skip navigation
Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Recent DVDs

The Color of Money ... Fast Eddie Felson is back in action when he takes ona young, aggressive protege... more info $6.95was $6.25 Buy Now

Patch Adams ... Robin Williams stars in this hilarious comedy with heart. Based on the true... more info $5.95was $5.98 Buy Now

Also Known As: Eric Patrick Clapton Died:
Born: March 30, 1945 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Surrey, England, GB Profession: musician, singer, composer, construction worker

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

ear sent him into a drug-fueled tailspin that lasted throughout the Dominos¿ sole tour. An abortive attempt at a second record crashed due to band conflicts, and Clapton soon left the act for self-imposed exile in Surrey. There, he slipped into serious heroin addiction, which took him out of the music scene for the better part of the next two years.Who guitarist Pete Townshend organized an all-star concert in 1973 to rally Clapton and revive his career. The "Rainbow Concert," as it became known, featured an all-star band behind Clapton, including Pete Townshend, Small Faces (and future Rolling Stones) guitarist Ronnie Wood, Winwood and Grech. The positive response to the performance and its subsequent live album pushed Clapton to beat his heroin addiction and return to performing. Another source of inspiration was his relationship with Patti Boyd, who had left Harrison with his blessing to be with Clapton. After assembling a new band that included Radle, drummer Jamie Oldaker and vocalists Yvonne Elliman and Marcy Levy, Clapton commenced work on his second solo album, 461 Ocean Boulevard (1974), which derived its name from the Florida home where Clapton lived while recording the album. Its rendition...

ear sent him into a drug-fueled tailspin that lasted throughout the Dominos¿ sole tour. An abortive attempt at a second record crashed due to band conflicts, and Clapton soon left the act for self-imposed exile in Surrey. There, he slipped into serious heroin addiction, which took him out of the music scene for the better part of the next two years.

Who guitarist Pete Townshend organized an all-star concert in 1973 to rally Clapton and revive his career. The "Rainbow Concert," as it became known, featured an all-star band behind Clapton, including Pete Townshend, Small Faces (and future Rolling Stones) guitarist Ronnie Wood, Winwood and Grech. The positive response to the performance and its subsequent live album pushed Clapton to beat his heroin addiction and return to performing. Another source of inspiration was his relationship with Patti Boyd, who had left Harrison with his blessing to be with Clapton. After assembling a new band that included Radle, drummer Jamie Oldaker and vocalists Yvonne Elliman and Marcy Levy, Clapton commenced work on his second solo album, 461 Ocean Boulevard (1974), which derived its name from the Florida home where Clapton lived while recording the album. Its rendition of Bob Marley¿s reggae classic "I Shot the Sheriff" rose to No. 1 on the singles chart, as did the album itself, cementing Clapton¿s comeback.

The gentle tone of 461 Ocean Boulevard, which emphasized a full band over Clapton¿s guitar and ballads instead of hard rock, informed his next few releases. However, There¿s One in Every Crowd (1975), the live LP E.C. Was Here (1975) and No Reason to Cry (1976) fared only moderately well in comparison. He rebounded with 1977¿s Slowhand, which reached No. 2 on the Billboard chart with three hit singles, including the wistful "Wonderful Tonight," "Lay Down Sally" and the J.J. Cale-penned "Cocaine." After contributing to the Band¿s farewell performance, which was captured on film by Martin Scorsese as "The Last Waltz" (1976), he produced two more Top 10 singles: "Promises," from his 1978 album, Backless, and "I Can¿t Stand It," from Another Ticket (1981). Though life appeared to be on the right track for Clapton, who finally married Boyd in 1979, a growing problem with alcohol spurred Clapton to seek treatment the following year. His career was put on hold until 1983, which saw the release of Money and Cigarettes and its Top 20 single, "I¿ve Got a Rock and Roll Heart." Clapton himself was dissatisfied with the record, and delved into sideman work with Roger Waters on the former Pink Floyd leader¿s The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking (1984). After performing at the Live Aid event in 1985, he returned to solo work with Behind the Sun (1985), his first of two records with Phil Collins as producer. The album was a highly polished, pop-friendly affair that left many listeners cold, despite a string of hits, including "It¿s In the Way That You Use It," which was featured in Martin Scorsese¿s "The Color of Money" (1985). Clapton drew further criticism for recording a new version of "After Midnight" for a Michelob beer commercial.

The year 1989 saw the release of the retrospective box set Crossroads, which compiled music from the many facets of his career up to that point. It spurred one of Clapton¿s best solo efforts in years, Journeyman, which arrived at a difficult point in the musician¿s personal life. A series of affairs, which had produced two children, came to light in the late `80s, prompting Boyd to divorce Clapton in 1988. The death of Clapton¿s friend, fellow guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughn, in 1990 further darkened matters, but the death of his son, Conor, by Italian model Lory Del Santo, left him in a state of extreme depression. The boy, who fell from a window at his mother¿s high-rise apartment in 1991, spurred Clapton to pen "Tears in Heaven," which appeared on his soundtrack for the thriller "Rush" (1992) and earned him six Grammy Awards.

He remained inactive as a recording artist for the next three years, preferring to devote his attention to live performance, including an epic 32-night stand at the Royal Albert Hall in 1990 and 1991, and Bob Dylan¿s 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration in 1992 ¿ the same year Clapton was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Yardbirds. The following year, he was inducted a second time as a member of Cream. From the Cradle arrived in 1994 with a set list of classic blues songs that reaped both critical and commercial acclaim. That same year, Clapton was made an Officer of the British Empire for his contributions to music. A second volume of Crossroads devoted to his live shows in the 1970s, followed, as did a curious collaboration with keyboardist Simon Climie on the ambient/trip-hop album Retail Therapy (1997), for which Clapton was billed as "X-Sample." The duo reunited for Pilgrim (1998), which generated a Grammy-winning hit single with "My Father¿s Eyes."

Clapton became the only artist to be inducted three times into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when he was nominated as a solo artist in 2000. He then teamed with longtime inspiration B.B. King for the blues album Riding with the King (2000) before releasing his Top 10 solo effort Reptile, which featured Billy Preston on organ and the Impressions as his backing vocalist. The following year, he served as musical director for The Concert for George, a tribute to his friend George Harrison, who had succumbed in 2001 to cancer. A pair of tribute albums to seminal blues performer Robert Johnson was released in 2004, the same year Clapton was promoted to Commander of the British Empire, before he reunited with Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker for a series of Cream concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in London. That historic event was followed by the band¿s receipt of the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as another reunion, this time with singer-songwriter J.J. Cale for The Road to Escondido (2006). Clapton released his self-titled memoirs in 2007, the same year that a Montreal newspaper¿s investigation into Clapton¿s father, Edward Fryer, learned that he was a former musician as well as a drifter who had married several times and fathered a daughter. Fryer died in 1985 without apparently ever knowing that his son was Eric Clapton.

In 2008, Clapton reunited with Steve Winwood for a concert at Madison Square Garden before embarking on a 14-city tour of North America the following year and subsequent jaunts through Europe and Japan. Clapton was scheduled to appear at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame¿s 25th anniversary concert in 2009, but was forced to cancel due to gallstone surgery. The following year, he toured with fellow former Yardbird Jeff Beck before releasing his 20th studio album, Clapton (2010). The album, comprised largely of jazz standards and blues traditionals, was warmly received by critics and reached No. 6 on the Billboard albums chart. He toured Europe, South America and Japan throughout 2011 before returning to the United States to pay tribute to bluesman Hubert Sumlin, the legendary guitarist for Howlin¿ Wolf, at a 2012 concert in New York which also featured Keith Richards and Allman Brothers Band guitarist Derek Trucks.

By Paul Gaitam into a tailspin of unrequited affection that produced the Dominos¿ sole studio effort, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (1970). Inspired in part by Persian author Nizarni Ganjavi¿s The Story of Layla and Majnun, about a man who loses his mind over his love for an unavailable woman, the record produced one of rock¿s most passionate songs in its title track, which also featured ferocious slide guitar by Duane Allman of the Allman Brothers. The album was released to mixed reviews, which crushed Clapton¿s spirit. The subsequent death of Jimi Hendrix that same y

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

3.
4.
6.
7.
 Concert For George (2003) Himself--Musical Director
9.
 Blues Brothers 2000 (1998) Guitar--The Louisiana Gator Boys Band
10.
 Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus, The (1995) The Dirty Mac--Band Member
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Received first guitar from grandmother
1963:
Worked with Tom McGuinness (later of Manfred Mann) in first band the Roosters
1963:
Worked seven-gig stint with Top 40 band Casey Jones and the Engineers
1963:
Played with Yardbirds until they traded power blues for psychedelic pop
1964:
Made recording debut with album <i>Five Live Yardbirds</i>
1965:
Joined John Mayall's Bluesbreakers; also with Mayall, participated in studio band Powerhouse, which included Jack Bruce and Steve Winwood
1966:
After leaving the Bluesbreakers, formed Cream with Bruce and Ginger Baker; recorded rock classics like "Sunshine of Your Love" (which would grace 1994 feature "True Lies") and "Crossroads"
1968:
Cream broke up
1968:
Formed short-lived supergroup Blind Faith with Baker, Winwood, and Rick Grech; embraced Christianity during U.S. tour, which he has given up and reaffirmed periodically since
1970:
Worked with Delaney and Bonnie
1970:
Recorded first solo album <i>Eric Clapton</i>, which yielded U.S. hit "After Midnight"
1970:
Formed Derek and the Dominos with Carl Radle, Jim Gordon, and Bobby Whitlock, all former Delaney and Bonnie sidemen; released group's only studio album <i>Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs</i>
1970:
Retreated to isolation of his Surrey home to battle heroin addiction
1971:
Played at benefit concert for Bangladesh
1973:
Began comeback with a concert at London's Rainbow Theatre
1974:
Released <i>461 Ocean Boulevard</i>; scored No. 1 hit single with cover of Bob Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff"
1974:
Provided music along with Brian Ahern and Van Morrison for Canadian film "Slipstream"
1975:
Made acting debut as The Preacher in "Tommy"
1981:
Had Top 10 hit with "I Can't Stand It"; song would later resurface in feature film "Georgia" (1995)
1981:
Hospitalized briefly for alcoholism
1985:
Received Grammy nomination for his contribution to "Back to the Future"
1987:
Wrote (along with Michael Kamen) music for "Lethal Weapon"; Clapton and Kamen (with David Sanborn) would also score "Lethal Weapon 2" (1989) and "Lethal Weapon 3" (1992)
1991:
Scored feature film "Rush"; included performance of Grammy-winning song "Tears In Heaven" inspired by death of his son Conor
1992:
Released <i>Unplugged</i> album (from "MTV Unplugged" series); included "Tears In Heaven" and acoustic version of "Layla"
1994:
Payed homage to blues heroes of his youth with <i>From the Cradle</i>, an album of blues covers
1997:
Won three Grammy Awards for single "Change the World" from drama feature "Phenomenon" soundtrack
1997:
Provided music for Gary Oldman's directorial debut "Nil By Mouth"
1998:
Performed in "Blues Brothers 2000" finale with B.B. King (also Steve Winwood, Lou Rawls, and Jimmie Vaughn)
1998:
Announced plans to open an alcohol and drug treatment center in Antigua, West Indies
2000:
Inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as solo artist
2001:
Released 15th studio album <i>Reptile</i>
2004:
Released two records packed full of covers by legendary bluesman Robert Johnson titled <i>Me & Mr Johnson</i>
2005:
Released first album of new original material in nearly five years <i>Back Home</i>
2006:
Released collaboration with guitar legend J.J. Cale titled <i>The Road to Escondido</i>
2010:
Debuted at No. 6 on <i>Billboard</i> chart with <i>Clapton</i>, featuring Grammy-nominated track "Run Back to Your Side"
2013:
Released 20th studio album <i>Old Sock</i>, featuring two new compositions, and guest artists Steve Winwood and Paul McCartney
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Kingston College of Art: -
Hollyfield School: -

Notes

Drummer and co-writer of "Layla", Jim Gordon was serving time for the murder of his mother when "Layla" won the Grammy as Best Rock Song of 1993.

Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.

Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in June 2001.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Patricia Anne Boyd Harrison. Married in 1979, divorced in 1988; ex-wife of former Beatle George Harrison; inspiration for Clapton's song "Layla".
companion:
Yvonne Kellyn. Had relationship with Clapton in 1983; mother of his daughter Ruth.
companion:
Lori Del Santo. TV actor. Born c. 1959; Italian; mother of Clapton's late son Conor.
wife:
Melia McEnery. Graphic artist. Born c. 1976; mother of Clapton's daugter Julie; married on January 1, 2002 in Ripley, England.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

grandmother:
Rose Clapp. Raised Clapton as a son; first husband's last name was Clapton.
grandfather:
Jack Clapp. Grandmother's second husband; raised Clapton as his son son.
father:
Edward Fryer. Canadian soldier.
mother:
Patricia Molly Clapton. Beleived his mother was his older sister until he was nine years old.
half-brother:
Ted Rich. Guitarist. Father, Edward Fryer; Canadian newspapers discovered Rich's relationship with Clapton and reported it; Rich is now a heroin addict living in Vancouver.
daughter:
Ruth Patricia Clapton. Born in 1984; mother, Yvonne Kellyn; baptized in ceremony on January 1, 2002 when father married Melia McEnery.
son:
Conor Clapton. Born in August 1986; died as a result of a fall from the 53rd floor of a NYC condo at age 4 and a half on March 20, 1991.
daughter:
Julie Rose Clapton. Born on June 13, 2001; mother, Melia McEnery; baptized in ceremony when father married mother on January 1, 2002.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute