Eric Clapton: 7 facts about the legendary guitarist

28 June 2018, 12:07

Eric Clapton
Picture: PA

By Tom Eames

He is one of the world's greatest guitarists, and has a truly fantastic legacy of music.

Here are all the big facts about Eric Clapton that all fans should know...

  1. Which bands was Eric Clapton in?

    Clapton was a member of blues rock band The Yardbirds from 1963 to 1965.

    In the mid-1960s, Clapton left the Yardbirds to play with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. Immediately after leaving them, he formed the power trio Cream with drummer Ginger Baker and bassist Jack Bruce.

    After Cream broke up, he formed blues rock band Blind Faith with Baker, Steve Winwood, and Ric Grech.

    Blind Faith split after less than seven months, and he soon toured as a sideman for Delaney and Bonnie and Friends.

    Clapton then created a new band composed of Delaney and Bonnie's former rhythm section, Bobby Whitlock as keyboardist and singer, Carl Radle as the bassist, and drummer Jim Gordon, with Clapton playing guitar. The band was originally called 'Eric Clapton and Friends'. The name 'Derek and the Dominos' happened by accident when their temporary name of 'Del and the Dynamos' was misread as Derek and the Dominos.

  2. What is the documentary film Life in 12 Bars?

    In 2017, a documentary film titled Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars was directed by Lili Fini Zanuck. Clapton previously wrote the film score for Zanuck's 1991 film Rush and they had remained friends.

    Zanuck told BBC News said that Clapton only agreed to participate if she directed it, saying: "I think this got made because Eric was in the right mood. He's an incredibly private man and despite his immense success, he's never cared if he got any publicity at all, he just loves his music."

    The film chars the life of Clapton, from his rock career to his often turbulent private life.

  3. Is Eric Clapton going deaf?

    Clapton has said that he suffers from deafness, and that he also struggles to strum the guitar. However, he hasn't announced any plans to retire.

    He said that he was rather anxious about performing "proficiently" at his Hyde Park gig in summer 2018, due to suffering from tinnitus, a ringing noise from inside the ear.

    "I am still going to work. I am going to do a show at Hyde Park in July," he told the BBC. "The only thing I am concerned with now is I am going deaf, I've got tinnitus, my hands just about work. I mean, I am hoping people will come along and see me, me more than I am a curiosity."I know that is part of it, because it's amazing to myself that I am still here.

  4. Who is Eric Clapton's wife?

    Eric Clapton and wife Melia McEnery in 2007
    Eric Clapton and wife Melia McEnery in 2007. Picture: Getty

    Clapton married Pattie Boyd in 1979. She had previously been married to Clapton's friend George Harrison from 1966 to 1977. Clapton's songs 'Layla' and 'Wonderful Tonight' were inspired by her. They divorced in 1988.

    He married his second wife Melia McEnery in a small church ceremony in January 2002.

  5. How many children does Eric Clapton have?

    In 1984, Clapton began a relationship with Yvonne Kelly, the manager of AIR Studios Montserrat. Although both were married to other people at the time, they had a daughter in 1985. She was named Ruth Kelly Clapton, but she was kept from the public until the media realised she was his child in 1991.

    Clapton and Boyd tried unsuccessfully to have children, and tried in vitro fertilisation in 1984, but had several miscarriages.

    Clapton had an affair with Italian model Lory Del Santo, who gave birth to their son, Conor, in 1986.

    Conor died in 1991 at the age of four, after falling out of an open bedroom window on the 53rd floor of a Manhattan apartment building. The song 'Tears in Heaven' was inspired by this tragedy.

    He and Melia have three daughters: Julie Rose (born 2001), Ella May (born 2003) and Sophie Belle (born 2005). His grandson Isaac Eric Owen Bartlett was born in 2013 to his oldest daughter Ruth.

  6. How old is Eric Clapton?

    Eric Clapton was born on March 30, 1945.

    He celebrated his 73rd birthday in 2018.

  7. What is Eric Clapton's net worth?

    Eric Clapton is estimated to have a net worth of around $250 million (£190 million).