Eric Patrick Clapton, CBE (born 30 March 1945) is an English rock and blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist and separately as a member of the Yardbirds and of Cream. Clapton has been referred to as one of the most important and influential guitarists of all time. Clapton ranked second in Rolling Stone‘s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” and fourth in Gibson’s “Top 50 Guitarists of All Time”.He was also named number five in Time magazine’s list of “The 10 Best Electric Guitar Players” in 2009.
After playing in a number of different local bands, Clapton joined the Yardbirds in 1963, replacing founding guitarist Top Topham. Dissatisfied with the change of the Yardbirds sound from blues rock to a more radio-friendly pop rock sound, Clapton left the Yardbirds in 1965 to play with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, with whom he played on one album. After leaving Mayall in 1966, Clapton formed the power trio Cream with drummer Ginger Baker and bassist Jack Bruce, in which Clapton played sustained blues improvisations and “arty, blues-based psychedelic pop”. After Cream broke up, he formed blues rock band Blind Faith with Baker, Steve Winwood, and Ric Grech, recording one album and performing on one tour before they broke up, leading Clapton to embark on a solo career in 1970. Alongside his solo career, he also performed with Delaney & Bonnie and Derek and the Dominos, with whom he recorded “Layla”, one of his signature songs.
He continued to record a number of successful solo albums and songs over the next several decades, including a 1974 cover of Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff” (which helped reggae reach a mass market.), the country-infused Slowhand album (1977) and the pop rock of 1986’s August. Following the death of his son Conor in 1991, Clapton’s grief was expressed in the song “Tears in Heaven”, which appeared on his Unplugged album, and in 1996 he had another top-40 hit with the R&B crossover “Change The World”, and in 1998 released the Grammy award-winning “My Father’s Eyes”. Since 1999, he has recorded a number of traditional blues and blues rock albums and hosted the periodic Crossroads Guitar Festival. His most recent studio album is 2018’s Happy Xmas.
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