Sometimes a player becomes so legendary that their name is synonymous with both the genre and the instrument in general. Nowhere is this truer than with Eric Clapton, a player who transcended the instrument and became a hero to fans of music that couldn't care less about the fact that he player a guitar. He wrote great tunes and played heart felt solos and so captured the attention of a generation who branded him a God.
Born in Surrey back in 1945, the young Eric Clapton got his first break in The Yardbirds, a group that at one point contained both Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page and went on to become Led Zeppelin. Eric released 3 albums with the group before becoming a part of John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers.
In 1966 the group released “Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton” which gained the fan name “The Beano Album” over the years due to the comic Eric is reading on the album cover. This album features the birth of real electric blues tone as Eric lets rip on a '59 Les Paul into a Marshall 1965 (year) 1962 (model) amp with a Dallas Rangemaster treble boost for some added grit. This tone alone set the path for the Les Paul, from a guitar Gibson just couldn't sell, to one of the most imitated and valuable designs on the market, with pristine late 50s models worth an easy 6 figures.
After reaching worldwide fame with the Bluesbreakers, Eric was invited to form the supergroup Cream alongside Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce. The group released 4 albums in total and songs such as Sunshine of Your Love, White Room and Badge are still considered classic blues rock material today. During this period of psychedelic rock Eric's “woman tone” came from a combination of Les Pauls and his famous “fool” SG.
During the late 60s Eric did a few more projects, but it was the early 70s that saw the birth of his Derek and the Dominos project. This album is another must own for any fan of the blues as aside from containing incredible compositions such as Layla, it also sees Eric recording with Duane Allman which is a pairing we only got on album once before his tragic death. “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs” is one of those strange albums that was deemed a failure on release but went on to be one of the defining albums of the genre.
From here Eric's professional career went from strength to strength (while his personal life fell apart) and he would go on to be one of the biggest selling artists in history selling an estimated 80 million albums around the world and penning classics such as Wonderful Tonight, Tears in Heaven, Layla along with the countless others he brought fame to like Cocaine, Crossroads and I Shot The Sheriff.