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Eric Clapton Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (3) | Trivia (69) | Personal Quotes (14)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 30 March 1945Ripley, Surrey, England, UK
Birth NameEric Patrick Clapton
Nicknames Slow Hand
God
Height 5' 9¾" (1.77 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Eric Clapton was born in Ripley, Surrey, England, on March 30, 1945. His real father was a Canadian pilot but he didn't find that out until he was 53. When he was 2 his mother felt she was unable to look after him, so Eric then went to live with his grandparents. When he was 14 he took up the guitar, having been influenced by blues artists such as B.B King, Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker. In 1963, after he was chucked out of art college, he joined Paul Samwell-Smith, as he was in art school with Keith Relf. He stayed for about 18 months before beginning a stint with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. Eric became known as "god", as he impressed the whole English music scene with his amazing guitar playing. After about a year Eric had had enough of impersonating his blues idols and decided to form a group of his own, so in 1966 he formed a band with bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker (who had the idea) that became known as Cream. This band was not a purist blues group but a hard-driving rock and blues trio. They first performed together at a jazz and blues festival in Surrey before signing a record contract. In November 1966 their debut single, "Wrapping Paper", hit UK #34, but their next single, "I Feel Free", made more of an impression, hitting UK #11 the following January. At the same time they released their debut album "Fresh Cream", which was a top-ten hit, going to UK #6 and went on to make US #39 later in the year. Cream spent most of 1967 either touring or writing, recording and producing "Disreali Gears", which was to be one of their finest efforts. The first single that confirmed the group as a mainstream success was "Strange Brew", which went to #17 in the UK. After a hectic worldwide tour, their second album "Disreali Gears" was released and became an enormous worldwide hit, rising to UK #5 and US #4. The album's success r4esulted in one of its tracks, "Sunshine Of Your Love", a hit in the US, going to #36. In February 1968 Cream set out on a six-month US tour, the longest time that a British band ad ever been in America. The tour took in hundreds of theaters, arenas and stadiums, but in April 1968 the band was exhausted and decided to take a short break from touring. However, during their break disaster struck. While Cream was in America Eric had given an interview to the magazine "Rolling Stone" which had Eric the editor make critical points about his guitar playing. This led to an eruption within the band, which was the beginning of the end. Despite this setback, the band's US tour carried on until June, during which they had been recording their most popular project, "Wheels Of Fire", a double album that was released in August 1968; the live album shot to UK #3 and the studio effort to UK #7, but both went directly to US #1 for four weeks. Despite the fact that the band had sold so many records, had sold out nearly every concert, had made millions and even managed to boost "Sunshine Of Your Love" to hit US #5 and UK #25, they decided that after a farewell tour of America Cream would split. The band toured North America in October, played two concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in London in November and then Cream was no more - as Clapton explained, "The Cream has lost direction." In the winter of 1969 Eric began jamming with former Traffic front man Steve Winwood, with Ginger Baker also joining in Eric's mansion in Surrey. With bassist Ric Grech added to the lineup, the band became Blind Faith and started rehearsing and recording material. In June 1969, after the band finished a recording session for their first and only album, they made their live debut in Hyde Park to a crowd of over 200,000 fans. Despite the fact that Baker and Grech felt that the concert was a triumph, Clapton and Winwood, however, were more or less convinced that Blind Faith had blown it first time round. However, despite their feelings, Blind Faith set out on a summer sellout tour of the US, playing in arenas and stadiums all over the country. The tour itself earned the band a fortune, but the band members were convinced that the music itself was unsatisfying. After the tour was over their only album, "Blind Faith", was released, and it topped the charts worldwide. Despite the success of the album and tour Blind Faith still decided to disband, though, and Clapton went on tour with Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, who were Blind Faith's support act on the tour, and also performed at times with The Plastic Ono Band. In March 1970 Eric launched his highly successful solo career, by releasing a first solo album, which featured Delaney & Bonnie.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Richard Baker

Spouse (2)

Melia McEnery (1 January 2002 - present) (3 children)
Pattie Boyd (27 March 1979 - 1988) (divorced)

Trade Mark (3)

Fender Stratocaster
Slow, complicated, Guitar riffs that earned him the nickname "Slowhand"
Gruff singing voice

Trivia (69)

His maternal grandparents, who brought him up, had the surname of Clapp. His grandmother had previously been married to a man called Clapton though, and during this time gave birth to Eric's mother. This is where the confusion about Eric's real surname comes from, but it is, in fact, Clapton.
3/10/91: His five-year-old son Conor (mother is Lory Del Santo) died in a fall from a 53rd-floor apartment. Clapton's Grammy-winning hit song "Tears in Heaven" was dedicated to the memory of his son.
Had a daughter with Yvonne Kelly in 1986 - Made public in 1993.
1996: Dated musician Sheryl Crow.
8/21/86: Son Conor born. Mother is Lory Del Santo. Clapton was still married to Pattie Boyd at the time.
According to the August 1998 issue of the British rock magazine "Q", Clapton ranks #10 on the list of the 100 richest rock stars, with an estimated fortune of over £75m.
Played the guitar solo on George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", creating a precedent. No other outside musician had ever had such a privilege.
Both George Harrison and Clapton were married to model Pattie Boyd (Harrison first, Clapton afterwards). He wrote the songs "Layla" and "Wonderful Tonight" about her. She and Clapton eventually married, nine years after he recorded "Layla".
Axes of choice include a Fender Stratocaster and a Gibson Les Paul Standard.
Children: daughter Ruth (b. 1985) and son Connor (b. 1986, d. 1991)
6/13/01: Daughter Julie Rose was born in Columbus, OH, weighing 7 lb. 1 oz. Her mother is Melia McEnery.
1/1/02: Clapton, 56, tied the knot with Melia McEnery, from Columbus, OH, in a low-key ceremony at a church near his home in Surrey, southern England. Guests were told they were attending the christening of the couple's six-month-old daughter Julie Rose. But after the baptism of Julie Rose and Clapton's 16-year-old daughter Ruth, the couple were called forward by vicar Rev. Christopher Elson and exchanged marriage vows.
Played guitar along with original 'Bond' guitarist Vic Flick on Michael Kamen's theme for Licence to Kill (1989). The duo were filmed "playing" in various London locations for the expected video. However, the producers decided to opt for a song, sung by Gladys Knight, and the Clapton/Flick instrumental has never been released.
He is the only artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times: as a member of The Yardbirds (1992); as a member of Cream (1993); and as a solo performer (2000).
He was awarded the O.B.E. (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 1995 Queen's Honours List for his services to music.
Expecting second child with wife Melia at end of 2002.
1/14/03: Daughter Ella May born in London.
July 2001: Voted the South East's best guitarist in Total Guitar Magazine's poll of the greatest 12 British guitarists.
Wrote the classic song "Layla" about his unrequited love for Pattie Boyd, who was then married to George Harrison. He married her nine years later.
Stephen Stills asked him to join Crosby Stills & Nash so that he could help beef up their sound in concert. He refused due to the fact that he was in the middle of forming Blind Faith with Steve Winwood.
He was also on the short list of guitarists to replace Brian Jones in The Rolling Stones.
1969: Played with John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Plastic Ono Band at the Toronto Pop Festival. Other members included Klaus Voormann on bass and Alan White (later of Bill Bruford) on drums.
Quit The Yardbirds after the band decided to do the more pop sounding song "For Your Love", which was a departure from the more traditional blues songs they had been doing.
Cream's hits were "Wrapping Paper", "I Feel Free", "Strange Brew", "Sunshine Of Your Love", "Anyone For Tennis", "Crossroads", "White Room" & "Badge".
Has an office in Chelsea.
His current backing band involves people like guitarist Andy Fairweather Low (ex-Amen Corner) and bassist Nathan East (Fourplay).
Has owned a string of Ferraris.
Was cured of his heroin addiction through electro-acupuncture; singer Boy George received the same therapy ten years later.
Played guitar on Phil Collins's hits "If Leaving Me is Easy" (UK number 17 in 1981) and "I Wish It Would Rain Down" (UK number seven in 1990). He also appeared in the music video for "I Wish It Would Rain Down".
He was awarded the C.B.E. (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2003 Queen's New Year's Honours List for his services to music.
Created his own band, Derek & The Dominos, after the break-up of Cream.
2/1/05: Daughter Sophie Clapton born.
Was very good friends with Duane Allman, and they held a great deal of respect for each other. Allman played guitar on the Derek and the Dominos song "Layla."
He was voted the 53rd Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Artist of all time by Rolling Stone.
May 2005: Reunited with Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce for a Cream reunion concert.
While performing "Further On Up the Road" in The Last Waltz (1978), his guitar strap came undone. To cover for him while he fixed it, Robbie Robertson of The Band improvised a guitar solo.
Once while playing a Cream concert, he suddenly stopped playing, and neither Ginger Baker nor Jack Bruce noticed.
He owned and played a Gibson Byrdland guitar designed by famous guitarists Hank Garland and Billy Byrd.
While many people believe his nickname "Slow Hand(s)" is because his fingers are slow on the guitar, it is actually because once during a concert he played his guitar so hard that one of its strings broke, and he took time out to re-string it. As he did, the fans in attendance began a "slow hand" clap.
Cream: Royal Albert Hall, London May 2-3-5-6 2005 (2005) was the first time Cream had played together since their 1993 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Before the formation of Cream in 1966, he was all but unknown in the United States, having left The Yardbirds before "For Your Love" hit the American Top Ten.
Upon returning to England after recording the Derek & The Dominos album "Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs," he was supporting a £1,000-per-week heroin addiction.
Before becoming a musician, he designed stained glass windows.
Played two farewell concerts on 26th November: Omnibus: Cream's Farewell Concert (1969) in 1968, and The Last Waltz (1978) in 1976. Ironically, it was partially because of The Band's music that he decided to leave Cream in the first place.
Mentioned in the song "Life Is a Rock But the Radio Rolled Me" by Reunion.
Shortly after the formation of Cream in 1966, the trio got a chance to jam with Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix was a fan of Clapton, and wanted a chance to play with him on stage.
Enjoys Mixed Martial Arts.
Was the guest of honor at the MMA event "Pride Grand Prix 2000 Tournament", and awarded the winner, Mark "The Hammer" Coleman, with the First Prize Trophy.
Has ties to both of the Allman Brothers. With Duane Allman's help, Clapton recorded the album "Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs" in 1970. In 1991, Clapton wrote the score to the film Rush (1991), which featured Duane's brother, Gregg Allman.
1988: He became the first artist to have a Fender Stratocaster signature model.
1987: Winner of the British Phonographic Industry Award for Outstanding Contribution.
When Clapton appeared at Live Aid in Philadelphia, one of his backing drummers was Phil Collins. Hours before, Collins had appeared at Live Aid's London concert at Wembley Stadium.
2001: Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Biography/bibliography/discography in: "Contemporary Authors". Volume 265, pages 56-60. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Cengage Learning, 2008.
He originally played Gibson guitars. He has played a Fender Stratocaster since 1970.
He served Ginger Baker his very first French toast while discussing forming Cream.
The Sunday Times List estimated his net worth at $196 million.
Former brother-in-law of Jenny Boyd.
At age 47, Clapton became the first British artist to win 6 GRAMMYs in one night: Record of the Year - "Tears in Heaven" / Song of the Year - "Tears in Heaven" / Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male - "Tears in Heaven" / Album of the Year - "Unplugged" / Best Rock Vocal Performance, Male - "Unplugged" / Best Rock Song - "Layla" (unplugged version) (Shrine Auditorium Los Angeles / 24 February 1993).
Earlier in the year the album Reptile was released and has since then gone on a world tour. [June 2001]
Release of his book, "Clapton: The Autobiography".
Participated in the Royal Jubilee Rock Concert, playing with Brian Wilson, Paul McCartney and Phil Collins. [June 2002]
Has spent a lot of the year featuring with artists like B.B. King, Willie Nelson, John Mayall and even did a special concert for his daughter Ruth's school in March. [July 2003]
Chelsea, London, England [May 2009]
His new album "Me & Mr Johnson" has just been released and is undertaking a major European tour. [March 2004]
Appears in a TV ad for T-Mobile Wireless [January 2010]
Release of the book, "Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton and Me" by Pattie Boyd with Penny Junor.
Despite selling hundreds of millions of albums as a solo artist and as a member of Genesis, Phil Collins has said that playing drums for Clapton was the highlight of his whole career.

Personal Quotes (14)

Given the choice between accomplishing something and just lying around, I'd rather lie around. No contest.
I am, and always will be, a blues guitarist.
[about "Layla"] To have ownership of something that powerful is something I'll never be able to get used to. It still knocks me out when I play it.
My original interests and intentions in guitar playing were primarily created on quality of tone, for instance, the way the instrument could be made to echo or simulate the human voice. At the time when I was still thrashing around on the acoustic guitar trying to sound like Leadbelly or Jesse Fuller, there was someone who had already achieved this particular goal. That was Hank Marvin [Hank B. Marvin] of The Shadows. He had found, and settled on, a clean, pure sound which disallowed any kind of ham-fisted playing. Only the lightest touch was permitted. The result was a marvelous mixture of clear, sweet melody over a strong rock beat (and what a great drum sound). On top of all this, he looked like Buddy Holly and played a real Stratocaster!
When all the original blues guys are gone, you start to realize that someone has to tend to the tradition. I recognize that I have some responsibility to keep the music alive, and it's a pretty honorable position to be in.
I would challenge anybody to come up with a better design for a guitar. The Stratocaster is as good as it gets.
[on John Martyn] So far ahead of everything, it's almost inconceivable.
The blues are what I've turned to, what has given me inspiration and relief in all the trials of my life.
My dedication to my music has driven everyone away. I've had girlfriends, but I always end up on my own. I don't particularly like it, but I don't see a way 'round it.
I'd love to knock an audience cold with one note, but what do you do for the rest of the evening?
We didn't really have a band with Cream. We rarely played as an ensemble; we were three virtuosos, all of us soloing all the time.
I went out in the garden and cried all day because he'd left me behind. Not because he'd gone, but because he hadn't taken me with him. It just made me so fucking angry. I wasn't sad, I was just pissed off. [explaining his reaction to the death of Jimi Hendrix]
[About his alcoholism during the 1980s] The only reason I didn't commit suicide was because I knew I wouldn't be able to drink anymore if I was dead.
[about Jimi Hendrix's death] That was the first time the death of another musician really affected me. We had all felt obliterated when Buddy Holly died, but this was much more personal.

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