Eric Clapton

Greatly Appreciated

Eric Clapton  (born 30 March 1945), is an English rock and blues guitarist, singer and songwriter.  He is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:  once as a solo artist and separately as a member of the Yardbirds and Cream.  Clapton has been referred to as one of the most important and influential guitarists of all time.  Clapton ranked second in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” and fourth in Gibson’s “Top 50 Guitarists of All Time”.  He was also named number five in Time magazine’s list of “The 10 Best Electric Guitar Players” in 2009.  (More from Wikipedia)

A 1987 Taylor Hackford documentary, Hail! Hail! Rock ’n’ Roll was made to honor Chuck Berry on his 60th birthday.  In this film, Eric Clapton says:  “If you wanna play rock and roll – or any upbeat number – and you wanted to take a guitar ride, you would end up playing like Chuck [Berry]. . . . because there is very little other choice.  There’s not a lot of other ways to play rock and roll other than the way Chuck plays it; he’s really laid the law down.” 


(June 2013/1)


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Tracy Chapman is from Cleveland, Ohio and was given a ukulele by her mother once she noticed her talent at a young age; she was writing songs by the age of 8.  To date, Tracy Chapman has released eight albums, and she has recorded duets with a host of prominent musicians that include B. B. KingEric ClaptonLuciano PavarottiBuddy Guyand Dave Matthews


(January 2014)


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In 1969Mick Farren “liberated” the earliest large-scale rock concert in the U.K., the 1969 Isle of Wight Festival by encouraging the fences to be torn down.  This concert – which took place the month after Woodstock (and with many of the same acts) – featured the Whothe BandFreeJoe Cocker, and the Moody Blues.  But the real excitement was caused by the inclusion on the bill of Bob Dylan, who had been little seen since his near-fatal motorcycle accident in July 1966.  When Dylan took the stage, audience members included three of the Beatles, three of the Beatle wives, three of the Rolling StonesEric ClaptonLiz TaylorRichard BurtonJane FondaRoger VadimSyd Barrett, and Elton John  


One of the main reasons for the location of the original Woodstock was to lure Bob Dylan out of hiding – the idea was to throw a huge party practically on his doorstep that surely he couldn’t resist attending.  Woodstock is the name of the town where Dylan lived (and also members of the Band); the festival itself was in Bethel.  But resist he did; Bob Dylan instead signed up to appear at the Isle of Wight Festival and set sail for England on August 15, 1969, the day that Woodstock opened.

(March 2014/1)
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Every once in a while, I see something on the Internet that makes me just step back and marvel.  As usual, I went on the Internet to see what I could find about the Soul Agents.  I immediately uncovered a blog called The British Sound that is run by an Italian rock historian named Bruno Ceriotti.  His most recent creation was what he called “The Soul Agents Day-by-Day Story”.  He describes the Soul Agents as “undoubtedly one of the best British rhythm ’n’ blues bands of the early 60’s” and thanks 30 people who assisted him over the 20 years of research required to put this information together, among them Eric Clapton and Keith Emerson.  This truly amazing history of the band can be found at: . 


(May 2014)


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The liner notes for the Wonderwall Music album were a mess, and George Harrison was not originally credited with performing any of the music, leading many to think that he merely oversaw the album; actually, in addition to arranging the music, Harrison played electric and acoustic guitar, piano, and Mellotron.  Other musicians on the album include Eric Clapton on electric guitar – credited as “Eddie Clayton” – Harrison’s bandmate Ringo Starr on drums, and Peter Tork of the Monkees who plays banjo (!).  In 1969George Harrison collaborated with Eric Clapton in writing perhaps my very favorite song by Cream, Badge
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From Wikipedia:  “Among the large cast of backing musicians [on All Things Must Pass] were Eric Clapton and Delaney & Bonnie’s Friends band – three of whom formed Derek and the Dominos with Clapton during the recording – as well as Ringo StarrGary Wright[Billy] PrestonKlaus VoormannJohn BarhamBadfinger, and Pete Drake.”   
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While working as a machinist in a local factory, Richard Starkey befriended Roy Trafford, who introduced him to skiffle music.  The two began practicing together and were joined by another co-worker Eddie Miles, forming the Eddie Miles Band that was later renamed Eddie Clayton and the Clayton Squares.  (Interestingly, Eric Clapton took the pseudonym Eddie Clayton in his credits for Wonderwall Music, perhaps from this connection). 
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What Rev. Nicholas T. Freund found there was a revelation, and did he show up on a good night that first time:  The performers were CreamQuicksilver Messenger Service and Big Brother and the Holding Company.  He recounts in the CD’s liner notes:  “Eric Clapton’s guitar playing amazed me. . . .  Janis Joplin . . . blew me away.  The next day, the kids said:  ‘Get your records out!  Nick’s been to the Fillmore!’  I became interested in adapting the San Francisco Sound to church music.” 
Nick Freund puts it:  “I enjoy Bach and Gregorian chant.  But I don’t see it as an expression of today.  It’s like a beautiful old painting in a museum – you admire and appreciate it, but it has no relevance to ‘Now’.  We should express our worship of God in terms we use today.”  Also:  “I could spend years writing a classical concert, and nobody would ever hear it.”  
(September 2014)
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By September 1963the Rolling Stones had outgrown the local club scene and had begun to tour; their replacement at the Crawdaddy Club was another of the major British Invasion bands, the Yardbirds, whose line-up at that time included Eric Clapton.  Other major bands and artists who performed at this club include Led ZeppelinLong John Baldry, Elton John, and Rod Stewart


(January 2015/2)


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Johnny No by the Primitives is identified by Mal Ryder and others as being a cover of “Thunder and Lightning”; I have been unable to find the connection, however.  Most of the songs called Thunder and Lightning that are mentioned on the Internet were released long after this song. 


The only song that I know of which (barely) predates Johnny No is “Knock on Wood” (written by Eddie Floyd and Steve Cropper) that features the dramatic lyric:  “It’s like thunder . . . lightning / The way you love me is frightening”.  Otis ReddingDavid Bowie and Eric Clapton all recorded versions of this song; however, Knock on Wood doesn’t sound at all like Johnny No to me.  (I finally thought to track it down through the songwriting credits; Johnny No” is based on a 1963 Hoyt Axton song that I did not know called “Thunder N’ Lightnin’” that Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs also released as a “B” side).   


(May 2015)


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One of Harrison’s songs got included on each of the four sides of the double LP; and his Side 1 contribution in particular, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is a real tour de force.  Eric Clapton plays lead guitar on the song (uncredited).  The middle verse goes:
     I look at the world and I notice it’s turning
     While my guitar gently weeps
     With every mistake we must surely be learning
     Still my guitar gently weeps
     I don’t know how you were diverted
     You were perverted too
     I don’t know how you were inverted
     No one alerted you.
Wikipedia lists some of the accolades that have come to While My Guitar Gently Weeps:  “‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ is ranked at number 136 on Rolling Stone’s ‘The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time’, number 7 on the magazine’s list of ‘The 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time’, and number 10 on its list of ‘The Beatles100 Greatest Songs’.  In an online poll held by Guitar World magazine in February 2012, ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ was voted the best of Harrison’s Beatle-era songs.  In October 2008Guitar World ranked [Eric Clapton]’s playing at number 42 in its list of the ‘100 Greatest Guitar Solos’.” 
The other George Harrison songs on The Beatles are all standout cuts on the album and illustrate the variety that George has brought in his songwriting all along:  Piggies, “Long, Long, Long”, and “Savoy Truffle”.  
Many rock critics have noted that the sheer length of All Things Must Pass – the triple LP (including the bonus disk Apple Jam) that George Harrison released after the Beatles broke up – showed the volume of excellent Harrison compositions that never made it onto any Beatles albums.  Eric Clapton was one of the key musicians in those recording sessions; the two also co-wrote one of my favorite songs by Cream, Badge
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The Yardbirds included Train Kept A-Rollin’ on their second American album, Having a Rave up with the Yardbirds that is absolutely chock full of classic songs; in addition to their major hits “I’m a Man and Heart Full of SoulHaving a Rave Up includes “Evil Hearted You” and “Still I’m Sad”, plus a full side of the Yardbirds in concert featuring Eric Clapton on lead (taken from their British debut album, Five Live Yardbirds) that includes I’m a Man again plus their devastating cover of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Smokestack Lightning that I first heard on their 1967 collection The Yardbirds’ Greatest Hits.  Anyone who thinks that the British Invasion began and ended with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones needs to hear this music post haste. 
(June 2015)
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Shakespear’s SisterHormonally Yours – Shakespear’s Sister (note the missing “e”) is composed of Siobhan Fahey, a former member of Bananarama, and Marcella Detroit, who was the backing vocalist for Eric Clapton in the late 1970’s.  When I was living in New York, there was a channel on our local cable TV network called Video Jukebox.  There was a number that you could call and order your video, for which you were charged a dollar or so.  While you punched in the numbers on your telephone to order the video, those numbers would show up on the TV screen if you had that channel on, and that sure was cool.  Video Jukebox showed a lot of videos not available on MTV or VH1; after awhile, it was mostly rap and hip hop videos, but there were a lot of rock numbers early on.  That channel is where I frequently saw the video of their hit song “Stay”, a Top 5 hit on both sides of the Atlantic; the first half features tender singing from Marcella Detroit followed by unexpectedly menacing vocals by Siobhan Fahey.  This, their second album (from 1991) includes that song and numerous other engaging performances.
(December 2015)
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But before I get into all of that, let me share this appreciation for Prince that was posted by Nick Gillespie on as part of the best commentary on the PMRC that I have been able to find online. It is quite a bit more barbed than the mainstream accolades that you and I have been reading of late. 
“In the wake of the social progress of the past several decades, it’s hard to recapture how threatening the Paisley One once seemed, this gender-bender guy who shredded guitar solos that put Jimi Hendrix or Eric Clapton to shame while prancing around onstage in skivvies and high heels. He was funkier than pre-criminality Rick James and minced around with less shame and self-consciousness than Liberace. Madonna broke sexual taboos by being sluttish, which was no small thing; but as a fey black man who surrounded himself with hotter-than-the-sun lady musicians, [Prince] was simultaneously the embodiment of campy Little Richard and that hoariest of White America boogeymen, the hypersexualized black man.” 
(June 2016)

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For most of this time, I was somehow able to put up long posts about rock music on a monthly basis while I was still working full-time. I remember thinking often over the years that I really should have waited until I retired to try to do something like this. Now that I actually have retired, I really don’t know how I put all of that information together, and I doubt that I could come up with many of those posts now. As an example, my detailed post on the Cream family tree (May 2014) was almost 7,800 words; the section on Eric Clapton alone totaled 3,500 words. I still haven’t counted up the words in all of the posts, but the grand total is probably on the order of a half million words.
(Year 10 Review)
Last edited: March 22, 2021