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Eric Clapton Biography

Birth Name:
Eric Patrick Clapton
Birth Place:
Ripley, Surrey, England
Singer, songwriter, guitarist

Fast Facts

  • Raised by his grandparents
  • Believed that his mother Patricia, who had him out of wedlock at 16, was his sister; learned the truth when he was 9
  • Never met his biological father, who was a Canadian soldier stationed in Britain during World War II
  • Introduced to the blues by Uncle Mac's Children's Hour, a children's radio show that occasionally played blues songs
  • Received his first guitar at age 13
  • Joined his first band, the Roosters, at age 17, in early 1963
  • Recruited to the Yardbirds in October 1963; earned the nickname "Slowhand" during his stint with the band
  • Quit the Yardbirds because of their move to a pop sound with the hit single "For Your Love
  • " Joined John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, a blues-purist group, in 1965
  • It was with them that he earned another nickname: "God
  • " Formed Cream with Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker in July 1966
  • Broke up Cream in 1968 due to personality conflicts and a desire to get away from music driven by extended guitar solos
  • Played lead guitar on the Beatles' "While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  • " Became a close friend of George Harrison
  • Formed the supergroup Blind Faith with Steve Winwood, Ginger Baker and Ric Grech after Cream disbanded
  • The band released one album before breaking up
  • Though unsure of himself as a singer, he pressed on with vocals and released his self-titled solo debut in 1970
  • Formed Derek and the Dominos in 1970, releasing the classic Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs album that same year
  • Inspired by his then-unrequited love for Pattie Boyd, wife of George Harrison, to write "Layla
  • " Wrote the Grammy-winning "Tears From Heaven" for his 4-year-old son Conor, who died in 1991 when he fell from a 53rd-floor apartment in New York City
  • Struggled with addictions to alcohol and heroin, finally becoming sober in 1987
  • Founded Crossroads Centre, an alcohol-drug treatment facility in Antigua, in 1998
  • Has played guitar on songs by (among many others) Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, George Harrison, Elton John, B
  • B
  • King, John Lennon and Frank Zappa
  • Three-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: with the Yardbirds (1992), Cream (1993) and on his own (2000)
  • Published the acclaimed, best-selling Clapton: The Autobiography in 2007


  • 1992Golden Globe-Best Original Song - Motion Picture: nominated


  • Ella May Clapton -- Daughter
  • Julie Rose Clapton -- Daughter
  • Ruth Clapton -- Daughter
  • Sophie Belle Clapton -- Daughter
  • Yvonne Kelly -- Ex-significant Other
  • Edward Walter Fryer -- Father
  • Jack Clapp -- Grandfather
  • Rose Clapp -- Grandmother
  • Brian MacDonald -- Half Brother
  • Cheryl MacDonald -- Half Sister
  • Heather MacDonald -- Half Sister
  • Patricia Molly Clapton -- Mother
  • Conor Clapton -- Son
  • Frank MacDonald -- Stepfather
  • Melia McEnery -- Wife