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The Life and Music of Eric Clapton

Philip Norman

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Hiatus at end of '50's - Buddy Holly dead, Elvis drafted, disk jockey payola scandal. Into the gap the record companies pushed bland boy crooners, mostly named Bobby.

The Blues as a cry of despair from the South - crushingly poor and oppressed blacks men. Much of their music would have been lost to posterity but for the efforts of a white guy named Alan Lomax who, in the 1940's, drove thousands of miles across the South recording them in their homes, in dives, and sometimes in prisons.

First band Yardbirds, first time travelling away from home. EC had near foolproof seduction line - "Oh come on .... we could all be blown up by the Russians tomorrow."

Manager Giorgio Gomelsky PR stunt got band to play for the Labour peer Lord Willis (who, when he'd just been Ted Willis, was scriptwriter for long-running TV police series Dixon of Dock Green. Willis had made speeches attacking pop music as 'candy floss culture', but Yardbirds convinced him that the music wasn't all bad. Unfortunately the Daily Mail article referred to them throughout as the Yardsticks.

Cream's second album cover designed by Martin Sharp, with whom EC had been flatting in the Chelsea house The Pheasantry. The name Disraeli Gears came from a malapropism supplied by their van driver trying to discuss cycles and their Derailleur gears.

Derek and the Dominos bc MC at first gig misheard the intended Derek and the Dynamics.

Punk tried to storm the barricades, but only took out the more pretentious middle level of rockers. Stones, Pink Floyd, Led Zepp, Dylan, Clapton actually sold more records in this period.

June 1997 Pattie Boyd divorce from George Harrison settlement of £120,000.

EC totally uninterested in money. His manager, first Robert Stigwood, then Roger Forrester, paid all the bills for everything he bought. Only money he noticed was £200 whichwas given to him in a brown envelope every week. He once asked for a raise, but the secretary who delivered the money said "No. Mrs Thatcher won't allow it."

When finally married Pattie, threw a big party with a huge jam session/concert featuring Mick jagger, Bill Wyman, Ronnie Wood, Robert Plant, Jeff Beck, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. (John Lennon sent a letter saying he would have come if he'd had more notice, which wd have been the Beatles only ever reunion.) But star of show was Lonnie Donegan, the guy who's skiffle music had first inspired all guys to take up instruments.

Pub down the road from his house owned by Gary Brooker, the singer/keyboard on Procul Harum's Whiter Shade of Pale. Brooker introduced EC to fly fishing (and later shooting)

When Pattie divorced EC in 1989, the settlement was £600,000 + a cottage in West Sussex. EC prob got off very lightly, given that she was the muse for Layla and Wonderful Tonight, and that EC was worth millions even then, having had 4 best selling albums in the last year alone.

Cream reunion 2005: "And the chemistry was still there, if now with a faint whiff of liniment, three sexagenarians with shirts untucked around thickening waists, summoning back a whole 60's vibe of pot smoking and Flower power."

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