Eric Clapton

Happy Birthday

Eric Patrick Clapton
March 30, 1945
Ripley, Surrey, England

Eric Clapton is the rare artist that has changed his style, looks, sound and bands continuously throughout his career. Clapton is the only artist inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame 3 times. 

Eric was born to 16-year-old Patricia Molly Clapton and a 25 year old soldier from Quebec, Edward Walter Fryer. Quite scandalous at the time, Clapton grew up believing that his grandmother, Rose, and her second husband, Jack Clapp, Patricia's stepfather, were his parents, and that his mother was actually his older sister. He later believed he was his own father. 

Young Eric received his first Guitar at age 13, but did not become serious until 15. Eric was influenced by the blues and spent many hours practicing his chords and scales. 

In October 1963, Clapton joined the Yardbirds, a blues-influenced rock and roll band, and stayed with them until March 1965.

Clapton, influenced by Buddy Guy, Freddie King & BB King, forged a distinctive style and rapidly became one of the most talked-about guitarists in the British music scene.

Yardbirds' rhythm guitarist, Chris Dreja, recalled that whenever Clapton broke a guitar string during a concert, he would stay on stage and replace it. The English audiences would wait out the delay by doing what is called a "slow handclap". Clapton's nickname of "Slowhand" came from Giorgio Gomelsky, a pun on the slow handclapping that ensued when Clapton stopped playing while he replaced a string. 

In March 1965, Clapton and the Yardbirds had their first major hit, "For Your Love". Clapton quit the next day saying the band is too commercial. Jeff Beck replaced Clapton as Clapton joined John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, only to quit 2 months later. 
Clapton's next venture was the supergroup "Cream". Cream was an impressive  blues power trio featuring Ginger Baker on Drums and Jack Bruce on Bass and Vocals. During his time with Cream, Clapton began to develop as a singer, songwriter, and guitarist, though Bruce took most of the lead vocals and wrote the majority of the material with lyricist Pete Brown.

Cream were hugely successful and influential. In just 28 months, Cream had become a commercial success, selling millions of records and playing throughout the U.S. and Europe. They redefined the instrumentalist's role in rock and were one of the first blues-rock bands to emphasise musical virtuosity and lengthy jazz-style improvisation sessions. Their US hit singles include "Sunshine of Your Love", "White Room", and "Crossroads". Though Cream was hailed as one of the greatest groups of its day, and the adulation of Clapton as a guitar legend reached new heights, the supergroup was short-lived. Drug and alcohol use escalated tension between the three members, and conflicts between Bruce and Baker eventually led to Cream's demise.

Clapton went on to form "Blind Faith" & "Derek & The Dominoes" before settling on an incredible solo career. Clapton played lead guitar on The Beatles "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", toured with Delaney & Bonnie & even considered joining "The Band".  

With a catalog that would take 10 pages to cover, Clapton has given us some incredible music. "Layla", "Bell Bottom Blues", "After Midnight", "I Shot the Sheriff", "Cocaine", "Wonderful Tonight", "Lay Down Sally", "Tears in Heaven" and countless more.

Clapton has led a troubled tumultuous life marred with tragedy and drug abuse. He is a survivor and the heartache and sadness has created some incredible music. Not to mention the fact that he is considered by many to be one of the greatest and most influential guitarists of our time. 

Happy Birthday and Thank You for the music Eric Clapton! 
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