Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton, CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire), guitarist, songwriter, singer and composer, enjoys the distinction of being the only musician in the world who has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times. Primarily grounded in the blues, Clapton’s innovative styles and ensuing success cover a number of other genres too, including blues rock (during his Yardbirds days), psychedelic rock (Cream days), adult contemporary (case in point being his multiple Grammy-winning song “Tears in Heaven”), and reggae ((Bob Marley's “I Shot the Sheriff”). Other popular Clapton songs include originals and cover versions like “Layla”, Cocaine”,Crossroads”, “Sunshine of Your Love”,Wonderful Tonight” and “Change the World”. Clapton has been ranked fourth in the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” list of Rolling Stone magazine, and enjoys the same spot on Gibson's “Top 50 Guitarists of All Time”.  

Born in Surrey, England, on March 30, 1945, Clapton received his first guitar, an acoustic Hoyer, on his 13th birthday. He almost gave up playing as he found it too difficult, but persevered due to his love for the blues.  At age 17 he joined his first band “The Roosters”, an early British R&B group. Clapton’s distinct guitar skills lit up the British music scene once he joined The Yardbirds in 1963. However he was unhappy with the Yardbirds’ leanings towards pop as it clashed with his dedication to the blues. Clapton then joined John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, but quit after a few months. In 1966 he formed the legendary band Cream, which widened Clapton’s fan base to include the U.S.

Artists and Guitars

Clapton has played with many bands and legendary artists during his career, including B.B King, John Lennon, Frank Zappa, Santana and Bob Dylan, among others. The one musician who has influenced Clapton the most is Robert Johnson. Clapton’s fans are familiar with the term “woman tone”, used by the artist to refer to the distinctive sound he created with his Gibson SG solid-body guitar. One of the finest examples of “woman tone” can be heard in the 1967 Cream hit “Sunshine of Your Love”. Like it goes with guitar legends, Clapton too has been credited with popularizing the guitars he uses to play. He played a Fender Telecaster, a double-cutaway Gretsch 6120, a Fender Jazzmaster and a 1964 Cherry-Red Gibson ES-335 during his Yardbirds days. From mid 1965 he played only a Gibson Les Paul Sunburst Standard guitar, and in 1969, he switched to the Fender Stratocaster. Fender introduced the signature Eric Clapton Stratocaster in 1988.

Where you may’ve heard Eric Clapton’s Music

Clapton’s music has been included in numerous films and TV shows.  Films featuring  the artist’s music include Mean Streets, Purple Haze, The Hit, Back to the Future, Edge of Darkness, The Color of Money, Lethal Weapon, Goodfellas, Rush, Wayne's World, True Lies, Twister, Phenomenon, Happy Gilmore, Patch Adams, City of Angels, Runaway Bride, The Story of Us, Dancing At The Blue Iguana, A Knight's Tale, Blow, School Of Rock, Starsky & Hutch, Anger Management, Fahrenheit 9/11, Bad News Bears, and Lord of War.  Prominent TV shows that have used Clapton’s songs include Friends, The Simpsons, Futurama, The Sopranos, The Good Guys, and most recently, United States of Tara. From 1987 till 1995, car manufacturers Opel and Vauxhall had used the guitar riff of “Layla” in their ad campaigns.

There is no better way of knowing the man and his music than Clapton: The Autobiography, published in 2007. In this book, the artist has shared everything about his life - his music, his personal struggles, losses and triumphs. The book is a must-have for all Clapton fans, which accounts for the fact that it has been published in 12 languages, and has topped best-seller lists all over the world.


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