Eric Clapton : the Blues Breaker
Eric Clapton is probably most famous for his mastery of the Stratocaster guitar. Clapton was a guitarist in quite a few bands, before he first found chart success with the Yardbirds in the mid-sixties. Their single, 'For Your Love', reached number two in the UK chart in 1964. From this point on his skill as a distinctive guitarist was revered.
He joined John Mayall's Bluebreakers briefly, and then formed Cream in 1966. The unwanted fame that Clapton found in this trio led him to produce work under different names. He and George Harrison worked together under the names Delaney and Bonnie. It was whilst he was part of Derek and the Dominos that he wrote one of his most famous tracks, 'Layla'.
He was a popular guest guitarist and worked with artists such as The Beatles, Aretha Franklin and Frank Zappa. He released his first solo album, entitled 'Eric Clapton', in 1970. This showed the strong influence of JJ Cale on his work.
Throughout the early seventies he was battling with heroin addiction, which he overcame through acupuncture and a short retirement.
His next solo album of 1974 was entitled '461 Ocean Boulevard' and again showed off his mellow guitar playing. His version of Bob Marley's 'I Shot the Sheriff' was on this album, and reached number one as a single.
He continued his solo recordings in the seventies and eighties with albums such as 'No Reason To Cry', 'Backless' and 'Behind The Sun'. Phil Collins produced his 1986 album, 'August',which was said to be his best work in years.
In the early nineties Clapton was struck by tragedy; three members of his crew were killed in a helicopter crash, and his young son died in another tragic accident within a year.
He has continued to play and record, and his 1997 album, 'Pilgrim', was critically acclaimed.
Although Clapton's musical style has varied throughout his career, it has always remained rooted in the blues. Clapton is credited as an innovator in several phases of his career, which have included blues rock (with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers and The Yardbirds) and hard rock (with Cream). Clapton has also achieved great chart success in genres ranging from Delta blues (Me and Mr. Johnson) and bluegrass ("Lay Down Sally") to pop ("Change the World") and reggae ("I Shot the Sheriff").
Clapton is currently on his 2006-2007 world tour with good friend and longtime tourmate, Robert Cray as his supporting act.
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