Crossroads 45 by Cream

January 21, 2011

“Crossroads” was and is one of the original blues classic created by Robert Johnson. Legend has it that Johnson sold his soul to the devil at the crossoads in return for the ability to play the guitar. Unfortunately for Johnson the devil collected the debt at age 27. It remains one of the most covered blues songs of all time.

Cream’s version featured Eric Clapton on guitar. It was a staple of their live act for most of their career.

“Crossroads” was released as a single on January 25, 1969. It was the fourth of five American chart hits for the group, reaching number 28.

While “Crossroads” is more associated as an album track, it did receive considerable airplay and remains one of their signature songs.


After Midnight 45 by Eric Clapton

January 15, 2011

“After Midnight” was released during February of 1970 and was the first solo hit of Eric Clapton’s career. It reached number 18 on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Top 100 Singles chart.

It also marked the beginning of his relationship with J.J. Cale which would continue through the rest of his career. Cale’s compositions were a perfect match for Clapton.

While “After Midnight” would be far removed from his Cream days, it would provide evidence of his emergence as a vocalist.

Forty years after its releases, it remains of of his signature songs and formed an important link from his career in bands to that of a solo superstar.


Wille And The Hand Jive 45 by Eric Clapton

January 12, 2011

“Willie And The Hand Jive” was an old Johnny Otis song, reaching number 9 on The American singles chart during 1958. Any Johnny Otis tune is a good and fun song. Otis was inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame during 1994.

Eric Clapton plays the blues, so this may have seemed like an odd cover song for him. It all turned out well as he captured the funfulled spirit of the song and produced one of the more enjoyable singles of his career.

“Willie And The Hand Jive” was released November 2, 1974 and reached number 26 on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE singles chart. Its still a great listen over a quarter of a century later.


Wonderful Tonight 45 by Eric Clapton

January 12, 2011

Eric Clapton was getting ready for a night out with Paul and Linda McCartney. His wife at the time, Patti Boyd, was late, so he sat down and wrote this song to her.

“Wonderful Tonight” was released during the summer of 1978 and reached number 16 on the American singles chart. It remains one of his more memorable love songs.

The background vocals are provided by Marcy Levy, and Yvonne Elliman.

Boyd was George Harrison’s wife as well and he wrote “Something” for her. In addition Clapton wrote the great rock song, “Layla” in her honor. Those three songs are a good start on a great album.


I Shot The Sheriff 45 by Eric Clapton

January 7, 2011

When I was in school there was a Sunday Morning, Rhode Island Disc Jockey who would open his show at 9:00 a.m. with “I Shot The Sheriff.” He received alot of complaints but he kept on playing the song week after week.

“I Shot The Sheriff” was Eric Clapton’s only number one single as it topped the BILLBOARD POP CHART during the summer of 1974. He took this Bob Marley tune and fused its reggae roots with his blues/rock orintation into a memorable mix.

I have always liked the fact that the narrator confesses to killing the sheriff but denies killing the deputy.

It remains one of Eric Clapton’s memorable songs.


Eric Clapton: The 60’s Review (DVD) by Eric Clapton

November 25, 2010

There has been a proliferation of unauthorized artist DVD’s recently, and many of them are quickly thrown together from archival clips with a few interviews included for good measure. They are released, probably sell some copies to the artist’s fan base, and then quickly disappear.

I am happy to report that Eric Clapton: The 60’s Review is a cut about these quickly released compilations as it presents a nice overview of Clapton’s early history as a member of The Roosters, The Yardbirds, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Cream, and Blind Faith. It’s amazing to realize he was only in his mid-twenties at the time Blind Faith dissolved at the end of the sixties.

There are no complete performances, rather his story is told through clips, photos, and rare footage interspersed among a number of interviews.

It is the variety and quality of the interviews and the rarity of the photos that gives the DVD its appeal. I have seen a lot of photographs of Clapton down through the years, but the ones from his childhood, and his work with The Roosters, and Casey Jones & The Engineers are new to me and worth the price themselves.

It was nice to see and hear the comments by lifelong friend Ben Palmer, who was a member of The Roosters with Clapton and would go on to become Cream’s road manager. I would have liked to have heard Palmer talk about their trip to Greece as The Glands as it has always been the little discussed lost adventure of Clapton’s life.

Another interesting addition was Top Topham, who was The Yardbirds’ first guitarist. He was 15 at the time and was grounded by his parents who wanted him to become an artist. Clapton, who was only a few years older, took his place.

There are some Yardbird clips worth seeing as they present Clapton showing off with some of the fastest hands in guitar history, plus some video follows the early development of his sound. Chris Dreja’s comments about the era and the band are excellent.

Getting John Mayall to provide comments was a coup. He said he was attracted to Clapton because of his performance of “Got To Hurry” on the B side of the “For Your Love” single. All the interviewees speak about his progression as a guitarist during his tenure with Mayall.

The Cream section was interesting in places but much of the story was familiar. There was a clip of a young Clapton explaining how to play the wah-wah guitar. There was also a long clip of Jimi Hendrix playing “Voodoo Child” which rivaled Clapton’s work with Cream. Ben Palmer’s story of being hired as the band’s road manager was amusing as he thought he was being interviewed and ultimately hired as their driver.

The Blind Faith years are the least satisfying and are given short shrift and come to an end all too quickly.

Eric Clapton: The 60’s Review is an ultimately satisfying documentary of the early career of a guitar legend. Even his long time fans should be able to find some nuggets contained within its two hours.

Article first published as on Blogcritics.org


For Your Love 45 by The Yardbirds

December 21, 2009

The Yardbirds are safely enshrined in THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME yet they remain most famous as the training ground for three of rock’s greatest guitarists. Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page all occupied the position of lead guitarist for the group.

The group’s biggest hit in The United Staes came in May of 1965 when “For Your Love” reached the number six position on the National charts. It featured Clapton on guitar.

Ironically it was songs such as this that caused Clapton to leave the band as he thought them too pop oriented. He wanted the band to remain a pure rhythm & blues group and when this did not happen he left to join John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers.

“For Your Love” remains a catchy rock relic from the past and the song that gave Eric Clapton his first world wide publicity.