Childhood & Early Life
Born in Surrey, England, Eric Patrick Clapton was the son of Patricia Molly Clapton, a 16-year-old unmarried girl and Edward Walter Fryer, a Canadian soldier who served during the World War II.
After his birth, when his father returned to his wife in Canada, Eric was raised by Patricia’s parents. Though they never adopted him legally, yet they acted as his legal guardian till 1963.
He received his early education from Hollyfield School in Surbiton. Later, he attended the Kingston College of Art. Unfortunately, the school authority dismissed him for his negligence towards art. From this time, he developed an interest towards blues.
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In the early period of 1963, he joined The Roosters, a band. But in August 1963, when the band broke up, he started performing as part of Casey Jones & The Engineers.
His association with The Yardbirds started in October 1963. In the next year, he performed for this band at the Royal Albert Hall, London. Later, he recorded his single ‘Good Morning Little Schoolgirl’ with this band.
The band received huge success after the release of ‘For Your Love’, a single. Though he played guitar during the performance of this song, he was against using commercial sound in this score.
After leaving The Yardbirds in 1965, he joined John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. His performance with this band brought him recognition as a guitarist. At that time, he visited Greece for a short period with The Glands, a band.
After his return, he recorded ‘Blues Breakers With Eric Clapton’, an album with the Bluesbreakers. In 1966, he also performed as part of the Powerhouse, a British blues studio super group.
After leaving the Bluesbreakers in July 1966, he joined Ginger Baker’s newly formed band Cream. This band provided him the opportunity to prove his potentiality as a singer, songwriter and guitarist.
From 1968 to 1969, he played a vital role in the recording of the band’s successful scores like ‘Sunshine of Your Love’, ‘White Room’ and ‘Crossroads’. Along with George Harrison, he co-wrote ‘Badge’, a studio single for the Cream’s last album ‘Goodbye’.
Later, he formed Blind Faith, a British blues rock band that released an album of the same name in 1969. After the break-up of this band, he went on a musical tour with Delaney & Bonnie & Friends.
In the same year, he performed at a fundraiser programme for UNISEF in London. Inspired by Delaney Bramlett, he started singing and composing songs. In association with Bramlett, he recorded songs for the album, ‘Music From Free Creek’.
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In 1970, he recorded his first solo album ‘Eric Clapton’ that got wide acknowledgement. In this year, he formed Derek and the Dominos. With this band, he released ‘Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs’.
In 1974, his album ‘461 Ocean Boulevard’ appeared. It contains popular singles like ‘I Shot the Sheriff’. The success of this album started his flourishing solo career.
In the next year, he released ‘There’s One in Every Crowd’, his new album. After releasing several of his albums, he performed for a solo album titled, ‘The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking’.
Personal Life & Legacy
He married Patty Boyd in 1979. During their married life, he developed a romantic relationship with Yvonne Kelly with whom he had a daughter, Ruth. He did not disclose about the birth of Ruth till 1991.
Eric and Boyd divorced in 1988, due to his alcoholism and his relationship with Italian model Lory Del Santo. With Santo, he had a son, Conor. He was later involved in a number of relationships.
In 2001, his daughter Julie Rose was born. Julie’s mother is Melia McEnery whom he married at a church in Surrey, in 2002. They have two more daughters, Ella Mae and Sophie.