As I was searching for an acoustic guitarist to spotlight, I saw so many people praise so many acoustic guitarists with something like “Eric Clapton was highly influenced by this guitarist” or “even Eric Clapton said such and such about this guitarist”.
But none of the lists of the top acoustic guitarists seemed to include Eric Clapton – which was interesting. So I thought he would be a great option for the acoustic guitarist spotlight.
O.k. so you might think of him as more of an electric guitarist, and you’re probably right – but he has a great body of acoustic work and is one of the better acoustic blues guitarists (modern) going around – IMHO.
The Story Behind the Guitarist (briefly)
Clapton was raised by his Grandparents in England – however, he was under the impression they were his parents. His mother was only 16 at the time Eric was born and the father was not on the scene.
It wasn’t until he was 9 years old that he learned that his parents were actually his grandparents – and learned that who he thought was his older sister was actually his mother.
This was, I can only imagine, a huge shock – perhaps the start of his journey with music, and with a tumultuous early personal life.
In his early teens he started playing guitar and in his mid to late teens started to identify with the blues.
Clapton’s first band was called the Roosters, which he joined in 1963 as a 17 year old. That was short lived – as was his even briefer stint with pop group Casey Jones and the Engineers.
He was recruited by the Yardbirds later in 1963 – still only 18 years old. His stint with the Yardbirds lasted longer but after 18 months or so, Clapton didn’t like the direction the band was going in so he left. He wanted to focus on the Blues.
Clapton was also a part of the band John Mayall’s Blues Breakers before starting the very successful Cream in 1966.
Even through all the success and acclaim – and at times anonymity – Clapton wouldn’t really find his calling until he went solo in 1970 – in my opinion. That’s when he really made himself an iconic guitarist and songwriter.
Whilst some artists leave a band go solo – and you wish they never had! Clapton on the other hand – whilst his work with bands was obviously quality – made even better music when recording and performing as a solo artist.
Amid all of his musical achievements and adventures, Eric also had a very tumultuous personal life and struggled with drugs and alcohol. But he kicked all of that in 1987 and has remained sober since.
Learn more about Clapton at the link below.
As has been mentioned above, Clapton has been involved in a number of bands, including the Yardbirds & Cream.
Clapton is the only triple hall-of-famer in the rock n roll hall of fame (as a solo-artist, as a member of Cream and as a member of The Yard Birds) and has 17 grammys!
Clapton’s body of work is huge and is too much to cover in huge detail here – but in brief he has:
- 23 Studio Albums
- 17 Compilation Albums
- 12 live albums; and
- 6 soundtrack albums
And this is all as a solo artist.
He also released albums with various bands – The Yardbirds, Cream, John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, Blind Faith, Derek and the Dominos to name a few.
Not to mention his many collaborations with various artists.
My favorite album from Clapton has to be his live unplugged album released in 1992. This made it to number 1 in the US and number 2 in the UK charts.
Several of his albums have reached the top 10 in the charts with his second solo album 461 Ocean Boulevard (1974) reaching number 1 in the US and 1994’s From the Cradle reaching number 1 in the US and the UK.
He’s still recording and touring to this day (aged 71 at time of writing) and released the album I Still Do this year (2016).
His solo studio albums are as follows:
- Eric Clapton (1970)
- 41 Ocean Boulevard (1974)
- There’s One in Every Crowd (1975)
- No Reason to Cry (1976)
- Slowhand (1977)
- Backless (1978)
- Another Ticket (1981)
- Money and Cigarettes (1983)
- Behind the Sun (1985)
- August (1986)
- Journeyman (1989)
- From the Cradle (1994)
- Pilgrim (1998)
- Reptile (2001)
- Me and Mr Johnson (2004)
- Sessions for Robert J (2004)
- Back Home (2005)
- Clapton (2010)
- Old Sock (2013)
- I Still Do (2016)
Thanks for Reading
There’s a lot more that could be said about Eric Clapton and his music. His career has been long and full of productive output consistently for the last 50 years.
What’s your favorite Clapton Album? Song? Anything that you think that should be included here that I’ve missed? Any comments are very welcome in the comments section below.