Eric Clapton - Impressive Facts You Didn't Know

Eric Clapton – 24 Impressive Facts You Didn’t Know

Eric Patrick Clapton was born on March 30th 1945 in Ripley, Surrey, UK. After playing in various bands he joined the Yardbirds in 1963 but left in 1965 to join John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. He then formed Cream along with Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce.

He was part of a few other bands before becoming a solo artist. Since becoming a solo artist Eric has released many songs that have gone on to become classics.

Those are all facts about Eric Clapton you probably already knew. Keep reading for 24 facts about Eric Clapton you didn’t know.

He’s An Avid Fan Of The Baggies

Eric Clapton is a keen fan of the Professional British football club West Bromwich Albion. In 1982, he performed a concert before John Wile’s testimonial game at West Brom’s home ground, The Hawthorns.

During the late 70s he placed a West Brom football scarf on the back cover of his album “Backless”.

Then during the 1978-79 season he sponsored West Brom’s UEFA Cup home match against Galatasaray.

He Has His Own Ferrari

Since the 1970s Eric Clapton has been open about his love of cars and in particular his enthusiasm for Ferrari cars. He owns a number of Ferraris and once said that;

if I had more space and if I had been wise I would have a huge collection [of Ferraris] by now and I would be a multi-multi-millionaire

Eric Clapton

He also said he’s always supported Ferrari as a driver and as a fan of F1 racing.

In 2012 Ferrari presented Eric with a one-off special project car, the Ferrari SP12 EC. Eric displayed the car at the 2013 Goodwood Festival Of Speed in the Michelin Supercar Run.

He Helped Bob Marley Reach A Larger Audience

In 1974, Eric released the album “461 Ocean Boulevard” on which he had recorded the track “I Shot The Sheriff”, a cover of Bob Marley’s song from the previous year. 

This allowed reggae music and in particular Bob Marley to be appreciated by a far wider audience than had previously been the case.

SEE ALSO: The Very Best Bob Marley Songs Of All Time

He Became Derek For Layla

Eric became tired of the celebrity status that was beginning to form around him so he decided to form a new band with the former rhythm section from Delaney and Bonnie, Bobby Whitlock (vocals, keyboards), Carl Radle (bass) and Jim Gordon (drums).

The idea was to show that he didn’t need to be the star attraction and that he could fit in well in a band situation. He was going to call the band “Eric Clapton And Friends”, but a working title of “Del And The Dynamos” was misread and so Derek And The Dominos” were formed.

At that time Eric was infatuated with his close friend George Harrison’s wife Pattie Boyd. When she rejected him in favour of her husband, Eric wrote most of the material for the album “Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs”.

SEE ALSO: Layla Guitar Chords & Lyrics

He Became Close Friends With Duane Allman

Tom Dowd, the man responsible for producing the album “Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs” took Eric to an Allman Brothers Band show in Miami, Florida. After the show, Eric and Duane jammed all night in the studio and became friends.

This led to Duane playing slide guitar on several tracks on the album including; “Tell The Truth”, “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out” and “Keys To The Highway”.

Eric has since said that Duane Allman was “the musical brother I’d never had but wished I did”.

SEE ALSO: What Guitar Does Duane Allman Use? & How Does He Play Guitar?

He Got His Nickname Because Of A Broken Guitar String

Eric Clapton’s nickname is “Slowhand” and many have speculated over the meaning of the name. Some have said it’s due to the easy way his hands glide over the guitar. The actual reason is due to the guitar, but not due to Eric’s hand speed.

Apparently during his time with the Yardbirds, whenever Eric broke a guitar string, he’d stay on stage while changing it. This led to audiences giving him a slow handclap while they were waiting. 

The band’s manager Giorgio Gomelsky started calling Eric “Slowhand” as a result of the slow hand clapping that occurred every time he broke a string.

He Stopped Playing The Guitar For 2 Years

When Eric was a youngster, he was given a cheap steel string acoustic guitar for his 13th birthday. Due to the steel strings and cheaply designed instrument, the guitar was difficult for him to play. So he stopped playing guitar altogether for 2 years.

By the time he was 15 he started playing regularly and was influenced by blues music. He used to spend hours practising and playing along with blues records.

He Has Performed At The Royal Albert Hall More Than 200 Times

In December 1964, Eric Clapton along with the Yardbirds performed at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Since that first appearance, Eric has performed there on more than 200 occasions.

He has said that performing at the Royal Albert Hall is like “playing in my front room”.

He Has Been Referred To As God

After Eric swapped his Fender Telecaster and Vox AC 30 amp for a 1960 Gibson Les Paul and Marshall amplifier, his new found sound became famous.

Someone spray painted “Clapton Is God” on a wall in Islington, North London in 1967. The slogan was photographed with a dog urinating on the wall.

Eric was said to have been embarrassed by the slogan, looking back on it 20 years later he said;

I never accepted that I was the greatest guitar player in the world. I always wanted to be the greatest guitar player in the world, but that’s an ideal, and I accept it as an ideal.

Eric Clapton

He Played Guitar On A Beatles Song

When Eric was with the Yardbirds, they played as one of the support bands for the Beatles late December/early January shows at London’s Hammersmith Odeon in 1965. This led to Eric becoming friends with the Beatles guitarist George Harrison.

George invited Eric to play guitar on a new song he had just completed writing “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. At first Eric declined saying that nobody but the Beatles play on Beatles songs.

He eventually agreed and performed on the track along with George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. John Lennon was absent that day and recorded his parts at a later session.

SEE ALSO: While My Guitar Gently Weeps Guitar Chords & Lyrics

He Performed On Many George Harrison Songs Incognito

George Harrison released his debut solo album “Wonderwall Music” in 1968. It was the first of many of George’s solo albums to include the guitar playing skills of his good friend, Eric Clapton.

Eric went mainly uncredited for his work due to contractual restraints. Likewise Harrison would appear on the credits for his work on Eric’s song “Badge” as “L’Angelo Misterioso”.

Eric and George often performed together as each other’s guest artist and Eric was the musical director for the “Concert For George” which was held a year after Harrison’s death.

He Was Once A Member Of John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band

At the Toronto Rock and Roll Revival in September 1969, Eric Clapton performed as a member of the Plastic Ono Band. The show was recorded and released as an album which was called “Live Peace In Toronto 1969”.

He went on to play lead guitar on John Lennon’s 2nd solo single, “Cold Turkey”. Then in December of that same year, Eric performed with Lennon, Harrison and others as the Plastic Ono Supergroup at a UNICEF fundraiser in London.

SEE ALSO: Cold Turkey Guitar Chords & Lyrics

He Has An Asteroid Named After Him

Eric has an asteroid named after him, in 1976 at the Harvard University Observatory a new asteroid (or minor planet) was discovered.

It has subsequently been named “4305 Clapton” and was previously known as “1976 EC”.

He Turned A Car Into An Amplifier 

In 2013 Eric Clapton appeared on BBC TV’s Top Gear show and was involved in testing the new Kia Cee’d. He was asked to test the auxiliary input socket on the car.

He was introduced as a “local guitarist” by the show’s co-host Jeremy Clarkson. Eric plugged one of his guitars into the socket and played the lead riff to “Layla” and part of “Sunshine Of Your Love”

He Thought His Mother Was His Sister When He Was A Kid

While Eric was growing up, he lived with his grandparents who he believed were his parents. The girl he thought was his older sister, was actually his mother.

She had become romantically involved with a Canadian soldier stationed in England during WWII. His dad returned to Canada before he was born and his 16 year old mother left him with her parents due to the then stigma of unmarried mothers.

His Biggest American Hit Was A Result Of Personal Tragedy

On March 20th 1991, Eric’s 4 year old son Conor, fell from a 53rd floor window in the New York City apartment of his mother’s friend and died. Conor’s funeral was held on March 28th at St. Mary Magdalene church in Eric’s hometown of Ripley, Surrey.

He expressed his grief in the song “Tears In Heaven” which was also used on the soundtrack of the 1991 film “Rush”. The song peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and number 5 on the UK singles chart.

It was his best selling single in the US with nearly 3 million copies sold and won a total of 3 Grammy Awards, winning; Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, Song Of The Year and Record Of The Year.

SEE ALSO: Tears In Heaven Guitar Chords And Lyrics

He Was A Member Of The Bunburys

Eric Clapton got together with the Bee Gees to record a charity album for the Bunbury Cricket Club in Cheshire. They called the Supergroup The Bunburys and recorded 3 songs, “We’re The Bunburys”, “Bunbury Afternoon” and “Fight (No Matter How Long)” for “The Bunbury Tails”.

“Fight (No Matter How Long)”  was also featured on “The 1988 Summer Olympics Album” and peaked at number 8 on the rock music chart.

He Performed At Buckingham Palace

In 2002 Eric Clapton performed “Layla” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” at the “Party At the Palace” concert in the grounds of Buckingham Palace to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.

Other artists performing at the same show include; Brian May, Roger Taylor, Ricky Martin, S Club 7, Annie Lennox, Phil Collins, Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones, Bryan Adams, Tony Bennett, Cliff Richard, Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Elton John, Steve Winwood, Rod Stewart, Paul McCartney and many more.

He Founded The Crossroads Guitar Festival

The Crossroad Guitar Festival is a series of music festivals and benefit concerts that Eric Clapton founded. The proceeds go to the Crossroads Centre which is a drug and alcohol treatment centre in Antigua founded by Eric Clapton.

Eric personally selects the guitarists that feature in the shows which were first started in 1999. The first show was held on June 30th 1999 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, USA. Some of the artists who appeared at that first show include; Sheryl Crow, Bob Dylan, Mary J. Blige, Andy Fairweather Low and David Sanborn.

Other Crossroads shows have included some of the greatest guitarists in the world including; Buddy Guy, Keb’ Mo’, B.B. King, John Mayer, Carlos Santana, Robert Cray, Joe Bonamassa, JJ Cale, Steve Vai, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi and many more.

He Was A Member Of The Louisiana Gator Boys In The Blues Brothers 2000

In 1998, Eric appeared in the film “The Blues Brothers 2000” as a member of the “Louisiana Gator Boys” along with B.B. King, Dr. John, Koko Taylor, and Bo Diddley.

He Collaborated With B.B. King

In 2000, Eric teamed up with his Louisiana Gator Boys band mate B.B. King and recorded an album entitled “Riding With The King”.

The album won a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album.

He Advertised A Mercedes Truck

Eric Clapton appeared in an advertisement for the Mercedes-Benz G-Class. Often called the G-Wagen, the 4 wheel drive car was manufactured in Austria by Magna Steyr and sold by Mercedes-Benz.

In the advertisement Eric expands on the virtues of the vehicle and tells of his own experiences driving one.

He Has Been Recognised By 2 Countries

In 1995 Eric was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to music as part of the 1995 New Year Honours list.

In 2004 Eric was promoted to Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) as part of the 2004 New Year Honour list.

Then in 2017 he was made a Commandeur of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France.

He Has Been Inducted Into The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame 3 Times

Eric Clapton has been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame 3 times. The first time was in 1992 as a member of the Yardbirds, the 2nd time was in 1993 as a member of Cream.

The 3rd time Eric was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame was in 2000 as a solo artist.

SEE ALSO: The Blues Guitarists You Need To Listen To (right now!)

Do You Know Any More?

That’s our impressive facts about Eric Clapton you didn’t know, do you know we have missed out? We’d love to hear them, please share them with us in the comments below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where was Eric Clapton Born?

Eric Clapton was born in Ripley. Surrey, UK on March 30th 1945.

What was the name of the band that Eric Clapton formed along with Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce?

The name of the band that Eric Clapton formed along with Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce was “Cream” they formed in 1966 and played their first unofficial gig at the Twisted Wheel Club in Manchester on July 29th 1966.

Which UK football team does Eric Clapton support?

The UK football team that Eric Clapton supports is West Bromwich Albion. During their 1978-79 season he sponsored their UEFA cup home game against the Turkish team Galatasaray.

Is it true that Eric Clapton played guitar on a Beatles song?

It is true that Eric Clapton played guitar on the Beatles song “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” which was written by his friend George harrison.

What Eric Clapton song contains the lines “She puts on her makeup, and brushes her long blonde hair”?

The Eric Clapton song that contains the lines “She puts on her makeup, and brushes her long blonde hair” is “Wonderful Tonight” which was taken from his 1977 album “Slowhand”.

Which famous blues artist did Eric Clapton team up with on the album “Riding With The King”?

The famous blues artist that Eric Clapton teamed up with on the album “Riding With The King” was B.B. King. The album was released on June 13th 2000.

Is it true that Eric Clapton founded the Crossroads Guitar Festival?

It is true that Eric Clapton founded the Crossroads Guitar Festival to help fund the Crossroads Centre drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre in Antigua that Eric Clapton founded in 1998.

Which Eric Clapton song contains the lines “Just a toe rag on the run, How did I get here? What have I done?”?

The Eric Clapton song that contains the lines “Just a toe rag on the run, How did I get here? What have I done?” is “My Father’s Eyes” which was taken from the album “Pilgrim” which was released  in 1998.

Is it true that Eric Clapton was a member of Paul McCartney’s band “Wings”?

Eric Clapton was never a member of Paul McCartney’s band “Wings”. However, he was a member of another ex-Beatles band, he performed with John Lennon’s “Plastic Ono Band” for a show in Canada called  the “Toronto Rock And Roll Revival”.

What sports car is Eric Clapton a loyal fan of?

The sports car that Eric Clapton is a loyal fan of is Ferrari, he owns a few and even has a one-off special project car, the Ferrari SP 12 EC.

Where is The Crossroad Centre which Eric Clapton set up?

The Crossroad Centre that Eric Clapton set up is in Antigua.

Is it true that Eric Clapton has a minor planet named after him?

It is true that Eric Clapton has a minor planet named after him. It is an asteroid and it’s called 4305 Clapton.

Which Eric Clapton song contains the lines “I’ll find my way through night and day, ‘Cause I know I just can’t stay”?

The Eric Clapton song that contains the lines “I’ll find my way through night and day, ‘Cause I know I just can’t stay” is “Tears In Heaven” which was taken from the soundtrack to the film “Rush” and was also a track on Clapton’s album “Unplugged” which was released in 1992.

How many times has Eric Clapton been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame?

 Eric Clapton has been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame 3 times, once as a member of the “Yardbirds”, then as a member of “Cream” and then as a solo artist.

What was the name of the band that Eric Clapton formed along with Steve Winwood, Ginger Baker and Ric Grech?

The name of the band that Eric Clapton formed along with Steve Winwood, Ginger Baker and Ric Grech is “Blind Faith”. The band were formed in 1969 and produced one album and one arena tour before splitting up.

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