In 1992, Eric Clapton Made History With an Iconic “Unplugged” Album

eric-clapton-unpluggedA lot of exciting things were happening on the music scene in 1992. Some people, including myself, consider it to be one of the last years of fine rock music. Among the pile of fascinating 1992 releases was an album, which not only became one of the most important live records but went on to sell 26 million copies worldwide. It even won three Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, Best Rock Male Vocal Performance and Best Rock Song. When such a tremendous success is at present, we can’t but think about the significance of Eric Clapton’s “Unplugged” album.

In January 1992, armed with an acoustic Martin, backed by just a couple of musicians, in front of a small audience, legendary guitar hero Eric Clapton performed acoustic versions of original compositions, along with a few blues classics for the infamous MTV Unplugged TV series. The concert album became one of the first-ever MTV albums and consequently, a turning point in Eric Clapton’s career.After a series of ’80s AOR jewels, including “August” and “Journeyman”, Clapton successfully went on to complete a once in a lifetime project, which critics often consider his best, most sincere release of all time.The classy, yet charming and immensely soul-soothing “Unplugged” record was as important to Clapton as it was to MTV – it enhanced the reputation of the music medium, proving that it’s a place where icons, such as the great Eric Clapton himself, can freely express and re-define the boundaries of their musicianship.

It takes a great deal of courage and inner strength to overcome the endless trials of life and Eric Clapton surely had to face so many of them. On top of being a drug and alcohol recovering addict and burying good friends, Eric had to experience the tragic loss of his 4-year old son, Conor in 1991. Out of his grief and indescribable pain, one of the most tearing and emotional ballads was born. “Tears in Heaven” debuted as a soundtrack to the movie “Rush”; however Eric Clapton recorded a new version of the song for the “Unplugged” album. The tender and absolutely heartbreaking hit single went on to become one of Clapton’s highest career achievements and ultimately the highlight of the concert record.

Tears in Heaven

Eric Clapton’s most famous work during his time with Derek & The Dominos“Layla” is re-invented into a cozy acoustic bliss on “Unplugged”. Comparing it with the original 7-minute epic ballad would be unreasonable, though many fans found more comfort in this slower, less-aggressive and more easily-digested version of the legendary song. The gentle guitars, along with Clapton’s heart melting vocal delivery, turns “Layla” into the perfect lullaby.

Layla (Unplugged)

One of Journeyman’s (1989) most successful singles – “Old Love” was also chosen as one of the 14 performances on “Unplugged”. The equally deserving revised version of the bluesy tune guarantees an experience of a lifetime.

Old Love

“Unplugged” is filled with fine moments, capturing Eric Clapton’s honesty and pure effortless talent. One thing he never forgets to do on his projects is to pay his respects to the legendary bluesmen he grew up listening to, by immortalizing their songs and introducing them to newer generations. Among the blues classics he chose to cover on “Unplugged” are “Bo Diddley’s “Before You Accuse Me”, Leadbelly’s “Alberta” and of course, Robert Johnson‘s “Walkin’ Blues” and “Malted Milk”.

On the deluxe edition of “Unplugged” we also get to listen to early versions of “My Father’s Eyes” and “Circus”, which would eventually be featured in “Pilgrim”, six years later.

Alberta

“Unplugged” was Eric Clapton’s 90s coming out party. The ‘80s were gone and with them his radio-friendly, AOR, highly produced approach to music. Don’t get me wrong, his ‘80s releases are actually among my favorite records of all time; however we have to keep in mind that musically they did reflect the time period. As much as he kept his authenticity as a bluesman, those ‘80s records still fall under the category of contemporary ‘80s soft rock. Then, when the ‘90s came, Clapton took off on a new journey – a journey of self-discovery and absolute frankness. That’s exactly why “Unplugged” became so enormously successful – it was the perfect “what you see is what you get” record. Eric Clapton just rose from the ashes with ease and comfort. You could feel his confidence and sincerity coming out of every note.

No wonder “Unplugged” won three Grammy Awards and sold millions of copies all over the world. The audience already knew and loved Clapton but this stripped down album, featuring new interpretations of his classics gave them a new perspective. This album revitalized his career and I think it helped him move on with his life, after the tragic loss of his son. On top of it all, the biggest musical force – MTV, was backing him up. After the enormous popularity of “Unplugged”, the show turned into a much bigger force, hosting some of the most talented musicians of all time – Roxette, Nirvana, Bruce Springsteen, Eagles and so on.

Familiar, relaxing, cozy…what else can I say? “Unplugged” celebrates a career of an outstanding musician and because of its unique format you can feel like you are a part of the audience and the whole experience. It has been over 20 years since its release, but this concert album will forever remain one of the highest moments of Eric Clapton’s career and as a matter of fact, one of the biggest legacies of MTV.


…You can listen and watch the entire show here:


References:
“Unplugged” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unplugged_(Eric_Clapton_album)
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

Eric Clapton Unveiled New Video for “Spiral”

Eric Clapton released a new music video from his upcoming LP “I Still Do”. In “Spiral”, the guitar God takes us on an animated journey throughout his 60 year old music career by reimagining Clapton’s iconic album covers and photos with Cream, Yardbirds and other famous appearances. In the end, the video wraps things up with Sir Peter Blake painted artwork of Clapton which is the cover of “I Still Do”.

Eric Clapton’s latest album will feature original compositions (“Spiral”, “Catch the Blues”), as well as covers of tracks by Robert Johnson and Bob Dylan. “I Still Do” arrives on May 20th when we will also get the chance to watch a new special – Eric Clapton: I Still Do – An Intimate Discussion About Rock, the Blues and Shepherd’s Pie on VH1 Classic and MTV Live.

Watch the MV below:

Eric Clapton – Spiral

LYRICS:

You don’t know how much this means
to have this music in me
I just keep playing these blues’
hoping that I dont lose

I just keep playing my song
hoping that I get along
you don’t know how much it means
to have this music in me

in the morning
in the daytime
in the evening
in the nighttime too
I gotta have it
I gotta have this blues
I gotta have it

you don’t know how much it means
to have this music in me
I just keep playing my song
hoping that I get along

in the morning
in the daytime
in the night
in the night time too
in the morning
in the daytime
in the evening
in the midnight hours

I gotta have it
I gotta have
I gotta have this blues
I gotta have it
I gotta have


 

Credits:
Watch Eric Clapton Revisit Career in Animated ‘Spiral’ Video, retrieved from http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/watch-eric-clapton-revisit-career-in-animated-spiral-video-20160515#ixzz48mHBMp1s

Happy Birthday, Eric Clapton!

Happy Birthday, Mr Clapton!

Today we celebrate the 71st birthday of none other than Mr Eric Clapton – one of the most brilliant rock musicians in the world and one of my personal favorite rockstars of all time. He is such an inspirational figure and I don’t know any other musician that possesses so much talent, passion and devotion to music. Despite being 71 years old, he keeps on making music and touching the souls of millions of people around the world. Clapton is very special to me as I grew up listening to songs such as “Wonderful Tonight” and “Let It Rain”. In the spirit of his birthday, I decided to make a little publication, in appreciation of the limitless talent of this guitar God! I hope you guys would enjoy it and remind yourself of some of his most remarkable tunes throughout the years.


 

Eric Clapton was born on the 30th of March 1945 in Ripley, Surrey, England. His early career is associated with the infamous blues-oriented rock band – The Yardbirds. He stayed with them from 1963 till 1965. During that time, Clapton developed his own signature style and quickly became one of the most talked-about guitarists in the British music scene.

YARDBIRDS.jpg
The Yardbirds

The Yardbirds’ manager, Giorgio Gomelsky, was actually the one who gave Eric Clapton his famous nickname “Slowhand” in early 1964.

In Clapton – The Autobiography (2007), Eric said, “On my guitar I used light-gauge guitar strings, with a very thin first string, which made it easier to bend the notes, and it was not uncommon during the most frenetic bits of playing for me to break at least one string. During the pause while I was changing my string, the frenzied audience would often break into a slow handclap, inspiring Giorgio to dream up the nickname of ‘Slowhand’ Clapton.”

 

The following year, Clapton undertook numerous projects with bands, such as John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers and the Glands. By 1966 – the time he formed his new band Cream, Clapton was already a well-established and extremely influential guitar player. Everyone was captivated by his talent and wanted to hear more and more…
The years he spent with Cream helped him reach his full song writing potential, which grabbed the attention of the American audience – something that was not achieved before that. Despite the Cream’s commercial success in both USA and Europe, the band had a relatively short life due to conflicts between the members and alcohol abuse. Nevertheless, they are still considered as one of the most influential rock bands of the era. Songs such as “Sunshine of Your Love” and “Crossroads” keep on living and reminding us of their musical virtuosity.

CREAM
Cream

 

 

CLAPTONISGOD

During the autumn of 1967, an admirer of Clapton spray-painted the famous slogan “Clapton is God” on an Islington Underground station. There a very famous photograph of this wall, capturing a dog that pees on the same wall…

“I never accepted that I was the greatest guitar player in the world. I always wanted to be the greatest guitar player in the world, but that’s an ideal, and I accept it as an ideal, ” he says…

 

ERIC - DEBUT ALBUM.jpg
“Eric Clapton” – album cover

Eric Clapton’s next musical project was the supergroup Blind Faith (1969). In addition to being a member of Blind Faith, he was also participating in various other acts in bands such as Delaney and Bonnie and Friends, the Plastic Ono Band, playing lead guitar in some of Lennon’s songs and many others. He was probably the busiest guitarist at that time. In 1970, he finally released his first self-titled album, including masterpieces such as “Let it Rain”, “After Midnight” and “Blues Power”.

 

 

 

 

 

LAYLA
“Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs” album cover

Originally called “Eric Clapton and Friends”, his next band – “Derek and the Dominos” was the first step towards a decade full of love and turbulence, mixed with rehab and immense commercial success. His deep infatuation for George Harrison’s wife Pattie Boyd inspired the band’s first and only album “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs” (1970) and gave birth to one of Clapton’s most famous and loved tunes of all time – “Layla”.

 

 

 

ERIC CLAPTON IN THE 70S ~

 

 

ERIC CLAPTON IN THE 80S~

 

 

 

The beginning of the 90s was very emotional for Clapton, as he lost his four-year old son. His sadness was channeled into the song “Tears in Heaven” for which he received six Grammy awards.

Since then, Clapton has released 11 studio albums and we are waiting for his 12th one which is going to be released on May 20th this year. Personally, among all the albums he made throughout the years, an honorable mention should receive “Riding with the King” (2000), “Me and Mr. Johnson” (a tribute to the legendary bluesman Robert Johnson, 2004), “Back Home” (2005), “Clapton” (2010) and “Old Sock” (2013). If you are a fan of Clapton, those albums are a must!

 

 

ERIC - DISCOGRAPhy.jpeg

 

Needless to say, Eric Clapton is a true legend – one of the most respected and appreciated guitarists and music-writers of all time. People love him for what he is – a talented and passionate musicians and a true role model. Throughout his life, he had to fight with alcohol and drug abuse, see the death of his son and go through so many other personal and professional challenges. However, his love for music was always there to bring happiness, joy – a little bit of every feeling possible to the people all over the world. His spirit is unbreakable and his career is unstoppable. Thank you, Eric for all the songs and emotions you brought to this world. I hope you never stop making music! We love you…

xoxoxox


Credits:
“How did Eric Clapton got his nickname “slowhand”? , Retrieved from http://www.whereseric.com/the-vault/biographical-information-eric-clapton/how-did-eric-clapton-get-his-nickname-slowhand
Eric Clapton official Wikipedia Page – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Clapton
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/or publishers.