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You Never Knew About Eric Clapton | Eric Clapton

Article from Making Music, September 1986

The first band Clapton ever appeared in (not long after getting his first guitar aged 16) was called the Roosters. None of the band had ever used an amp before.

Early jobs included laying floors, supporting Manfred Mann at the Marquee, and arguing over getting paid a tenner for it.

The Yardbirds began as an art school band, The Metropolitans.

Clapton often said he wasn't interested in commercial success, proving it by quitting the Yardbirds after they'd finally got to No 4 with 'For Your Love' and appeared twice on Top Of The Pops.

John Mayall asked him to join the Bluesbreakers on the strength of hearing just one solo.

Innocent Eric once had to be smuggled out of Greece by the rest of the holiday band he was touring with. It was shortly after he'd left the Yardbirds and the Greek bosses suddenly found out who they had playing in their hotels. They were keen to see him stay.

Secret rehearsals for Cream were going on while Clapton was still with John Mayall. Baker had approached him with the idea.

And he called it "woman tone"... that was the man's description of his unique sustained sound.

There was one summer when British youth abandoned its fuzzy beards and long hair for clean chins and afros. They were following Clapton's example, and he got it from Dylan.

The break from Cream was partly prompted by The Band's album "Music From The Big Pink". Listening to it constantly on tour convinced Eric that the future was in a more flexible line up.

After the break up, Jack Bruce used to stipulate in contracts that there should be no reference to his previous band. He cancelled one gig because the poster described him as "Ex-Cream". Sorry, that was a Bruce fact.

After Cream came Blind Faith who, following much pre-publicity, were to debut at a free concert before 150,000 people in Hyde Park. By 9.00 that morning there was already 7,000 people waiting. The set, by a noticeably reserved band, was a flop. American audiences used to greet Blind Faith gigs with the chorus "louder".

At one point Clapton hatched a scheme for a tribute album to Buddy Holly, planning to cover many of his lesser known songs. It was tentatively christened "Buddy's B Sides", but never made it to vinyl.

The guitarist is supposedly terrible at keeping his own records. He once 'requisitioned' the set an interviewer had brought along for reference, because he didn't even have a copy of his own solo LP.

"Layla" was written about George Harrison's wife Patti, whom Clapton had fallen in love with. She first declined his advances, but later left Harrison to marry Clapton in 1979.

Many Clapton watchers point to the public's lack of enthusiasm over the "Layla" album as a turning point for the guitarist. Following its merely modest success he barely played for three years, and took a lot of drugs. The rescue began when Pete Townshend organised some testimonial gigs.

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Publisher: Making Music - Track Record Publishing Ltd, Nexus Media Ltd.

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Making Music - Sep 1986


Eric Clapton



Related Artists:

Albert Lee


Previous article in this issue:

> More Bassic Chords

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> Bo Regard

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