Guitar Heroes

Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton’s playing style and musical contributions over the years have seen him inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and cemented his position as one of the most legendary guitarists of all time. in this article we go through Clapton’s musical history, his playing style and the gear he used to make those iconic tracks.

Posted: 8 September 2020

Photo: Christie's

History

Clapton was born in Surrey, England and received his first guitar on his thirteenth birthday. After a few years of trial and error he found a love for blues music and began practising many hours of the day. After school Clapton began busking and later performing around pubs in Surrey and in 1963 joined The Yardbirds, a blues-influenced rock and roll band. Inspired by Chicago blues players such as B.B. King and Buddy Guy, Clapton used these influences to develop his own personal playing style and The Yardbirds began to attract a large, cult following.

Clapton also worked closely with The Beatles and performed on various tracks with the band, with arguably his best known Beatles collaboration being While My Guitar Gently Weeps. He also worked with each member of the band on seperate solo projects.

After Cream disbanded, Eric went on to perform in the bands Blind Faith and Derek and the Dominos, which is where he penned the hit song Layla (inspired by his infatuation with George Harrison's wife Pattie Boyd).

In the late seventies, following personal struggles with addiction Clapton began his solo journey and spent the eighties performing with a huge variety of musicians. Following a personal loss in the nineties Clapton penned the emotional acoustic ballad Tears In Heaven which received six Grammys and sold over 10 million copies. Clapton also went on to create the periodic festivals/benefit concerts Crossroads, which is a celebration of guitarists and has become an extremely iconic event in its own right.