Eric Clapton Tickets for Sale
By the time Eric Clapton launched his solo career with the release of his self-titled debut album in mid-1970, he was long established as one of the world's major rock stars due to his group affiliations the Yardbirds, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Cream, and Blind Faith affiliations that had demonstrated his claim to being the best rock guitarist of his generation. That it took Clapton so long to go out on his own, however, was evidence of a degree of reticence unusual for one of his stature.
The Layla LP was actually recorded by a five-piece version of the group, thanks to the unplanned addition of slide guitar virtuoso Duane Allman. A few days into the sessions, producer Tom Dowd invited Clapton to an Allman Brothers concert in Miami (he was also producing the Allmans). The two guitarists -- who previously knew each other only by reputation -- met backstage after the show, then both bands repaired to the studio to jam (an impromptu session which, happily, was captured on tape). Clapton and Allman 'fell in love' with each other's playing and became instant friends, so Allman was invited to become the fifth member of The Dominos. (These studio jams were eventually released as part of the 3-CD 20th-anniversary adition of the Layla album.)
When Allman and Clapton met, The Dominos had already recorded three tracks (I Looked Away, Bell Bottom Blues and Keep On Growing); Allman debuted on the fourth cut, Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out, and contributed some of his most sublime slide-guitar playing to the remainder of the LP. The album was heavily blues-influenced and featured a winning combination of the twin guitars of Allman and Clapton, with Allman's incendiary slide-guitar a key ingredient of the sound. It showcased some of Clapton's strongest material to date, as well as arguably some of his best guitar playing, with Whitlock also contributing several superb numbers, and a powerful soul-influenced voice.
But tragedy dogged the group throughout its brief career. During the sessions, Clapton was devastated by news of the death of Jimi Hendrix; the band cut a blistering version of Little Wing as a tribute to him which was added to the album. Then, only months later, and just before the start of the Dominos' first US tour (which he was slated to join), Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident. Adding to Clapton's woes, the Layla album received only lukewarm reviews on release.
The shattered group undertook a US tour. Despite Clapton's later admission that the tour took place amidst a veritable blizzard of drugs and alcohol, it resulted in the surprisingly strong live double album In Concert. But the group disintegrated messily in London just as they commenced recording for their second LP. Although Radle worked with Clapton for several more years, the split between Clapton and Whitlock was apparently a bitter one, and they never worked together again. Another tragic footnote to the Dominos story was the fate of drummer Jim Gordon, who was an undiagnosed schizophrenic -- some years later, during a psychotic episode, he murdered his mother with a hammer and was confined to a mental institution, where he remains today.
Despite his success, Clapton's personal life was in a mess by 1972. In addition to his (temporarily) unrequited and intense romantic longing for Pattie Boyd-Harrison, he withdrew from recording and touring and became addicted to heroin, resulting in a career hiatus interrupted only by the Concert for Bangladesh and the 'Rainbow Concert' in 1973 (see 1973 in music), organized by The Who's Pete Townshend to help Clapton kick the drug.
Clapton returned the favor by playing 'The Preacher' in Ken Russell's film version of The Who's Tommy in 1975; his appearance in the film (performing Eyesight To The Blind) is notable for the fact that he is clearly wearing a fake beard in some shots -- the result of him unthinkingly shaving off his beard between takes!
Relatively clean again, Clapton put together a strong new touring band that included Radle, British blues guitarist George Terry, drummer Jamie Oldaker and vocalists Yvonne Elliman and Marcy Levy (later better known as Marcella Detroit of 80s pop duo Shakespeare's Sister). They toured the world and subsequently released the superb 1975 live LP, 'E.C. Was Here.
Clapton released 461 Ocean Boulevard (1974), an album with the emphasis on songs rather than musicianship. His cover-version of 'I Shot The Sheriff' was a major hit and was important in bringing reggae and the music of Bob Marley to a wider audience. He also championed the work of singer-songwriter-guitarist J.J.Cale.
The 1975 album There's One In Every Crowd continued this trend. (Its original intended title The World's Greatest Guitar Player (There's One In Every Crowd) was altered, as it was felt the ironic intention would be missed.) He continued to release albums sporadically and toured regularly, but much of his output from this period was deliberately low-key and failed to find the wide acceptance of his earlier work.
In 1976 Clapton was the centre of controversy, and accusations of racism, when he spoke out against increasing immigration, during a concert in Birmingham. Clapton said that England had 'become overcrowded', and implored the crowd to vote for Enoch Powell to stop Britain becoming 'a black colony.' The comments would directly motivate the foundation of Rock Against Racism. Despite the damage to his career and reputation caused, Clapton has always steadfastly refused to distance himself from the remarks and denied there was any contradiction between his political views and his career based on an essentially black musical form.
The late 1970s saw Clapton struggle to come to terms with the changes in popular music, and a relapse into alcoholism, that eventually saw him hospitalized and spend a period of convalescence in Antigua, where he would later support the creation of a drugs and alcohol rehabilitation centre, The Crossroads Centre.
His albums continued in the 1980s, with only 1989's Journeyman achieving much critical acclaim, featuring a strong return to his blues roots. Clapton did, however, win much acclaim and a BAFTA Award for his collaboration with Michael Kamen on the score for the 1985 BBC television drama serial Edge of Darkness.
The early 1990s saw tragedy enter Clapton's life again on two occasions. On August 27, 1990 guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan, who was touring with Clapton, and two members of their road crew were killed in a helicopter crash between concerts. Then, on March 20, 1991, Clapton's four-year-old son Conor died following an accidental fall from an apartment window. A fraction of Clapton's grief was heard on the song 'Tears In Heaven' (on the soundtrack to the 1991 movie Rush), co-written with Will Jennings, which, like the MTV Unplugged album that followed it, won a Grammy award. It resulted in the break-up of his marriage.
Like Unplugged, his 1994 album From The Cradle, featured a number of versions of old blues standards, and highlighted his economical acoustic guitar style. In 1997 he recorded Retail Therapy, an album of electronic music under the pseudonym TDF, and he finished the twentieth century with critically-acclaimed collaborations with Carlos Santana and B. B. King. Clapton's 1996 recording of the Wayne Kirkpatrick/ Gordon Kennedy/Tommy Sims tune Change the World won a Grammy award for song of the year in 1997.
Three years later, Clapton issued Me and Mr. Johnson, a collection of tunes honoring the Mississippi-born bluesman Robert Johnson.
1970 Eric Clapton (1st LP)
1970 Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (as Derek and the Dominoes)
1973 Live at the Fillmore (as Derek and the Dominoes) (Live 1970)
1973 Eric Clapton's Rainbow Concert (Live 1972)
1974 461 Ocean Boulevard
1975 There's One in Every Crowd
1975 E.C. Was Here (Live 1975)
1976 No Reason to Cry
1980 Just One Night (Live 1979, Double Disc Set)
1981 Another Ticket
1982 Time Pieces: Best Of Eric Clapton (1969-1979)
1983 Money and Cigarettes
1984 Too Much Monkey Business
1985 Behind the Sun
1988 Crossroads (Box Set)
1990 The Layla Sessions (as Derek and the Dominoes) (20th Anniversary Edition, Box Set)
1991 24 Nights (Live 1990)
1992 Unplugged (Live 1992)
1994 From the Cradle
1995 The Cream of Clapton
1996 Crossroads 2: Live in the Seventies (Live from 1974 to 1978, Quadruple CD Set)
1999 The Blues (Double Disc Set)
2000 Riding With the King
2002 One More Car, One More Rider (Live 2001)
2004 Me and Mr. Johnson (an album of Robert Johnson covers)
1970 After Midnight
1974 I Shot The Sheriff
1974 Willie And The Hand Jive
1976 Hello Old Friend
1978 Lay Down Sally
1978 Wonderful Tonight
1979 Watch Out For Lucy
1980 Tulsa Time
1981 I Can't Stand It
1983 I've Got A Rock N' Roll Heart
1985 Forever Man
1990 Bad Love
1992 Tears In Heaven
1995 Love Can Build A Bridge
1996 Change The World