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Eric Clapton a Legend for our Time

Updated on September 7, 2015
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Eric Clapton began his love of music when he was thirteen years old. He was influenced by the beginnings of rock and roll. He saw Jerry Lee Lewis on television performing “Great Balls of Fire” and he was hooked. Eric received a Hoyer guitar for his thirteenth birthday. The instrument was hard to play and he almost gave up on it. Two years later he began to play it again and the world would never be the same.

Eric had a love for the blues and he practiced blues chords over and over again. He even recorded his playing to make sure he was doing it right. Clapton’s dedication paid off and soon the world would know and love the singer, guitar player, and songwriter, for all time.

Eric Clapton began recording albums first in groups and then solo and in each case he created songs that will be listened to for years to come. What are the songs through the years that had the listener realize that this was no one hit wonder? Each decade Eric has produced songs. Here are some of his very best by the decade.

The 1960’s

Eric joined the band Cream in 1963 he stayed with them until 1965. It was ironic, but the first song that was a hit for Eric and the Yardbirds was a pop sounding song called “For Your Love” written by Graham Gouldman (He would later be in the band 10cc). It was their best-selling single reaching number 3 in the UK and number 6 in the US Top Hit Singles. Eric wasn’t pleased that the group was moving away from its R&B sound and left the group soon after. “For Your Love” is really a roller coaster of a song for the ears. It begins with the strumming guitar, bongos and drums. The song even has a harpsichord on the track because when they went to record the song they couldn’t find a piano or organ all they could find was the two tiered harpsichord. It helped to make the song unique. “For Your Love” has a pop, psychedelic sound that is infectious. It is really a feast for the ears.

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The next recording success he had was with the band Cream. The song that gained them success was “Sunshine of your Love” written by band members Jack Bruce, Peter Brown and Eric Clapton. This song is blues, psychedelic rock, and hard rock. It is a song so very different from “For Your Love”. It became the group’s most popular song. Great guitar riffs and heavy duty electric guitars make this song a memorable one for the psychedelic era. It was released in 1967 and reached number 5 on the Top 100 Singles in the US.

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Another great song from Eric’s time with Cream is the song “Crossroads”. Eric always loved the music of Robert Johnson (a blues singer and musician from the 1930’s), he took the song Cross Road Blues by Johnson and transformed it into a rock and blues rock song. This song has great guitar riffs and the song just moves from beginning to end. This song reached number 28 on the US Charts and it helped introduce a new audience to the blues and to the artistry of Robert Johnson himself.

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The next stand out song for Eric happened when he joined the band Derek and the Dominoes. The inspiration for his standout song “Layla” was Pattie Boyd. She was married to his good friend George Harrison at the time. She spurred his advances and this gave him ideas for songs with Pattie as his inspiration. The title is from a Persian poet named Nizami Ganjavi, the book is called The Story of Layla and Majnun. It mirrored how Eric felt about Pattie the character in the story fell in love with a beautiful and unavailable young woman and it drove him crazy. The song wasn’t that popular when it first came out, but time proved that this song of raw emotion and unrequited love sparked something in the listener. The wailing guitar riffs that begin the song set the tone and the emotion of the singer help the listener feel the desperation of how Eric felt at that time of his life. One of the great songs of rock and roll. It was released in the year of 1971.

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In 1974 Eric became a solo act and he recorded the album 461 Ocean Boulevard. His first number one song came from the album and it was “I Shot the Sheriff”. This song was written by Bob Marley and it helped to introduce more people to reggae. Eric’s version is soft rock and reggae and it really jams. You have that laid back song yet it has a driven beat to it. You feel for the person in the lyric who it seems had no choice but to kill a Sheriff who had it in for him. Eric does a wonderful job with the song and it easy to see how it made it to number one it is infectious.

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In 1985 Eric and Phil Collins produced the record Behind the Sun. Eric released a song called “Forever Man”. This is his second number one song. It is rock and pop rock song. This song is pure magic it moves and Eric sings with great power and emotion. It has great drum beats throughout and that electric guitar solo that only Eric can do with such feeling. It is a great song.

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In 1992 Eric Clapton released his most personal song entitled “Tears in Heaven”. It was written after his son, Conor, who was four years old, feel out of a 53 story apartment building owned by Eric’s wife’s friend. The song is stripped down and the vocal and lyrics take precedence. The listener feels Eric’s pain and heartache losing his very young son. Listeners could sympathize in the loss of their own loved ones. It is one beautiful song. It reached number 2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Singles. It is one of his most successful songs.

Eric Clapton has so many magnificent albums that showcase his enormous talent in both singing, playing, and songwriting. All music lovers should have Eric Clapton’s music in their music collection. He brings the blues, pop, rock, and psychedelic music to life and keeps the spirit of those genres alive to be enjoyed by generation to generation of music lovers. Eric Clapton gift to the world is his music and we the listener could not be more happy than to receive it. Thank you Eric.

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    • cfjots profile image
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      cfjots 2 years ago from Conway, SC

      Thank you FlorishAnyway for your compliment I appreciate it. Tears in Heaven always gets to me truly an emotional song.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      What a great living tribute. His Tears In Heaven is truly moving.

    • cfjots profile image
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      cfjots 2 years ago from Conway, SC

      Thank you janshares for your kind words. Tears in Heaven is a beautiful song that we all can relate to because almost everyone has lost a loved one in their lives. This song gives the listener peace just by hearing it.

    • janshares profile image

      Janis Leslie Evans 2 years ago from Washington, DC

      Thank you cfjots, for this article on Eric Clapton. I admit that I was drawn to this article just to hear the song "Tears from Heaven." I knew you'd include the video in his amazing body of work. It is one of my all-time favorites. The words, the chords, and the sound of his voice move me every time. I appreciate the history of one of our greatest musicians in the world. Well-done presentation.

    • cfjots profile image
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      cfjots 2 years ago from Conway, SC

      Thanks you lions44 for your comments and for sharing the article. I didn't realize just how many great songs he has had over the years I have a new found appreciation for him.

      Thank you Readmikenow for enjoying the article and videos. I want to continue learning more about this amazing musician and hearing every tune he recorded.

    • Readmikenow profile image

      Readmikenow 2 years ago

      Big Eric Clapton fan. This was a pleasure to read and the videos were wonderful to watch. Enjoyed reading this. Thanks.

    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 2 years ago from Auburn, WA

      Great overview of his career. So much music, so many memories. Thx. Shared.