Eric Clapton (1945–)
Clapton is possibly the most prominent rock guitarist to have emerged from England since the 1960s. At an early stage, his style showed the influences of bluesmen like Big Bill Broonzy, Robert Johnson, and Muddy Waters. His song “After Midnight” is one of 500 songs that shaped rock-and-roll, according to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In 1963, Clapton joined the seminal rhythm-and-blues group the Yardbirds. Two years later he left the band because he felt that they had become too much of a pop group, making room for Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page, two more guitarists who would become superstars of the British rock and blues scene.
Clapton went to California and joined John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. (Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, and Peter Green, the nucleus of Fleetwood Mac, also played with Mayall.) A year later, Clapton returned to London to form Cream, with bass player Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker.
Following the breakup of Cream in 1968, Clapton formed Blind Faith with his neighbor, Steve Winwood, and ex-Cream drummer Ginger Baker. Blind Faith didn't last long either, and Clapton's next public appearance was as a member of John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival Show in Toronto.
In 1970, Clapton formed his own band, Derek and the Dominos, and fell in love with Pattie Harrison, the wife of his close friend George Harrison. In fact, it was Pattie who inspired Eric to write the classic song “Layla.” (Clap-ton eventually married and divorced Pattie.) Clapton retired from the music business for a period while he dealt with a drug problem.
In 1973, Clapton's good friend, The Who's Pete Townshend, organized a concert to help Clapton celebrate beating his drug addition. In return, Clapton appeared as the Preacher in the 1975 film version of The Who's Tommy.
In 1990, Clapton won a