Five For Friday: Eric Clapton (One Guy, Multiple Acts)

Eric Clapton has been playing professionally for almost 60 years. To try and present samples of each musical project he’s been a part of in that long a period of time would be practically impossible. I finally realized that the best I can do is present some of his music from his early career, say during the ’60’s and ’70’s. So that’s what I’ll do…

  1. The Yardbirds, "Louise"/"I Wish You Would": Clapton played with The Yardbirds from their inception through March 25, 1965 (my ninth birthday), the day their breakthrough single, "For Your Love," was released. "Artistic differences" caused him to leave: he was more of a blues purist, and wanted to do more than record three-minute singles for Top 40 radio. This clip is from 1964, and he’s standing at the left of your screen if you’re looking straight at the band, and he’s in the foreground when looking from the side.
  2. Cream, "Crossroads": After a couple of years with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, he was invited by drummer Ginger Baker to join his yet-to-be-formed band. Clapton agreed, provided Baker hired bassist Jack Bruce. Baker was hesitant, because he and Bruce had both been in the Graham Bond Organisation and never saw eye-to-eye there, but he agreed. "Crossroads" is a Robert Johnson song that Cream covered on their 1968 album Disraeli Gears. Released as a single in January 1969, it reached #28 on the Hot 100.
  3. Blind Faith, "Can’t Find My Way Home": Clapton and Traffic’s Steve Winwood started jamming together after both Cream and Traffic disbanded, and with the addition of Baker and bassist Ric Grech decided to form Blind Faith. They lasted one album and one tour before splitting up in early 1970. "Can’t Find My Way Home" was written by Winwood for the group’s eponymous 1969 album. This live version is from a 1969 concert in Hyde Park, the band’s first.
  4. Derek & The Dominoes, "Bell Bottom Blues": Clapton, keyboardist Bobby Whitlock, bassist Carl Radle, and drummer Jim Gordon had met while working with Delaney & Bonnie and Friends. They became Derek & The Dominoes when they played on George Harrison’s 1970 album All Things Must Pass. They released just one studio album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, joined by Dave Mason on guitar on some tracks and Duane Allman on lead and slide guitars. The album received critical acclaim but didn’t sell well. "Bell Bottom Blues" was the first single, released in January 1971; it only reached #91 on the Hot 100 the first time it was released, while reaching #79 on its re-release with Jimi Hendrix’s "Little Wing" as the B side.
  5. Eric Clapton, "Forever Man": To represent his solo career, I chose this song from 1985. From his ninth studio album, Behind The Sun, this was also his first music video. It topped the Mainstream Rock Airplay chart and sold over half a million copies.

And that’s Five For Friday for October 16, 2020. (And a happy 66th anniversary to my parents. Hope they’re celebrating.)

17 thoughts on “Five For Friday: Eric Clapton (One Guy, Multiple Acts)

  1. Hi John – certainly one of the best we’ve had the privilege of listening to over our lives … thanks for the overview – take care – Hilary

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