Eric Clapton


Eric Clapton is an innovative guitarist, basically the first to combine
blues and rock, which in turn popularized blues. Because of his skill and ever-
evolving style, his music is a lasting contribution in itself.
Eric Clapton made his recording debut with The Yardbirds, the British
group that also featured guitar virtuosos Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck. Together,
they created a whole new blues/rock sound that many of the famous 60s and 70s
bands copied. Clapton left The Yardbirds when he felt the band strayed too far
from their blues roots towards pop music.
E.C. then joined British keyboardist, harmonica player,
singer/songwriter John Mayall and his band, The Bluesbreakers to work on an
album. Clapton, with the fresh, up and coming band, made a pure blues album
that many blues fans consider to be his best.
After the one-album stint with The Bluesbreakers, Clapton formed a new
group called Cream with bassist/vocalist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker.
The trio made four highly successful albums together in the next few years.
Their more rock like interpretations of old blues songs made blues more popular
to the mainstream, much more so than with The Yardbirds. Cream had several top
40 hits, including "Sunshine of Your Love", "White Room", and "Crossroads".
Towards the end of the 60s Cream split up. Eric Clapton joined the
band Blind Faith in \'69 and did fairly well with it, but the group broke up
quickly after the release of their only album. It was then that Clapton
launched his solo career. For A few years in the early 70s Clapton played with
backup band "Delaney and Bonnie and Friends", and made a few pretty successful
albums, but nothing in comparison to the popularity he had with Cream.
This was the start of a period of time (basically most of the 70s) where
Eric Clapton would switch around from backup band to backup band. In doing this,
he had to play differently with each one, so it kept his style fresh and ever
changing. In the 70s Eric took more of a departure from blues and went on to
basically playing rock and pop. An exception to this would be when he covered
Bob Marley\'s song "I Shot the Sheriff" and took a stab at reggae. He did
excellently with it, too, it was a big Top 40 hit.
The eighties saw Eric Clapton make fewer albums. Although this was the
low point in his career, he still made albums that were quality by any standard.
They also saw a more mature Clapton. The Eric from the sixties with his endless,
inspiring solos was gone. But now he made the move towards melodic perfection
instead of technique.
Eric Clapton revived his career in the early 90s with his best selling
album ever, Unplugged. This purely acoustic album was the most blues oriented
since he was back with John Mayall. It contained the top 40 hit "Tears in
Heaven" that he wrote for his son who died falling out of a New York high rise.
Eric\'s most recent album, "From The Cradle", is his first totally blues
album since his Bluesbreaker days. It turns out he hasn\'t lost his touch: he\'s
as good at blues as he ever was.
Over his extensive recording career Eric Clapton has proven he is among the
best at what he does. He is an excellent guitarist, whether he is playing rock,
pop, blues, or reggae. His style has been widely copied-you can hear his
influence in famous blues guitarists like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Buddy Guy. And
his music is definitely a lasting contribution to music overall.

Bibliography

Bogdana, Vladimir; Erlewine, Michael; Koda, Cub; Woodstra, Chris. All Music
Guide To the Blues. Miller Freeman: San Francisco. 1996

Miller, Jim. History of Rock and Roll. New York. Rolling Stone Press. 1976.

Santelli, Robert. The Big Book of Blues. New York: Penguin 1993.

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