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» » Clapton, Eric

Clapton, Eric by Eric Clapton

Clapton, Eric
Clapton, Eric
Eric Clapton
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Music Sales Ltd. (1992)
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  • komandante
Eric does a great job of recalling every major phase of his life, even the 'lost years' of near obligatory heroin addiction. The work is almost inspirational, as Clapton exudes positive vibes towards the full range of rock legends and near legends. The blues take center stage and Clapton cites nearly every major bluesman as an influence. Although Clapton references his god-like stature among guitar leads, one never gets the sense of a swollen ego. If anything, he seems to downplay his virtuoso status. Unlike Richards in 'Life', Clapton does not spend much time on the technical aspects of playing or on musical innovations he pioneered. My favorite song, Badge, barely gets a mention, and even Sunshine of Your Love is a passing paragraph. And don't expect Clapton to dish much dirt; he doesn't have a harsh word to say about anyone, even those he parted with under bitter circumstances. Clapton seems to realize he didn't really grow up until he was in his late 40's, and many women suffered from his self-serving childishness. I found the constant positivity to be a bit forced, likely the result of 20 years as a successfully recovering addict. I feel I know Clapton better, but there is a certain lack of dimension to this self portrait.
  • Wen
I’m a lifelong Eric Clapton fan, though I can’t say I like everything he puts out. I am familiar with all stages of his musical career, but prior to reading his 2007 autobiography entitled Clapton I knew very little about his personal life other than disjointed anecdotes here and there. In this book, the guitarist extraordinaire offers a candid look back at his roller coaster life. Overall, it’s a pretty satisfying tour through about a half century of rock and roll history. I may not always have enjoyed the ride that Clapton took me on, but I was always thoroughly engaged by it.

Perhaps the defining moment in Clapton’s life is his much-discussed romance with George Harrison’s wife Patti Boyd, the inspiration for the Layla album and other songs in Clapton’s body of work. That particular episode proves not to be quite as romantic as the music that was composed around it. Here Clapton admits that as soon as he won Boyd’s love he began cheating on her. In fact, Clapton treats a lot of women like dirt in this book, and delves pretty deeply into the psychological hows and whys of it all. To his credit, however, unlike Pete Townshend in his autobiography Who I Am, Clapton doesn’t ask you to forgive him, beg you to like him, or expect you to admire his exploits. He simply relates everything in a matter-of-fact way, as if to say these are some bad things I’ve done, and there’s nothing I can do about them now.

Clapton is equally candid about his substance abuse, and his story of recovery is inspiring. One can’t help but admire the way he eventually turned his life around. Yet the book is frustrating because for most of its length he is still very much an emotional child. He doesn’t really get his act together until his mid-50s, when he marries a woman 30 years his junior. At that point you’re happy for him, but the book also starts to get boring as Clapton becomes your grandpa, talking about “computer culture” (owning a laptop), shopping for shoes in Japan, and the necessity of taking a nap every afternoon.

As revealing and cathartic as all the talk about his drug use and alcoholism may be, the reader is left wishing Clapton had devoted more ink to his music. He covers Blind Faith, Cream, and Derek and the Dominos pretty well, but glosses over much of his solo career. He left the Yardbirds because their music was too poppy and not true to the blues, but he doesn’t feel the need to justify his later forays into easy listening, smooth jazz, and Luther Vandross-style R&B. Some of his greatest albums, like Slowhand, he dismisses as sloppy, drunken playing. His own personal favorite is Pilgrim, an album which critics frequently cite as one of his all-time worst.

A really good rock and roll biography will make me want to go back and dig out that artist’s old albums, thereby reliving some of his or her glory days. This book didn’t do that for me. As much as I love his guitar playing, I’d have to say my respect for the man diminished a bit after reading his life story. Not only were some of his moral choices off-putting, but he just doesn’t come across as intelligent as you might expect a virtuoso musician to be. I’m not here to criticize Clapton’s life, however, but rather to review his book. There’s no denying that Clapton the book is well written and covers a lot of what you’d want to know about the man. It isn’t always fun or exciting, but it’s consistently informative, surprisingly candid, and provides a great deal of insight into the man behind the music.
  • Mpapa
This book is a gift to music history in telling an honest story of life lived in absurdity. Words rang true for me. To prefer to be in the shadows and yet able to practice the enumerable hours for proficiency through all the hailstorms of drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, cynical joking, dangerous chance taking, sex and unrelenting touring and recording schedules.......... This makes sense to me. Sat on 3 rd row of Factory in Phila. In 1968 and he would face away from audience and sometimes connect in a nod to Jack or Ginger. Thank you for sharing your gift even when it hurt you to do so. Sorry it hurt so much and thank God you are living life now.
  • Kajishakar
I had seen Clapton while he was out of his skull on heroin, downward, and booze. I hated that he ruined the music, because of his self-indulgence. Even then, I knew Clapton was out of control and robbed the blues in exchange for instant gratification. He was suicidal, in my opinion. I couldn't understand then dependency and enabling behaviors. Years later and after having an understanding of mental health issues stemming from childhood, I understood how loved ones get caught up in the user's tsunamis. I saw Clapton a few years after Conor's fall and believed that he was either going to chose to live or die.
This book should be on a list for anyone who faces addiction or dependency. The people who love the user give up living for themselves and become the caregivers. Clapton was as honest as he could be about his emotional pain and downward spiral, giving others a path to sobriety.
Getting clean is easy but staying sober is a lifelong commitment and requires work.
Thank you Eric for keeping a journal and telling a story that is filled with the music of life. You are correct when you say spiritual belief and music will always be heard.