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Eric Clapton biography

Born: March 30, 1945, Ripley, England

Also known as: Eric Patrick Clapp

Eric Clapton’s talent has graced some of the best bands in rock and blues history: the Yardbirds, John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, Cream and Blind Faith. He is a rock and blues star in his own right, maintaining a reputation for decades as one of Great Britain’s finest guitarists. Clapton reportedly left the Yardbirds in order to immerse himself in blues with the Bluesbreakers ; his subsequent forays into blues-rock with Cream and Blind Faith did a lot to merge the two genres in popular music. He has moved between rock, blues and pop throughout his career, but his major influences include Muddy Waters, B.B. King, and Robert Johnson, and his renditions of blues classics — especially his cover of Johnson’s “Crossroads” — are among his best-known recordings. He is a master of painfully expressive guitar work, matched by his emotional vocal delivery. Although much of his work is outstanding, he is probably best known for the album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, which is commonly considered to be a masterpiece. Among other brilliant work, that album includes the rock classic “Layla.”

Essential listening: “Have You Ever Loved A Woman,” “Bell-Bottom Blues,” “Crossroads” “Key to the Highway,” “Layla”