Eric Clapton

From ArticleWorld

Eric Clapton is an icon of contemporary music, and a living legend of crossover blues-rock. Eric Patrick Clapton was born in Ripley, Surrey England on March 30, 1945. He is best known for his skillful guitar work and singing.


Humble Beginnings

Clapton was the result of a brief affair between his father and mother. His father, a 24 year old Canadian pilot, returned to Canada and his family shortly before Eric was born. Clapton believed his mother, who was 16 at the time, to be his sister. He was raised by his maternal grandparents. He discovered the true nature of his family unit at age 9.

The ‘artful’ strummer

Eric Clapton, later nicknamed “slowhand,” began teaching himself to play the guitar at age 15. He was heavily influenced by the blues and R & B which, over the years, shone through in all of his musical compositions. In 1963, he joined a group called “The Yardbirds” who had success with their first hit album “For Your Love.” Clapton left the band soon after the albums release citing conflict in band direction (he wanted to retain the group’s blues roots, the rest of the band was moving quickly toward pop-oriented sound.) He then formed the group, Cream in 1968. Cream cranked out such hits as, “Sunshine of your Love,” “White Room” and “Crossroads.” This union was to be short-lived as two of its members, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, were in a constant state of bickering. Cream split up for good in 1968. Other band efforts followed with: Blind Faith with fellow member-turned-solo act, Steve Winwood (1969 – 1970) and as a side-man with Delaney and Bonnie and Friends. Clapton saw his first solo release in 1970 containing the hit songs, “Let it Rain” and “After Midnight.” Finally in late 1970, Eric Clapton formed the group Derek and the Dominoes. They produced the songs “Layla” and “Bell Bottomed Blues.”

Flying Solo

After a brief hiatus from his music career from 1972 – 1975, Clapton jumped back into making music as a solo artist in 1975. He recorded such songs as “I Shot the Sheriff,” “Wonderful Tonight” and “Cocaine.” Constant struggles with heroin and later, alcoholism, prompted the opening of a substance rehabilitation centre in Antigua called “The Crossroads Centre.” Clapton continued work in the 1980’s collaborating with the likes of Phil Collins and George Harrison. The 1990’s saw the releases of his “Unplugged” album (1994), “From the Cradle” (1994) and 1997’s “Retain Therapy.” His song “Change the World” (1997) won him a Grammy award for song of the year.

Personal Life

Clapton had become close friends with ex-Beatle, George Harrison in the late 1960’s. He fell in love with Harrison’s then-wife, Pattie Boyd-Harrison. He later married her in 1979. While married, he pursued an affair with Yvonne Khan Kelly in 1985 and conceived a daughter, Ruth. His 1986 affair with Italian model, Lori Del Santo caused the unraveling of his marriage to Pattie (they divorced in 1988). Del Santo birthed their son, Conor in 1986. 4 year old Conor was killed in a fall from the window of his parents 53rd floor apartment in New York City in 1991. Clapton wrote the song “Tears in Heaven” in response to that tragedy. In 2002, Eric Clapton married graphic designer, Melia McEmery. They have 3 young daughters.