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