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10 Legendary Musical Associates of Eric Clapton

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Chasmac is a semi-retired guitar teacher who has taught in various schools in London and elsewhere for over 30 years.

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They say you can tell a lot about someone by the company they keep. That seems to be especially true in the case of Eric Clapton, at least musically. Widely regarded as one of the greatest rock and blues guitarists of all time, his long career has seen him in the company of other giants of the rock world. Gain more of an insight into the musical tastes of Eric Clapton from this list of some of his many great musical associates over the years



1. The Yardbirds (Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page)

Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page were already friends when Clapton joined the Yardbirds in 1963, the band that gave him his first taste of fame. Beck, and then Page took over as lead guitarists after Clapton left due to being dissatisfied with their musical direction. The three remained close and have shared several on-stage musical collaborations.

2. John Mayall

Born in 1933, John Mayall is seen as a grandfather of the British blues scene. He formed "John Mayall's Bluebreakers" in the mid 60s and his line-ups have never been short of talent including at various times: Eric Clapton, Peter Green, John McVie, Mick Taylor and many more.

3. Cream (Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker)

Clapton was invited to join Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker to form the band Cream in 1966. It was one of the first bands to merit the label "supergroup" in recognition of the widely acknowledged high level of talent and musicianship held by all three band members.

4. Jimi Hendrix

As the video below recalls, Clapton met Jimi Hendrix for the first time in 1966 at the London Polytechnic where Cream were playing a gig. Hendrix, who admired Clapton, was still an up-and-coming guitarist and new to the London music scene but somehow he managed to get invited to play a song on stage with Cream. The performance he gave amazed everyone, especially Eric Clapton.

5. George Harrison

Clapton and George Harrison became friends in the mid 60s and Clapton famously supplied the lead guitar intro and solo to Harrison's song "While my Guitar Gently Weeps" on the Beatles 1968 "White Album". Harrison later reciprocated by co-writing and playing on the Cream Song "Badge".

6. John Lennon

John Lennon assembled some friends for a one-off performance to feature in the Rolling Stones "Rock and Roll Circus" in 1968. His band, called" the Dirty Mac", also included Eric Clapton, Keith Richards and Mitch Mitchell.

7. Buddy Guy

Buddy Guy is a hero of Eric Clapton. His authentic Chicago Blues style influenced Clapton, and the video below shows them playing together on "the Clapton Sessions" in 1987 at Ronnie Scott's Club in London.


8. B.B. King

Another hero of Clapton's, B.B King is a true blues legend. He began his musical career back in the 40s, and it spanned over six decades until he passed away in 2015. He and Clapton have performed together guesting with each other at a variety of gigs. In the video below, they're performing at Clapton's "Crossroads 2010" event. Also included is Robert Kray and Jimmy Vaughan.

9. J. J. Cale

Eric Clapton recorded some J.J. Cale songs that boosted J.J. Cale's profile significantly. These include "After Midnight" in 1970 and "Cocaine" in 1977. They have performed many times together with Clapton usually playing as a guest with J.J. Cale's band.

10. Roger Waters

Roger Waters and Eric Clapton have had a strong friendship in addition to various musical performances and recordings over the years. Clapton features on Waters' album "The Pros and Cons of Hitch-hiking", and Waters played on stage with Clapton at the tribute concert to the late Cream drummer Ginger Baker. The video below has a more intimate setting of them performing Waters' Pink Floyd classic "Wish You Were Here".

Many more notable names could be added to the list, such as: Mark Knopfler, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert King, Pete Townsend, Alber Lee and Freddie King, but I hope the ten heroes and friends listed give a good overall insight into Clapton's influences and musical directions.

© 2021 chasmac

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