Applauding the return of Slowhand
It’s 1958. Rock and roll has just exploded on the world and for his 13th birthday, all a young Eric Clapton asks for is a guitar.
The German-made Hoyer he was presented with was difficult to play – it had hard steel strings – so he put it to one side, left to gather dust.
Fast forward three years, and times have changed.
Clapton, who had been studying at the Kingston College of Art, was expelled after one year.
The reason? Playing the guitar and listening to the blues was taking up too much of his time.
He was determined to learn how to play guitar and make a career out of doing so – and he did just that.
Clapton has had a varied career in a number of different bands since the early 60s. He cut his teeth in The Yardbirds, but his heart lay in the blues.
As a professional musician, he has played in numerous bands, released an abundance of albums, sold out countless worldwide tours and collected an impressive array of accolades.
His career has resulted in 18 Grammy Awards and the distinct honour of being the only triple inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.Nearly 60 years later, Eric Clapton is still going strong.
The guitarist has again teamed up with well-known producer Glyn Johns for his forthcoming 23rd studio album ‘I Still Do’, on his own Bushbranch Records/Surfdog Records label.
Clapton and Johns – who has previously produced albums for The Eagles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and The Who – most famously worked together on Clapton’s iconic 1977 ‘Slowhand’ record.
The new 12-track album includes original songs penned by Clapton.
It follows his last release, the 2014 chart-topping tribute to singer-songwriter JJ Cale, ‘Eric Clapton & Friends: The Breeze’
“This was an overdue opportunity to work with Glyn Johns again and also, purely incidentally, it coincides with the 40th anniversary of ‘Slowhand’!” Eric said.
“Recording the album was a pleasure. For me, making music in any shape or form always is. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do, even from when I was young. I’m lucky I get to do what I love. Of course, I never would have thought I’d still be here getting ready to release my 23rd album.
“I think that most people my age, and who have been around for as long as I have, feel the same.”
Rumors have circulated for a few years about Eric retiring, so is it time for him to hang up his beloved guitar once and for all?
“There are loads of things I’d like to do, but I’m looking at perhaps calling it a day on the touring front,” Clapton said. “What I’ll still allow myself to do is perhaps carry on recording in the studio.
“I don’t want to be on stage to the point where I’ll just be embarrassing myself.
“I don’t want to have someone come up to me and say, ‘You know what? You shouldn’t be doing this any more. It’s time to call it a day’. I’d rather come to that conclusion on my own, if you don’t mind!”
He’s certainly earned that right.
‘I Still Do’ is released on May 20. Visit www.ericclapton.com.