Patrick Clapton was born on March 30, 1945, in his grandparent's house
at 1, The Green, Ripley,
Surrey, England. He was the illegitimate son of Patricia Molly Clapton and Edward Fryer, a Canadian
soldier stationed in England. When Fryer returned to his wife in Canada, Pat left Eric in the custody of his
grandparents, Rose and Jack Clapp. (The surname Clapton is from Rose's first husband, Reginald Cecil
Clapton.) Pat moved to Germany where she eventually married another Canadian soldier, Frank
Ricky was a quiet and polite child, an above average student with an aptitude
for art. He was
raised believing that his grandparents were his parents, to shield him the stigma that illegitimacy carried
with it. The truth was eventually revealed to him by his grandmother. Later, when Eric would visit his
mother, they would pretend to be brother and sister.
hearing Buddy Holly and Elvis on the radio, he asked for a guitar. His
grandmother bought Eric his
first guitar, a 14# Spanish Hoya accoustic from Bell's Music Shop in Kingston, as a present on his 13th
birthday. He quickly traced American pop back to its roots, and began to listen to Big Bill Broonzy,
Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters, and other blues artists.
his unspectacular performance on the GCSEs, Eric he was admitted at age
16 to the Kingston
College of Art, based on the strength of his art portfolio. He chose to study stained glass design, but
ended up spending much of the next year playing guitar. After completing an extremely small number of
pieces during his year there, Eric failed out of Kingston. He found a job working on a building site, and
started to explore the West End jazz clubs. That year, Eric bought his second guitar, a 100# electric
double-cutaway Kay, and started playing in folk pubs and clubs at night.
earned his nickname, "Slowhand", as well as his reputation as one of Britain's
while slinging blues riffs for the Yardbirds in London clubs in the mid '60s. During his brief stints as lead
guitarist with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Cream and Blind Faith, his reputation only grew, and "Eric
Clapton is God" became a staple of London graffiti. After one solo album in 1970 and one album as the
front man of Derek And The Dominos, Clapton went solo for good.
the two decades since, EC's music has always retained a blues foundation,
depite excursions into
styles as diverse as reggae, such as his #1 single of Bob Marley's "I Shot The Sheriff" in 1974, and pop,
including two '80s albums produced with Phil Collins. Recently, the blues have returned to the fore with
Clapton's last two releases, the Grammy-winning Unplugged, and his collection of blues covers, From