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Eric Clapton: The Autobiography [Hardcover]

Eric Clapton , Christopher Simon Sykes
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)

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Book Description

9 Oct 2007

Eric Clapton is far more than a rock star. Like Dylan and McCartney he is an icon and a living legend. He has sold tens of millions of records, played sell-out concerts all over the world and been central to the significant musical developments of his era. His guitar playing has seen him hailed as 'God'. Tracks such as Layla, Sunshine Of Your Love, Wonderful Tonight and Tears In Heaven have become anthems for generations of music fans. Now for the first time, Eric tells the story of his personal and professional journeys in this pungent, witty and painfully honest autobiography.

Eric was born illegitimate in 1945 and raised by his grandparents. He never knew his father and until the age of nine believed his absentee mother to be his sister. In his teens his solace was the guitar and he soon became a cult hero in the club circuits of Britain. With the foundation of the world's first super group Cream in 1966 he became a world superstar.

But the rock star lifestyle has had a darker side. In more than forty years at the forefront of his profession he has twice survived near fatal addictions to drugs and alcohol, the death of his four-year-old son, the deaths of friends such as Jimi Hendrix and John Lennon, , the break-up of marriage and the disintegration of relationships with a succession of beautiful women.

These are the memoirs of a survivor, someone who has reached the pinnacle of success, who has had it all, but whose demons have never left him. At the age of 62 Eric is now ready to tell his story as it is, hiding nothing, with a directness and searing honesty that will make this book one of the most compelling memoirs of our time.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Century; First Edition edition (9 Oct 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846051606
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846051609
  • Product Dimensions: 23.8 x 15.8 x 4.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 179,902 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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It is a pity more autobiograophers don't have Clapton's grounding in the blues. -- Sunday Times

An inspiring story of struggle, setback and redemption, The early chapters bring vividly alive the mood and music of the times, and the young Clapton cuts a deceptively sympathetic figure: an idealist, dedicated to maintaining the 'purity' of his music; modest about his talents, candid about his professional jealousies, his shyness, his sexual insecurities. -- Telegraph

Clapton relates what happened with painful honesty. In other rock stars, such plump contentment might seem hypocritical, even vulgar. But with Eric Clapton, you feel that a little comfort is the least he deserves. -- Mail on Sunday

Clapton reveals all in this unflinching confessional.
-- Independent

Clapton's book is a candid, almost confessional look back on a starry life. This is a compelling, down-to-earth document of the man behind the guitar-hero mask. -- Q

Eric Clapton has produced a gem of a rock memoir, in which he lays bare the painful roots of his music. Clapton speaks honestly and touchingly not only about the external course of his life but of what music has meant to him. That makes it much the best of this season's rock memoirs. Clapton delivers himself profoundly. It's extremely moving. -- Evening Standard

Eric Clapton: The Autobiography is nail-biting, white-knuckle stuff -- Tatler

His story is certainly deserving of telling. What sets this book apart is Clapton's sheer stature. His tale is frank, witty and engaging. Worth a read. -- News of the World

It's a raw and remarkable piece of self-exposure -- Daily Telegraph

This is an essential read -- Observer

Book Description

The legendary musician who defined rock in the 1960s and continues to astonish and delight a wide spectrum of music lovers tells, for the first time, the story of his personal and professional journeys in this pungent, witty, and painfully honest autobiography.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit disappointing 28 Dec 2007
I have been listening to Cream - the live and long improvisations nearly every day for the better part of 40 years, saw them in 2005 at RAH and think Clapton is the best guitarist I have ever enjoyed listening to by a distance. I couldnt wait to read this. Alas, it was disappointing - both the book and, I am afraid, the man.
The characterisation of people in his life was very thin - he rarely describes in any detail the personalities of the people who have been or are important to him, says very little about his guitar playing genius - a huge omission in my view - how can someone be so brilliant at something and not discuss how he developed that talent to all us musically talentless people who have worshipped his playing for years?
On the man, all the drug and alcohol stuff - which granted is very frank - is reasonably interesting although hardly what distinguishes him from everyone else but reveals a seemingly rather weak and generally bemused personality who is incapable of confronting anything. Sadly, also, he never acknowledges his huge army of fans whose lives he has musically enriched so much and who have been so supportive for so many years. Niether does he ever discuss the huge wealth that his success has generated. This lot tends to leave the impression of a man who really has never lived in or experienced the real world. Perhaps he really is the reluctant flawed genius but you cannot have it all ways.
I will continue to enjoy his brilliance every day and despite the disappointment of this book, he would still be my top dinner companion - there is so much more he could have given us in this book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 100 too many pages... 8 Dec 2010
I didn't know any details about Eric Clapton's private life, other than the most famous ones, but, as always happens, to hear everything by the man's very voice, tastes totally different.
Actually, reading this book, I haven't changed my opinion about Clapton from good to better and, to be totally honest, I have found it really boring at certain times, probably because the author's final aim isn't the readers' amusement (and this can be understood), it rather is to tell his sensations through a long career with really good and really bad times. So, while I found Clapton's experience of getting sober a honest and probably helpful story to people with the same problems, I also suffered reading about his personal family situation nowadays... really, no need to tell us everything about his latest happy family: it was fair enough to tell he was happy and save us a heavy final part of this book that doesn't add a thing to the musician's autobiography.
Sometimes also, is very easy to feel Clapton's detachment from our mortal beings' world: how he's happy with his Ferraris collection, his new mega-yacht and the countless houses owned here, there and everywhere really is not relevant to other people, fans included.
This is a personal opinion, but I'm much more pleased to read other rockstars' biographies, as this one really contains lots of useless pages.
That said, now I'm sure I don't envy Mr. Clapton at all.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A flawed God 4 Dec 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'm not going to write a long and in depth review - too much has already been written here for me to be able to add much to it. I will say, however, that Eric clearly has his own agenda. Although he self-flagellates effectively, we only get half the story. What about Eric and Jimi? The afro-perm, the clothes, the guitar, the solo on 'Hey Now Princess' and the rejection of Gibson in favour of Fender (don't forget that early on Eric tells he buys guitars because of who plays them).

And there are inconsistencies. Eric tells us that on the night Jimi died he took his present for him (a left-handed Strat) to a gig he thought he would be at, but Jimi never showed. In the 'Cream Story' DVD he clearly says that he and Jimi were in separate boxes at that gig, but that he never got to meet up with him.

And, for me, the most glaring issue of all is his reference to The Fool and their paint job on his guitar. What is it Eric writes? Oh yes, I gave them a 'Gibson Les Paul'.... While I am well aware that the SG was originally designed as a 'new' Les Paul, the one that Eric owned and that he had painted the The Fool was a Gibson SG. And nobody refers to any SG as a Les Paul, especially not a man who made some of his defining recordings using one. So what is Eric trying to tell us? Take it all with a pinch of salt? Only he knows, but it's a shocker.

This book promises much, and the opening chapter is genuinely engaging, but it soon becomes an exercise in self-castigation and a plea for universal forgiveness in the face of his new life with his new family. Interesting and ultimately disappointing at the same time. It doesn't seem to have occurred to Eric that he wasn't the only guilty party in most cases. Alice had a choice, all those girls who waited for him to tour the provinces, even Pattie. He's not the worst villain the world's ever seen. And for six years or so he was the world's greatest guitarist.

Good thing I didn't go for the long review!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A complex man made commonplace 29 Mar 2008
I read Pattie Boyds book first and was keen to see things from Eric's perspective but was not really any wiser about his experience of their relationship after reading this. Eric comes across as a real music bore I am afraid. The technical details of the guitars and the music he made dominate the book and I could hear this nerdy voice in my head from time to time ! I found the South Bank Show that was on a few months ago more revealing, I guess you can hold alot more back when you are putting stuff in print. Even the accounts of his early years do not seem to get to the core of the man. Altogether disappointing, but I have to admire him for his restraint
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