We are living with the ultimate guitar legend. Clapton, member of bands such as the Yardbirds, Cream, Derek and the Dominos, John Mayall, Delany and Bonnie, and Blind Faith, proved his ability to survive through moments that would bring many to their knees.
This 70 year old was witness to some of the world's best musicians, Hendrix, Harrison, and Vaughan. His signature slowhand style, that rich, full bodied, soft but powerful chords , is pure Clapton. Songs such as Running on Faith, Layla (with the help of Duane Allman), Bell Bottom Blues, and so many more.
But with the highs come the extreme lows. His battle with alcohol and drugs was written at in length by Clapton himself in his 2007 autobiography. Deep depressions, his closest companion George Harrison trying to save his friend during the Concert for Bangladesh in New York City, and turning it all around to create the Crossroads Centre. Clapton's relationship with George Harrison is one of true love, especially when they went through so much turmoil over one woman: Pattie Boyd. Their love of this woman should have ruined most relationships, but these two maintained friends until Harrison's death in 2001. This one woman and her lovers would be the inspiration for some of rock's best songs. Something, I Need You, For You Blue, Layla, Wonderful Tonight, and Bell Bottom Blues.
But Clapton would see his world turn tragic just as he thought he had turned it all around. First, he could have been on the same helicopter as Stevie Ray Vaughan in the doomed helicopter that crashed in the Alpine Valley Amphitheatre in 1990. In 1991, his son Connor would die after a fall from a New York City apartment window, and all the steps forward Clapton had taken would be null and void. Arguably his biggest hit, Tears in Heaven, would come of out of this tragedy.
And since the early 1990's he's turned it all around - a new outlook, a family, and a generation of new musicians that he has inspired. Clapton continues on touring and making new music. If you have never seen him play live - you must put that one your list of things to see this year. Clapton plays Madison Square Garden to celebrate today's birthday, ironically on the anniversary of his 1968 MSG concert with Cream.