Clapton by Eric Clapton
The Autobiography

71%

10 Critic Reviews

Weakest on musical recollections and career arcs, but some overwhelmingly poignant and wrenching personal meditations make the book a success.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

“I found a pattern in my behavior that had been repeating itself for years, decades even. Bad choices were my specialty, and if something honest and decent came along, I would shun it or run the other way.”

With striking intimacy and candor, Eric Clapton tells the story of his eventful and inspiring life in this poignant and honest autobiography. More than a rock star, he is an icon, a living embodiment of the history of rock music. Well known for his reserve in a profession marked by self-promotion, flamboyance, and spin, he now chronicles, for the first time, his remarkable personal and professional journeys.

Born illegitimate in 1945 and raised by his grandparents, Eric never knew his father and, until the age of nine, believed his actual mother to be his sister. In his early teens his solace was the guitar, and his incredible talent would make him a cult hero in the clubs of Britain and inspire devoted fans to scrawl “Clapton is God” on the walls of London’s Underground. With the formation of Cream, the world's first supergroup, he became a worldwide superstar, but conflicting personalities tore the band apart within two years. His stints in Blind Faith, in Delaney and Bonnie and Friends, and in Derek and the Dominos were also short-lived but yielded some of the most enduring songs in history, including the classic “Layla.”

During the late sixties he played as a guest with Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan, as well as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and longtime friend George Harrison. It was while working with the latter that he fell for George’s wife, Pattie Boyd, a seemingly unrequited love that led him to the depths of despair, self-imposed seclusion, and drug addiction. By the early seventies he had overcome his addiction and released the bestselling album 461 Ocean Boulevard, with its massive hit “I Shot the Sheriff.” He followed that with the platinum album Slowhand, which included “Wonderful Tonight,” the touching love song to Pattie, whom he finally married at the end of 1979. A short time later, however, Eric had replaced heroin with alcohol as his preferred vice, following a pattern of behavior that not only was detrimental to his music but contributed to the eventual breakup of his marriage.
In the eighties he would battle and begin his recovery from alcoholism and become a father. But just as his life was coming together, he was struck by a terrible blow: His beloved four-year-old son, Conor, died in a freak accident. At an earlier time Eric might have coped with this tragedy by fleeing into a world of addiction. But now a much stronger man, he took refuge in music, responding with the achingly beautiful “Tears in Heaven.”

Clapton is the powerfully written story of a survivor, a man who has achieved the pinnacle of success despite extraordinary demons. It is one of the most compelling memoirs of our time.
 

About Eric Clapton

See more books from this Author
ERIC CLAPTON is married to Melia McEnery and is the father of four daughters. He lives outside London.
 
Published October 9, 2007 by Three Rivers Press. 352 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Arts & Photography, Humor & Entertainment, Cooking, Education & Reference. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Feb 08 2015
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Critic reviews for Clapton
All: 10 | Positive: 7 | Negative: 3

Kirkus

Good
on May 20 2010

Weakest on musical recollections and career arcs, but some overwhelmingly poignant and wrenching personal meditations make the book a success.

Read Full Review of Clapton: The Autobiography | See more reviews from Kirkus

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Stephen King on Oct 28 2007

It’s not lack of will or effort; Clapton does the best he can with what he has, and the result is an honorable badge of a book. He may not have the skill of a Mary Karr or Frank McCourt, but I’m sure he writes better than most memoirists play guitar.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Alan Light on Oct 07 2007

“Acceptance is a great state of being. It steps aside of hysteria, drama, extreme emotions.” And it is precisely this even, unblinking sensibility that defines the author’s voice in “Clapton.”

Read Full Review of Clapton: The Autobiography | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Caspar Llewellyn Smith on Oct 20 2007

This is a gripping read and Clapton is as hard on himself as he ought to be, soliciting sympathy for his pain, but it sure as hell sucks the joy out of nostalgia for the days when rock gods ruled the earth.

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Caspar Llewellyn Smith on Oct 20 2007

This is a gripping read and Clapton is as hard on himself as he ought to be, soliciting sympathy for his pain, but it sure as hell sucks the joy out of nostalgia for the days when rock gods ruled the earth.

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Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by Donald Gibson on Nov 08 2007

As harrowing as it is fascinating, Clapton: The Autobiography renders a valiant portrait of an enigmatic music legend. Unsparingly honest and candid, Eric Clapton confides his life story with much the same sincerity that distinguishes his greatest music.

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Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by Donald Gibson on Nov 08 2007

As harrowing as it is fascinating, Clapton: The Autobiography renders a valiant portrait of an enigmatic music legend. Unsparingly honest and candid, Eric Clapton confides his life story with much the same sincerity that distinguishes his greatest music.

Read Full Review of Clapton: The Autobiography | See more reviews from Blog Critics

AV Club

Below average
Reviewed by Noel Murray on Dec 06 2007

So forget about Clapton as a work of literature, and treat it more as a primary source. Because in fits and starts, the book has value, especially when Clapton explains his connection to Delta blues and other traditional folk music. As disjointed as Clapton is, it has an emotional arc...

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Entertainment Weekly

Good
Reviewed by Chris Willman on Oct 05 2007

In the charming and surprisingly candid Clapton: The Autobiography, rock’s most beloved ax-wielder does come off as a man of deep and profound feelings...

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Nights and Weekends

Good
Reviewed by Jacqueline Jung on Jan 31 2015

Once I opened Clapton: The Autobiography, it was difficult to put down. As a fan of blues and rock, I thoroughly enjoyed his perspective on music history as well as his opinions of the artists of the time.

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Reader Rating for Clapton
75%

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