ERIC CLAPTON FACTS:
Genre: Rock, Hard Rock, Blues
Hometown: Surrey, England
Albums: Eric Clapton (1970); 461 Ocean Boulevard (1974); There's One in Every Crowd (1975); No Reason to Cry (1976); Slowhand (1977); Backless (1978); Another Ticket (1981); Money and Cigarettes (1983); Behind the Sun (1985); August (1986); Journeyman (1989); From the Cradle (1994); Pilgrim (1998); Riding with the King (with B.B. King) (2000); Reptile (2001); Me and Mr. Johnson (2004); Sessions for Robert J (2004); Back Home (2005); The Road to Escondido (with JJ Cale) (2006); Clapton (2010)
Awards: 3 inductions into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, multiple Grammys, Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Hits: "I Shot the Sheriff," "Wonderful Tonight," "Lay Down Sally," "Pretending," "No Alibis," "Layla"
It's almost impossible to overstate the importance of Eric Clapton on rock history. Affectionately known as Slowhand, Clapton has been in some of the most groundbreaking bands in classic rock. Whether it be as a member of Cream, the Yardbirds or Derrick and the Dominoes, Clapton's work on a guitar is instantly recognizable and always impressive.
Clapton was only in the Yardbirds for a short time, but during his stint he made a huge impact. It was with Clapton that the band enjoyed their first mainstream success with the single "For Your Love." However, Clapton soon left the band after they started to abandon their bluesy roots.
After leaving the Yardbirds, Clapton teamed up with Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker to form Cream. Though the trio was together for little over two years, the band provided some of the best tracks of the late 60s including "White Room," "Sunshine of Your Love" and "Crossroads."
Clapton's next stop before embarking on his solo career was with Derrick and the Dominoes, a band he helped form in 1970. The band is perhaps best known for Clapton's impressive guitar work on "Layla," the sprawling epic of unrequited love.
Once Derrick and the Dominoes disbanded, Clapton embarked on what would prove to become an immensely successful solo career. His first big hit by himself was a cover of the Bob Marley classic "I Shot the Sheriff," which eventually reached the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In 1977 he released the album Slowhand which contained some of his most popular songs including the ballad "Wonderful Tonight" as well as the JJ Cale cover "Cocaine."
While Clapton's production slowed down in the '80s, his appearances certainly didn't as he frequently performed with everyone from Tina Turner to good friend George Harrison. However, Clapton's recording prowess would soon return once he entered the '90s.
Clapton released his famous Unplugged live album in 1992, and the record went on to earn him six Grammys. The album is perhaps best known for Clapton's emotional performance of his song "Tears in Heaven," which was written after the death of his four-year-old son. The record also featured some other popular tracks including an acoustic version of "Layla" and a cover of the Bo Diddley classic "Before You Accuse Me."
Ever since, Clapton has remained in the public eye, though not as much as in his younger days. Still, his 2010 album Clapton shows that he can still rock with the best of them.