What Did Slowhand Ever Do To You?

October 06, 2009 | Comments (0) | by The Hundley

"I'll say it: the wrong Clapton fell out of that apartment window." - TMS Email Thread Archives

Sure, many times we make bold and shocking statements on the email thread, so I'll forgive this crazy statement from a fellow bartender who shall remain anonymous. But the seed is there. For whatever reason, people don't like Eric Clapton. I don’t get it. Did he kick your dog? Did he cost Chicago the Olympic Games? Did he take your mom out for a seafood dinner and then never call her again?

Seriously, what is it?

It’s clearly not his musicianship. Aside from his solo career, just look at the bands he’s been in: The Yardbirds, John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, Cream, Blind Faith, Delaney and Bonnie, Derek & The Dominos. That’s a friggin’ Murderer’s Row, brah. And yes, all of those bands had other talented musicians, but Clapton was the centerpiece and what drove the bands. Yes, the whole “Clapton is God” graffiti was a bit much, but that’s no fault of Clapton’s.

Clapton has always said that he is first and will always be a blues guitarist. Like many others of his time, he developed his style by studying and then adapting his style after black American bluesmen. Guys like Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, BB, Freddie, and Albert King, Robert Johnson, Elmore James have all unquestionably been brought to a greater audience by way of Clapton. Some of these heroes even ended up touring with Clapton.

Clapton is also no one-trick pony. Not only does he have the blues sound, he’s also dabbled in country (Lay Down Sally, Hello Old Friend), reggae (I Shot The Sherriff, Swing Low Sweet Chariot), where he helped introduce the world to a little-known artist named Bob Marley, early hard rock (Sunshine of Your Love, White Room), acoustic (The Unplugged Album), pop (My Father’s Eyes, Change The World), and love songs (Layla, Wonderful Tonight). As easy as it would be for him to rest on his laurels and keep churning out the same album over and over, he takes the risk and the challenge of trying something new. You have to give the guy credit.

Much has been made of his drug use. Find me a music star that doesn’t have that problem. Clapton chose to focus his efforts and struggles at sobriety into helping others by way of his treatment center, Crossroads. Through Crossroads Centre, he’s helped many people cope and overcome addiction since the centre’s inception in 1998. Clapton has also organized and performed at many benefit concerts for causes like political unrest in Bangladesh, Tsunami victims and survivors, Special Olympics, Amnesty International, and others.

So there you have it. Yeah, the guy is way overrated and a dick. If you’re gonna hate because you think he’s over-saturated the industry, maybe head over to Bitchfork Media and find yourself a nice, pretentious spoken word album, because who wants to like music that anyone else enjoys?