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Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars (2017)

TV-MA | | Documentary | 24 November 2017 (USA)
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A look at the life and work of guitarist Eric Clapton, told by those who have known him best, including BB King, Jimi Hendrix, and George Harrison.

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A look at the life and work of guitarist Eric Clapton, told by those who have known him best, including BB King, Jimi Hendrix, and George Harrison.

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Genius Amplified

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Documentary

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24 November 2017 (USA)  »

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Eric Clapton  »

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Ahmet Ertegun's name on captions is misspelled throughout the film. See more »

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Interview clip identified as Paul McCartney's voice was actually George Harrison's. See more »

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User Reviews

Eric Clapton - The Man or the Genius?
1 March 2018 | by See all my reviews

I guess there are a lot of ways one can look at this documentary. It was indeed an excellent overview of one of the most gifted musicians of our generation. There is no doubt that Eric Clapton is a music legend, and in all fairness, he doesn't try to hide his shortcomings as a human being. But maybe, there in lies the problem. Some things are better left unsaid. This documentary gives us an excellent background to the man behind the music and it deals honestly with his life and his career. Despite there being no mention of his work with Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett, who greatly influenced his direction after leaving Blind Faith, I guess I can accept that, although Bonnie Bramlett I'm sure feels slighted. So might quite a few others

The problem is him. This documentary wants us to feel sympathy for him and somehow, I can't. Yes, he grew up being rejected by his real mother who he only met twice, and never really knew. That might explain some of his shortcomings, but it in no way all of them. Truth be told, he has always been very vain, and has never taken full responsibility for his own actions except by way of past reflection. and for me, that's not enough.

Clapton left his original band- the Yardbirds without notice. Jeff Beck mentioned in a interview he had a reputation of being conceited. Frankly, a Narcissist. He later abandoned the band "Blind Faith" much like the Yardbirds without even a phone call to Steve Winwood, much to the latters surprise. He then stole Delaney and Bonnie's band members away from them in secret. Then, a married women away from his best friend, only to abuse her later resulting from his battles with Alcohol. His negligence years later led to an accident in which his 5 year old son died, having fallen out of a window, evidently unsupervised by his girlfriend- and although he had some periods late in life of showing good will towards others with some benefit concerts, somehow, I can't feel sympathy for him as a man. Yet, I am supposed to pity him. Even his die hard fans who adored him and helped make him rich were not spared either. I Was at that concert in Pittsburgh and the movie depicts just a glimpse of what happened. It was ugly.

What really bothered me though was his failure to give credit to those who loved him and even saved him from further self destruction. Peter Townsend helped dragged him out of his drug addiction and got him back onstage to help restart his career. Procol Harum's Gary Brooker befriended him and got him to help kick his alcoholism by sharing his passion for fishing. Many people helped him thru his down times and yet were never once mentioned or given credit for any of the help and support along the way. For a documentary of such length, there was surely enough time. Instead, it was all self pity for things he should have taken responsibility for yet didn't. Sometimes a sorry or token regret is just not enough.

The documentary was long, detailed, and above all honest, and I give him credit for that. But it also suffered from extreme self indulgence. He always has been a hero of mine. I'm not so sure anymore. There is a big difference between living the blues and playing it. HIS Blues were his own creation- unlike the Blues masters who were dealt a TRULY bad hand in life and had to express their feeling in art.


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