Eric Patrick Clapton was born in Ripley, Surrey, England, 30 March 1945.
Clapton received an acoustic guitar for his thirteenth birthday, but the inexpensive instrument was difficult to play and briefly lost interest. Two years later he picked it up again and started playing consistently. Clapton was influenced by the blues from an early age, and practiced long hours playing along to records.
He was studying at the Kingston College of Art, in 1961, but was dismissed at the end of the academic year. In 1962, he started performing as a duo with fellow blues enthusiast David Brock in the pubs around Surrey. When seventeen years old he joined an early British R&B group, “The Roosters”.
Over the next 50 years going on to international success as a guitarist/singer/songwriter with several different groups and as a solo artist.
In the book Discovering Robert Johnson, Clapton calls Johnson:
“…the most important blues musician who ever lived. He was true, absolutely, to his own vision, and as deep as I have gotten into the music over the last 30 years, I have never found anything more deeply soulful than Robert Johnson. His music remains the most powerful cry that I think you can find in the human voice, really. … it seemed to echo something I had always felt.”
I find Clapton an inspiration simply because of his focus on, and commitment to, the blues. Though not necessarily one to emulate, his hard drinking, drugging, and loving are a live incarnation of the blues songs he performs.