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Eric Patrick Clapton was born on 30 March 1945 in his grandparents' home in Surrey, England. He was the son of 16-year-old Patricia Molly Clapton (b. 7 January 1929, d. March 1999) and Edward Walter Fryer (b. 21 March 1920, d. 1985), a 24-year-old Canadian soldier stationed in England during World War II. Before Eric was born, Fryer returned to his wife in Canada.
It was extraordinarily difficult for an unmarried 16-year-old to raise a child on her own in the mid-1940s. Pat's parents, Rose and Jack Clapp, stepped in as surrogate parents and raised Eric as their own. Thus, he grew up believing his mother was his sister. His grandparents never legally adopted him, but remained his legal guardians until 1963. Eric's last name comes from Rose's first husband and Pat's father, Reginald Cecil Clapton (d. 1933).
Eric spent his early days in music busking around Richmond and Kingston, he also began spending time in London and the West End. In early 1963, 17 year-old Eric joined his first band, The Roosters. Following the band's demise in August 1963, he spent one month in the pop-oriented Casey Jones and The Engineers. Before turning to music as a full-time career, he supported himself as a laborer at building sites, working alongside his grandfather, a master bricklayer and plasterer.
In October 1963, Keith Relf and Paul Samwell-Smith recruited him to become a member of The Yardbirds because Clapton was the most talked about guitar player on the R&B pub circuit. During his 18-month tenure with The Yardbirds, he earned his nickname, Slowhand, and recorded his first albums: Five Live Yardbirds and Sonny Boy Williamson and The Yardbirds. The band also recorded the single, "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl". But, Eric had not abandoned his serious research into the American Blues. When The Yardbirds began moving towards a more commercial sound with "For Your Love", he quit. His path in music was the blues.
In April 1965, John Mayall invited Eric to join his band, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. With this group, Clapton established his reputation as a guitarist and earned his second nickname: "God". It came from an admirer's graffiti on the wall of London's Islington Tube Station that boldly proclaimed "Clapton is God." Eric's time with the band was turbulent and he left for a while to tour Greece with friends. Upon his return from Greece, Eric rejoined the Bluesbreakers. It was during this time that the now classic Blues Breakers With Eric Clapton was recorded. While with the Bluesbreakers, Eric also recorded a one-off four-track session with a band dubbed "The Powerhouse". This studio band included John Paul Jones, Steve Winwood and Jack Bruce.
After leaving the Bluesbreakers for a second and final time in July 1966, Eric teamed up with Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker to form Cream. Extensive touring in the U.S. and three solid albums - Fresh Cream, Disraeli Gears, and Wheels of Fire - brought the band worldwide acclaim. While a member of Cream, he cemented his reputation as rock's premier guitarist and was elevated to superstar status. Although Cream was together for only two years, they are considered one of the most influential rock groups of the modern era. Clapton was unique because he did not simply replicate the blues riffs he heard on records. He incorporated the emotion of the original performances into his own style of playing, thus expanding the vocabulary of blues guitar. Cream crumbled beneath the weight of the member's egos and constant arguing. They disbanded after two final performances at London's Royal Albert Hall on 26 November 1968.
Following Cream's break-up, Clapton founded Blind Faith - rock's first "supergroup" - with Steve Winwood, Ginger Baker, and Rick Grech. Disbanding after one album and a disastrous American tour, Eric tried to hide from his growing fame by touring as a sideman with Delaney & Bonnie & Friends. While with this outfit, Eric was encouraged to sing by Delaney Bramlett. He also began composing more. A live album from the Delaney & Bonnie tour was released in 1970. Clapton's self-titled debut was released that same year.
In the summer of 1970, Eric formed Derek and the Dominos with Jim Gordon, Carl Radle and Bobby Whitlock from Delaney & Bonnie's band . The Dominos would go on to record the seminal rock album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. A concept album, its theme revolved around Clapton's unrequited love for George Harrison's wife, Patti. The band would drift apart following an American tour and a failed attempt at recording a second album.
Hit hard by the break up of The Dominos, the commercial failure of the Layla album and his unrequited love, Eric sunk into three years of heroin addiction. Although he rarely emerged from his Surrey Estate, he filled box upon box with tapes of songs. He kicked his drug addiction and re-launched his career in January 1973 with two concerts at London's Rainbow Theater organized by his friend, Pete Townshend (The Who). The concerts represented a turning point in his career. In 1974, he reappeared with a new style and sound with 461 Ocean Boulevard. Eric had become an assured vocalist and composer in addition to a guitar hero.
With each album after 461 Ocean Boulevard, Eric reinvented himself musically. Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, albums and tours would follow year in and year out. In 1985, Clapton found a new audience following his performance at the worldwide charity concert, Live Aid. Annual stands at the Royal Albert Hall and successful albums like August, Journeyman and the Crossroads box set kept him well in the public mind. In the late 80s, he carved out a second career as the composer of film scores. His career went from strength to strength and reached new heights in 1992 with the release of Unplugged and the Grammy winning single, "Tears In Heaven."
Eric Patrick Clapton CBE (born 30 March 1945) is an English blues-rock guitarist, singer, songwriter and composer. He is "probably most famous for his mastery of the Stratocaster guitar." Clapton has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Yardbirds, of Cream, and as a solo performer, being the only person to be inducted three times. Often viewed by critics and fans alike as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, Clapton was ranked fourth in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" and #53 on their list of the Immortals: 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
Although Clapton has varied his musical style throughout his career, it has always remained grounded in the blues. Yet, in spite of this focus, he is credited as an innovator in a wide variety of genres. These include blues-rock (with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers and the Yardbirds) and psychedelic rock (with Cream). Additionally, Clapton's chart success was not limited to the blues, with chart-toppers in Delta Blues (Me and Mr. Johnson), pop ("Change the World") and reggae (Bob Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff"). One of his most successful recordings was the hit love song "Layla," which he played with the band Derek and the Dominos. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Clapton