob Geldof, Elton John, Carole King, Plastic Ono Band (John Lennon and Yoko Ono), Stephen Stills, Sting, Roger Waters and many more. He’s been a surprise on-stage guest for B.B. King, The Rolling Stones, Jimmie Vaughan, Prince, Tina Turner, Carlos Santana, Sheryl Crow, Willie Nelson, Luciano Pavarotti and the Allman Brothers Band just to name a few.

With more than 50 years of touring under his belt, Eric has played in excess of 3,000 concerts. He has given concerts in 58 countries across six continents and played to over 2 billion people. Since 1964, he has appeared at London’s Royal Albert Hall more than 200 times. Between 1987 and 1996, he held annual residencies at the venue which reached their peak in 1991 with 24 nights that featured five different band formats including a full orchestra. Across the Atlantic, he has graced the stage of Madison Square Garden more than 50 times since 1968.

Eric’s 2018 itinerary has concerts in Germany, London’s Hyde Park before a crowd of 65,000 and a return trip to Madison Square Garden in October.

Xmas 2018 - Eric Clapton released his first Christmas album 'Happy Xmas'.

Songs include:

  • Layla
  • I Shot the Sheriff
  • Behind The Mask
  • Bad Love
  • Tears in Heaven
  • Love Can Build A Bridge
  • Change The World
  • Wonderful Tonight

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