Rockins Heroes: Happy Birthday Eric Clapton…
Today is Eric ‘Slowhand’ Clapton’s Birthday! Read our tribute to him here!
His career has spanned over 40 years and he is the recipient of numerous musical awards and honours, inclusive of being the only individual to be thrice inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as well as winning over 18 Grammies. Today we celebrate his birthday!
Eric Clapton was raised in a musical household; his grandmother was a keen pianist and both his mother and uncle enjoyed listening to records. Clapton’s father was also an accomplished piano player, playing with several bands in the local area.
By the time he was 13 rock and roll had taken the music scene by storm and for his birthday he requested a guitar. He was given a Hoyer model with steel strings which he struggled with as they were painful to play. This resulted in putting the guitar aside for some time. However when started art college at 16 and found himself surrounded by other music lovers and he took up the instrument once again. It was during his time a college that Clapton discovered blues music and developed his playing style, influenced by the likes of Robert Johnson, Muddy Walters and Alexis Korner. It was Korner who inspired Clapton to take up the electric guitar.
Clapton left school in 1963 and began attempting to make it in the music industry, spending most of his time in London’s West End. Around this time, he joined his first band The Roosters but this was short lived. He then went on to join Casey Jones and The Engineers which proved to be too ‘pop’ orientated and Clapton left after a few weeks…
By this time, Eric had earned a name for himself as a respected guitarist on the West End circuit which lead to his invitation to join a group called the Yardbirds. With this band, Clapton went on to have his fist commercial success, and his subsequent replacements in the group; guitarists Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck similarly went on to rank as some of the best acclaimed rock guitarists in music history.
Following this, Clapton joined blues band John Mayall & the Bluesbrakers, leading to the recording of an album titled The Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton which secured his reputation as one of the best guitarists at the time. His “miraculous” playing lead to the phrase ‘Clapton is God’ on the wall of the London Underground which thus lead to the nickname “God”. The album is arguably one of the best blues albums of all time and includes the tracks ‘What’d I say‘ and ‘Ramblin’ on My Mind‘.
In spite of his success with the band, Eric left to join up with bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker to form Cream. The band performed original, contemporary covers of old blues classics, and with the group Clapton came into his own; experimenting and broadening the horizons of blues guitar. The band released three albums to great critical acclaim achieving them international rockstar status.
Members of rock band Cream, their sound was characterised by a melange of blues and psychedelia. Cream combined Clapton’s blues guitar playing with the airy voice of Jack Bruce and the manic drumming of Ginger Baker. Photo by LFI/ABACAPRESS.COM