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Eric Clapton Brief Biography
Britain's most revered electric guitarist, Eric Clapton, was born on March 30th, 1945, in Surrey.
Eric was a guitarist who didn't seem to be a genius early on in his career, but this was probably down to an early lack of confidence and insecurity, with his complicated childhood - being brought up by his grandparents, and not his unmarried mother.
He blossomed with The Yardbirds, though he got disenchanted with their commercial sound, and joined Blues daddy John Mayall and his Bluesbreakers, and, when he became the guitarist in the first successful supergroup, Cream, in 1966, he was almost deified by devotees.
Cream remain one of the most respected of all rock groups, and few have managed to produce such a legacy after just a couple of years together. Though categorised as a rock group, Cream were a mixture of pure blues, rhythm and blues, rock, and jazz, and were trendsetters in music, and had a musical integrity which remains rare.
After Cream's demise, Clapton joined forces with ex-Cream drummer Ginger Baker, and ex-Spencer Davis Group/Traffic prodigy, Stevie Winwood, to form Blind Faith in the first few months of 1969. Blind Faith were another short-lived, but successful, supergroup, which lasted only around a year.
Eric then guested with Delaney and Bonnie, and formed Derek & The Dominoes, recruited Duane Allman, and the epic 'Layla' was the best work to come out of this period. Written about his close friend George Harrison's wife, Patti Boyd, and Clapton's love for her, this difficult situation was probably more than a partial reason for Clapton's descent into heroin addiction. Helped by The Who's Pete Townshend to overcome his addiction (Clapton also appeared in the movie of Townshend's concept album, 'Tommy'), Eric started to return to form with his version of reggae legend Bob Marley's 'I Shot The Sheriff' - his first U.S. number one in 1974.
Clapton's career continued to be blighted by addiction, and this time alcohol took its toll on him, but, by the time he had overcome this, his 1985 Live Aid performance, and a much-acclaimed retrospective album, were to open his music up to a whole new audience.
The early '90s were probably the blackest moments of Eric's life, as first three of his best friends - guitar ace Stevie Ray Vaughan, and two of Clapton's entourage on the road, Nigel Browne and Colin Smythe - were killed in a helicopter crash in 1990. Worst was to follow in 1991, when Eric's son Conor fell to his death in Manhattan, inducing the seeringly haunting song, 'Tears In Heaven', which won a Grammy in 1992. He also won a Grammy that year for his 'Unplugged' album.
In 1997 Eric won two more Grammys - Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and Record of the Year, with 'Change the World'. 2002 saw him organise a moving and memorable concert in memory of George Harrison at the Royal Albert Hall. On reaching 60 in 2005, Eric said: "60 feels the same as 50, but 70 may be different...".
- Paul Rance/booksmusicfilmstv.com.
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