1- Eric Clapton was born on 30 March 1945 The Green, Ripley, Surrey, England. He was the illegitimate son of Patricia Molly Clapton and a Canadian soldier stationed in England named Edward Walter Fryer. When Eric Clapton was Born His Father returned to Canada
When Walter Fryer returned to his wife in Canada, Clapton’s mother left him to be raised by his grandparents, Jack and Rose Clapp. (He received his surname from his mother’s first husband, Reginald Clapton.) Clapton was told his grandparents were his parents and his mother was his sister. He did not find out the truth until he was nine years old.
Eric was raised in a musical household. His grandmother played piano and his uncle and mother both enjoyed listening to the sounds of the big bands. Pat later told Eric’s official biographer, Ray Coleman, that his father was a gifted musician, playing piano in several dance bands in the Surrey area.
2- Quiet and polite, he was characterized as an above-average student with an aptitude for art. But, from his earliest years in school, he realized something was not quite right when he wrote his name as “Eric Clapton” and his parents’ names as “Mr. and Mrs. Clapp”. At the age of nine, he learned the truth about his parentage when Pat returned to England with his six-year-old half brother for a visit. This singular event affected him deeply and was a defining moment in his life. He became moody and distant and stopped applying himself at school. Emotionally scarred by this event, Eric failed the all-important 11 Plus Exams. He was sent to St. Bede’s Secondary Modern School and two years later, entered the art branch of Holyfield Road School.
(Eric Clapton interview and guitar demo 1968)
He received his first guitar as a present from his grandmother on his 13th birthday. (German-made Hoyer difficult to play – it had steel strings)
Sometime in 1962, he asked for his grandparents’ help in purchasing a Â£100 electric double cutaway Kay (a Gibson ES-335 clone) after hearing the electric blues of Freddie King, B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, and others.
As Clapton moved through adolescence, his love for the guitar and American blues music grew. Influenced and inspired by many of the great American blues artists, Clapton began playing almost full time.
In the process, at age 17, he failed out of Kingston College of Art, where he was studying stained glass design. He moved to London, took a manual labor job, convinced his grandparents to buy him an electric guitar, and began playing in clubs and pubs.
3- Early Bands: Roosters, The Yardbirds, and Bluesbreakers
Soon Clapton joined his first band, the Roosters, which quickly disbanded.
He played with several other British blues bands until 1963 when he joined The Yardbirds, with whom he would achieve international fame. Clapton came into the band on the recommendation of lead vocal for the band, Keith
Relf, Clapton’s former classmate from art college. Clapton recorded two albums with The Yardbirds, Five Live Yardbirds, a live album released in 1964, and For Your Love, the title track reaching number two in England in 1965. During his stint with the band, Clapton came to be known by his nickname “Slowhand” for his string-bending blues riffs. For Your Love found eager audiences in both England and the United States, and it marked The Yardbirds intentional move away from the blues in an attempt to break into the pop charts. Clapton, who wanted to remain a blues artist, barely played on the album, and in 1965 quit the band.
Almost immediately, Clapton joined John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. Mayall gave Clapton the freedom to explore his blues style, and soon Clapton’s searing blues guitar was the driving force behind the band’s popularity. In 1966 the band released Bluesbreakers: John Mayall with Eric Clapton. This album, which reached number six on the British pop charts, propelled Clapton into the spotlight and, at the age of 21, marked him as a guitar virtuoso. It was during his stint with the Bluesbreakers that fanatical fans started the chant “Clapton is God.”
4- When Clapton was only 20 years old, many people already thought of him as a guitar virtuoso. Somebody wrote on the wall of the Islington subway station: “Clapton is God.” And then many others began scrawling this graffiti all over London.
In the mid 1960s when Clapton was playing with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, a fan sprayed graffiti in Islington which read ‘Clapton is god’. A photographer snapped the image and thus the Clapton legend began growing.
5-Supergroups: Cream and Blind Faith
Clapton left the Bluesbreakers in July 1966, to form Cream with bass player Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker. Clapton desired to break out of the standard forms of rock and blues to create a new sound that allowed more experimentation and improvisation. He wanted to start a revolution in music, and the super trio of Cream did just that. After three albums (Fresh Cream, Disraeli Gears, and Wheels of Fire,) and an extensive tour of the United States, the members of Cream became superstars in the order of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. From these albums came legendary rock hits such as “White Room,” “Sunshine of Your Love,” and “Crossroads.”
Much to the dismay of their fans, the members of Cream announced in 1968 that they would part ways. Tension and strife created by three strong, creative personalities, intensified by the drug use of all three, proved to be too much for Cream. Before disbanding, Cream went on a farewell tour and, in 1969, released one last album, Goodbye, which went to number two on the charts in the United States.
Clapton’s next band, Blind Faith, became yet one more short-lived supergroup. Made up of Clapton, ex-Cream member Ginger Baker, ex-Traffic member Steve Winwood, and bassist Rick Grech, Blind Faith released just one selftitled album in July 1969. They quickly made their presence known in the music world by staging a free concert for 100,000 people in London’s Hyde Park.
But, after a six-week tour in the United States, the band called it quits. Clapton’s most lasting work with Blind Faith is the song “Presence of the Lord.” After the demise of Blind Faith, he briefly played with John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Plastic Ono Band, and then he moved on to record his first solo album, self-titled Eric Clapton. Although generally disappointing as a debut solo album, Clapton did find an audience for the song “After Midnight,” which made it into the Top 40.
6-After the demise of Cream, Clapton formed Blind Faith, his first collaboration with Steve Winwood. But this group only lasted a period of months and produced only one album. Clapton thought the group was short-lived because he refused to be the front man, and also because he was falling under the spell of their backup band, Delaney & Bonnie, his next musical liaison.