Eric Clapton is arguably the greatest living guitarist. Born in 1945, he was abandoned by his mother at an early age, and was subsequently raised by his grandparents. He started to play the guitar at age 15, and in a few years was jamming with such personages as future Rolling Stones members and Jimmy Page.

He played with The Yardbirds for about a year and half from late 1963, then with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. He was getting seriously noticed at this point, and the slogan "Clapton is God" started to appear.

In mid-1966, Clapton, Ginger Baker, and Jack Bruce formed Cream, and had various hits, such as Badge, Crossroads and White Room. Clapton however was not comfortable with the fame he had acquired, and would often play facing away from the crowd. During his time with Cream, he managed to find time to contribute some lead guitar to George Harrison's While My Guitar Gently Weeps, and appear in Frank Zappa's We're Only In It For The Money.

When Cream broke, Clapton played in various places with various people, such as Steve Winwood, Stephen Stills and Dr John. He also started to become addicted to heroin and alcohol. During this time, he released a self titled album containing the hit After Midnight, written by J. J. Cale. He then formed Derek and the Dominoes, with him seeking anonymity in the role of Derek, as he was still uncomfortable being a frontman. He didn't fool anyone, though.

It was Derek and the Dominoes who released the album Layla, which contained a song by the same name which is probably his most famous. The song was about his longings for Pattie Boyd Harrison, wife of George. He did however "get the girl" eventually, in 1979, although they divorced 10 years later. IIRC, Wonderful Tonight is also about Pattie.

Derek and the Dominoes fell apart, and Clapton decided to go properly solo, releasing 461 Ocean Boulevard in 1974, which deservedly reached Number 1. By this time, he had overcome his heroin addiction. For the rest of the 70s, he produced various hit records, two of which (Slowhand and Backless) went platinum.

In the early 80s, he appeared at various benefit concerts, and produced yet more hit singles. In 1985, he left Pattie and went into rehab for alcoholism. A year later, an Italian actress, Lori Del Santo, gave birth to his only son, Conor, who died in 1991 from falling 50 floors out of a window in his mothers apartment in Manhattan. The song Tears in Heaven (#2, 1993) was written by Clapton for him.

Other 90s hits included a reworking of Layla (1993), and My Father's Eyes. He and the rest of Cream reformed to perform three songs at the bands induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. His 1994 album From the Cradle won a grammy and went double platinum, becoming the best selling traditional blues album in history. In 1995, Clapton was honoured with an M.B.E.

Born Eric Clapp, March 30, 1945, Ripley, England

1970 -- Eric Clapton (Atco)
1972 -- History of Eric Clapton; Eric Clapton at His Best (Polydor)
1973 -- Eric Clapton’s Rainbow Concert (RSO)
1974 -- 461 Ocean Boulevard
1975 -- There’s One in Every Crowd; E. C. Was Here; The Best of E. C. (Polydor)
1976 -- No Reason to Cry (RSO)
1977 -- Slowhand
1978 -- Backless
1980 -- Just One Night
1981 -- Another Ticket
1982 -- Time Pieces I (RSO)
1983 -- Money and Cigarettes (Duck/Warner Bros.); Time Pieces II
1985 -- Behind the Sun
1986 -- August 1988 -- Crossroads (Polydor)
1989 -- Homeboy soundtrack (Virgin); Journeyman (Duck/Warner Bros.)
1991 -- 24 Nights
1992 -- Rush soundtrack (Reprise); Unplugged (Duck/Warner Bros.)
1994 -- From the Cradle (Reprise)
1995 -- The Cream of Clapton (Polydor)
1997 -- Live in Montreux (ITM)
1998 -- Pilgrim (Reprise)
2000 -- Riding with the King (Reprise)
2001 -- Reptile (Reprise)
2002 -- Eric Clapton Live (Polydor)
2002 -- One More Car, One More Rider (Warner Brothers)
2004 -- Me and Mr. Johnson (Warner Brothers)
2004 -- She's So Respectable (Rajon)

With Derek and the Dominos:
1970 -- Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (Atco)
1973 -- Derek and the Dominos in Concert (RSO)
1990 -- The Layla Sessions -- 2Oth Anniversary Edition (Polydor)
1994 -- Live at the Fillmore

Eric Clapton has had one of the longest and most prolific careers in Rock & Roll. He has been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame three times - with The Yardbirds, Cream, and for his solo work - more than any other person. In addition to The Yardbirds and Cream, he has also been a member of the supergroups Blind Faith and Derek and the Dominos as well as the lesser known Bluesbreakers. Here are his combined works:
Eric Patrick Clapton was born on 30 March 1945 in his grandparents' home in Surrey, England.

His mother, Patricia Molly Clapton, was just 16 at the time of his birth, and his father was a 24-year old (married) Canadian soldier named Edward Fryer. He was raised thinking that his mother was his sister and that his grandparents were his parents, until he found out as a teenager. It caused many identity problems with him, and also made him very moody and considered a loner. When he was 13, he received his first guitar, a Spanish Hoya. He found it difficult and didn't pick up guitar again until college.

In 1963, Clapton joined the Roosters, his short-lived first band. In late 1963, Keith Relf and Paul Samwell-Smith asked him to be a part of The Yardbirds after hearing him on the local Blues scene.

Around this time, he was given the nickname "Slowhand", because whenever he would break a string on stage, he would change it to the accompaniment of a "slow hand clap" from the audience.

In 1966, he joined Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce to form Cream. They broke up in 1968 and then Clapton formed Blind Faith with Steve Winwood, Ginger Baker, and Rick Grech. They cut one album and had a horrible tour, and disbanded soon after.

Clapton played the solo in The Beatles' "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" that same year, falling in love with George Harrison's wife, Patti Boyd...

Soon after the break-up of Blind Faith, he started to tour as a sideman with Delaney & Bonnie. A live album from that tour was released in 1970. Clapton's self-titled debut was also released in that year.

In 1970, Clapton joined George Harrison again, playing on Harrison's All Things Must Pass album. Delaney and Bonnie also played on that album, as did Carl Radle, Jim Gordon, and Bobby Whitlock, which quickly became Derek and the Dominos. The Dominos recorded Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. The whole album focused on Clapton's love for Patti Boyd. Despite what people say today about the album, it was a commercial failure, and the Dominos fell apart trying to make their second album.

The following year, he played with George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Ravi Shankar, Billy Preston, Leon Russell, Don Preston, Ringo Starr, and Jim Horn for The Concert for Bangla Desh. At this time, he was going through the beginning of his long battle with heroin addiction. He was also dating Alice Ormsby-Gore, pretty much just to forget Patti.

In 1974, he kicked his heroin habit and released 461 Ocean Boulevard. However, he soon became on alcoholic.

After he broke up with Gore, he started seeing Patti behind George's back. Eventually, they decided something had to be done, and Eric told George he was in love with his wife (reportedly, Pattie was listening nearby) and George simply said "Well, I guess that means I have to divorce her." Harrison and Boyd did just that in 1977, and in 1979, Clapton married Boyd. At the wedding, Harrison, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr served as the band.

From then on until 1987, Clapton struggled with his alcohol problem, and eventually, that and Pattie's inability to conceive broke up their marriage (not to mention his romps with other women). One of these produced his daughter, Ruth Kelly Clapton, now 17.

Sadly, on 20 March 1991, his son four-year-old son, Conor, fell to his death from his mother's Manhattan high-rise apartment. He was heartbroken, and went on to write "Tears in Heaven" for his son.

On January 1, 2002 Clapton married Melia McEnery, his 25 year old girlfriend of several years. The couple have a daughter, Julie Rose Clapton, born in 2001.

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