Since football season has started, my life hardly seems like my own. I live and breathe Vikings football. When I take a break from the Vikings it’s to set the line-up for my fantasy football team. So, I have been remiss and have neglected to write about things other than football. My bad.
But, somehow, in between all the football stuff that I’ve been reading and writing, I have been reading Eric Clapton’s 2007 autobiography. And, it gets the Bibliophile stamp of approval.
To be perfectly honest, I was kind of afraid to read Clapton’s autobiography when it first came out because I got depressed once reading a biography on John Lennon. By the time I quit reading about Lennon I didn’t like him as much as I had when I started and I did not want to run the risk of that happening with Clapton.
I really like Eric Clapton’s music and I was afraid that if he turned out to be a total prick it would kill the music for me. However, I found a used paperback copy of his autobiography and decided to give it a try. I’m glad I did.
There’s a big difference between hearing about someone’s life from some random egghead who thought it would make a compelling story and hearing about that person’s life straight from that person. The book is written in such an engaging conversational tone that it almost feels like you’re hanging out at a coffee shop just talking with Eric Clapton. And, while I would feel the temptation to gloss over things that were embarrassing or times when I’m stupid, Clapton feels no such compulsion. He shares his foibles in all their badness along with his achievements. Somehow he manages to convey all this without sounding like he’s glorifying his faults (he did a whole lot of drugs) or bragging about his accomplishments—they just are.
Here are a few interesting things I learned about Clapton from this book:
- People were already scrawling the graffiti “Clapton is god” on subway walls before he was in Cream.
- He tried to play, and then abandoned, the violin when he was a kid.
- Prior to being in Cream when he was in his early 20s, Clapton had already been in a fistful of bands.
- One of his bands opened for the Beatles.
- He was in on the Beatles recording of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”.
- John Lennon once paid him for playing a gig by giving him a few pictures—which Clapton has since lost.
If you like Eric Clapton’s music and have ever been curious about his life, I would recommend this book. While sometimes it’s hard to follow because the timeline isn’t always clear and there are so many names thrown at the reader that it can be difficult to keep track of who he’s talking about, the engaging candor with which Clapton writes and the rare glimpse into not only the life of a rock legend, by a person who lived through one of the most exciting times in rock music makes Eric Clapton’s autobiography worth reading.
Clapton: The Autobiography
Published by Broadway Books 2007
*Hey Purplegrey, this is for you 🙂