Eric Clapton was born on March 20, 1945 in Ripley, England. He was an illegitimate son of the 16 year old Patricia Clapton and Edward Fryer, a 24 year old Canadian pilot. Fryer returned to his wife in Canada before Eric was borned. Eric Grew up with his grandparents, believing they were his real parents, and that his mother was his older sister. When Clapton was nine years old, he discovered this family secret, and it became a defining moment in his life.
Clapton studied stained- glass design at Kingston Art School. He thought himself to play the guitar at the age of 15, and he joined his first band, the Roosters, at 17. Eric was influensed by the blues from an early age, and grew up listening to blues recordings of Robert Johnson.
In 1963, Clapton joined The Yarbirds and stayed with them for two years. They attracted a large crowd when they took over at the Crawdaddy club in Richmond, where the Rolling Stones used to play. The Yardbirds were influenced by the Chicago blues such as the blues by B.B. King. Clapton forged King’s style and became one of the most talked- about guitarists in Britain. FOR YOUR LOVE was the band’s first solo album, which came out in August 1965 and topped the hitlists with the song “For Your Love”.
Eric joined John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers shortly after, and their first album established his name as an excellent blues player, and it inspired a grafitti that claimed that “Clapton is God”. In 1966 Clapton left the bluesbreakers and formed the supergroup Cream with Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker.
During his time in Cream, Clapton developed as a singer as well as a guitarist. When Cream started to perform more rock than blues, Clapton left the group. After the split- up with Cream, Clapton and his close friend George Harrison played together for a while, and Eric even played a solo on “While My Guitar Weeps” from the Beatles’ album WHITE ALBUM.
But the friedship with Harrison did not last long, because Clapton fell in love with George’s wife, Pattie. Claptons love for Pattie was the inspiration for the album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. When Clapton and Pattie got married in 1979, he wrote another famous song, “Wonderful Tonight”.
Clapton then joined another supergroup, Blind Faith. They gave out one album together. But by then Clapton was tired of the spotlight, and he stepped into the background for a while, while he toured as a sideman with the American group Delaney and Bonnie and Friends. He became close friends with Delaney, who encouraged him in his singing and writing. Eric released his first solo album, Eric Clapton, in 1970.
Derek and the Dominoes was formed by Eric Clapton, Bobby Whitlock, Carl Radle and Jim Gordon shortly after the breakup with Delaney and Bonnie and Friends. The famous guitarist Duane Allman joined the group after an invitation by Eric himself. The group had a lot of hits, of them worth mentioning; “I looked away”, “Bell Buttom Blues”, and “Keep On Growing”.
In his life as an artist, Clapton experienced a lot of personal tragedies. He was devestated by the death of Jimi Hendrix, and his close friend and co-worker Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident on the group’s first American tour. Duanes death resulted in a suprisingly strong album, In Consert.
Despite his success, Eric became addicted to heroin by 1972, but he still performed. In Bangladesh, 1973, he passed out on the stage, got up, and continued the show. When he came clean, he put togther a new, strong touring band. They toured the world and gave out the LP, ‘E.C. Was Here, in 1975. They also gave out There’s One In Every Crowd. In 1976, Clapton spoke the word of racism when he among other things said to vote for Enoch Powell to stop Britain becoming “a black colony”. These comments led to the creation of the Rock Against Racism movement in the UK.
In the late 1970s Clapton relapsed into alkoholism and was hospitalized. In 1985 Clapton met Yvonne Kelly, with whom he got a daughter the same year. He divorced Patty Boyd in 1988. In early 1990s, tragedy entered Claptons life again. First when two of hi co-workers died in a helikopter crash between conserts. The second one when his five-year-old son fell down 53 storys from their hotel- window while on tour. He gave out the song “Tears In Heaven” to put words on his grief after Conors death.
In 1999 Clapton met 25 year old Melia McEnery in Los Angeles while working on an album with B.B. King. They married in 2002 and have three daughters together.