Eric Clapton’s Fertile Years
The In Between Years
Derek And The Dominos are an anomaly in the career of Eric Clapton. Everyone knows about Layla, and the story behind it (kinda), but few know the album itself. It’s fucking great. You must listen to it fully.
After the breakup of Cream, and then the formation and immediate dissolution of Blind Faith, Eric Clapton was tired of being Eric Clapton. He was not tired of being addicted to heroin yet, though. He was still all thumbs up on that.
Eric Clapton was only 25 in 1970, yet he had already been famous for 7 years. He was the guitarist of the Yardbirds, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Cream for fuck’s sake. Cream. For that alone he would be in the hall of fame, and that was just one charm on the bracelet. And then Blind Faith which also was huge. Holy Shit. It’s a lot. Eric was a little freaked out being God. He toured with his Blind Faith opening act, Delaney and Bonnie, where he was fairly anonymous. It’s also where he met up with the fellows who would become the Dominos to his Derek.
Around this time (1970) George Harrison (bosom chum of Clapton) had just left the Beatles and was recording All Things Must Pass, his bestest solo album. It also featured all the other Beatles, just not all together (now), along with a bunch of fucks who would end up being the Dominos. Carl Radle, Bobby Whitlock, Dave Mason (kinda), and Jim Gordon. American fellows and exceptional musicians. They had swing, they had that southern Lynyrd Skynyrd shimmy. Seriously, listen to the music on Layla. It is pure Southern swamp. Hell, it could be Muscle Shoals.
Take a look at the above performance on the Johnny Cash Show. They’re tight. They sound great, and it has a country groove to it. Derek & The Dominos kicked ass.
So, where were we? Ah yes, Eric Clapton took George Harrison’s band as his own. That’s not all he took. Wink.
The Longing Of Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton had fallen in love with his best friend’s wife. Pattie Boyd Harrison has had more famous songs written about her than anyone else I can think of. Here’s some off the top of my head:
- For You Blue
- Bell Bottom Blues
- Wonderful Tonight
There’s an article about 10 songs about her on Mental Floss, but the ones above are the biggies.
Eric Clapton’s Layla era songs are full of longing, regret, defiance, and conflict. The boy is hurting, but he’s in love. Look at the video below and see that even decades later, there’s still emotion he can tap into. Also, look at what a good singer he became.
Ok. This post has taken forever, over days, so I’m just going to birth this half formed, rather than let it languish in eternal almost done.