Eric Clapton: The Autobiography
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Eric Clapton: The Autobiography

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  10,194 ratings  ·  954 reviews
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'. Now for the first time, Eric tells the story of his personal and prof...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published July 3rd 2008 by Arrow (first published January 1st 2007)
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Jason Koivu
It seems as if Eric Clapton wrote this tell-all autobiography in an attempt to debunk the oft-heard graffiti-fied slogan “Clapton is God”. If so, mission accomplished.

Although I’ve loved his music since I can remember, I always thought he was probably kind of a dick. This book proves it. Oh sure, he’s got his reasons: illegitimacy, abandonment and a bevy of the usual childhood dramas. But hey, there’s a lot of people who’ve had it rough and they didn’t turn out to be cocks. Even so, I've give h...more
Max Fetter
I see all these four stars and I can't help but ask whether I read the same book. We are, of course, all entitled to our own opinion, but Eric Clapton's attempt at writing an interesting account of his life was pretty much a failure.

I read the book because I am a Clapton fan (though not a huge one), because I had read another rock star's (Anthony Kiedis) drug-related biography and thoroughly enjoyed it, and because my mom got it for me so I felt obligated to do so. From beginning to end, I foun...more
Donald
Eric Clapton, guitar god, has written his autobiography, aptly titled Clapton, The Autobiography. It covers his entire life, from his poor upbringing, to the present day as happy family man. He addresses every phase of his personal and professional life, which is amazing in the fact that the book clocks in at only 328 pages. Maybe this is why, as honest as Clapton is, it left me wanting a bit more. For instance, during his drunk periods he admits to being "chauvinistic" to his then-wife Patti, a...more
Brendan
Aug 07, 2008 Brendan rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Brendan by: Gonzalo
His memoir, just like his life, is seemingly compelling at first and utterly vacuous at the end. Clapton's story starts out with a confusing childhood and then builds a bright flame of artistry on top. This all crumbles as his desire and dependecy steer him to the brink self-destruction. But all of the compelling rock n' roll stories that should be in this autobiography are replaced with remorseful and arrogant AA/group-therapy recounts of his misadventures.
As he winds down his story I'm left,...more
Ted
If you're a total Slowhand freak (and I am) this book is invaluable in that it comes right from the "horse's mouth." I've read a number of EC biographies, and, obviously, the main events of his life story are the same here as they are in the past (Cream still implodes, "Layla" still gets recorded, etc.). In that sense, there isn't much new information as there is the personal perspective and voice of Clapton himself.

Most revealing are the details of his youth growing up. Everyone knows about the...more
Pete daPixie
'The Autobiography' from Eric Clapton, published in 2007, is perhaps a book I would never have read were it not for the fact that my better half picked this up for me at a local car boot sale. As expected E.C. fills the pages with the usual sixties excess of alcohol, sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll. The family name is actually Clapp. Fortunately this was changed, otherwise that 60's graffiti would have been 'Clapp is God' which thankfully we were spared.
As Eric recounts his rise to rock music ic...more
Julie
It wasn't until I started the autobiography that I considered why it appealed to me in the first place. I'm a rather indifferent fan of Clapton's/Cream/Derek & the Dominos, etc- Unplugged is the only album of his that I own. It was more of a curiosity about that era- the hardcore sex, drugs, rock & roll of the 70s- and to read about the experiences of someone who barely made it out alive that compelled me to read. As a child in the 70s, I was watching Mr Rogers when EC was writing Layla...more
George Bradford
Full Disclosure. Before reading this book, I was not a huge Eric Clapton fan. Sure, I'd enjoyed him in concert a few times and I owned some of his albums. I respected him. But I wasn't all that interested in reading about him. I was more interested in reading what he had to say about George Harrison, Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

In this book, Eric Clapton has plenty to say about all three. But he's got even more to say about a lot of other people, events, places and things. And in doing s...more
Michele
I received this book for my birthday from my husband, who knows how much I LOVE Eric Clapton and his music. The book is an autobiography, covering Clapton's life from a child up until summer 2007. It was so interesting to read about his casual relationships with other extraordinary musicians, such as the Stones, the Beatles, BBKing and more. His struggle through addiction and his ability to finally rise above and surround himself with people to help him maintain sobriety was inspiring, even as h...more
Emily
Apr 14, 2008 Emily rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Music lovers, addicts, people in recovery
If you love music, the ‘70s, rock stars and all the drama that naturally ensues than you will love Clapton's no holds barrred account of his life. It’s exciting, it’s sincere and it’s jam-packed with stories of some of music’s greatest personalities as lived through Slowhand himself.

As objectively as possible, the God of the Blues attacks a very biased topic, his own life and writes about it with the humility and humor of a man who viscerally experiences life. He is incredibly open and candid ab...more
Sir
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
William
After reading this I come away with a new perspective on this fellow.

The positives: i) he is obviously a very talented guitarist; ii) he has worked succcessfully to overcome his many personal deamons, and; iii) he has extended a hand to help others overcome their personal deamons.

The negative: this fellow seems more than a little self-absorbed and his closing talk about his yacht just about put me over the edge.



Debbie
I enjoyed this book, though I found his writing to be a bit disjointed in the final few chapters; as though he'd sort of run out of steam in presenting his life.

Is it strange that I fully believe I was on a plane with EC just last week when flying home from California, or was it simply a figment of my imagination???
Charlene
It's one of those books you have to read if you are a boomer or love music beginning from the 60's forward. If you don't fall into those two categories, you just might be interested in the study of a life tormented by sex, drugs, alcohol and rock and roll. If you know Bob Dylan's song, "Blown in the Wind" Clapton's story makes you wonder how many deaths does it take til you learn. Suicide attempts, recovery and rehab tries, multiple grand mal seizures, massive bleeding ulcers, the death of a you...more
Cathy0584
EC has come through a lot--learning that the people he thought were his parents were really his grandparents and that the woman he thought was his sister was really his mother, his early meteoric success with his guitar music, playing with the top names in the industry, a long list of toxic relationships with women, all the while bolstering himself with alcohol and cocaine and other drugs. His several attempts at getting clean & sober were finally successful at the age of 42. Since then, he...more
Johnny
Apr 10, 2008 Johnny rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: rock fans. cool dads. people in AA or NA
Recommended to Johnny by: My Dad
Shelves: rock-music-stuff
The first third of this book is really interesting. All the inside scoop about Cream, The Yardbirds, Blind Faith etc. And all the accompanying debauchery. The second third focuses on Clapton's descent into drugs and alcohol. You know, the usual 70's rock star stuff. Still pretty interesting if a bit old hat. The last third is all about how he cleaned up his act. How even when his little son fell to his death from a window, Eric didn't relapse (which is a fucking miracle in itself). Then it gets...more
Ryan
Because Eric Clapton has been part of the the blues / rock community for so long, reading about his life is like reading the history of rock n' roll. This book is a true autobiography, written by Clapton with little or no outside help. Because of that, it reads like the memoirs of a rock star, written in his own sometimes rambling voice. English professors beware, unlike many autobiographies that I've read where a professional writer has sat down with the subject and parsed up their life into ni...more
Carrie
I really only enjoyed the segments in this book that contained Clapton's encounters with other musicians of his time. That was just about only the first third of this book. His autobiography only succeeded in broadening my scope for the blues--the rest of the manuscript contained mostly complaints about his screw-ups throughout his lifetime. There never seemed to be much of a real main point to his writing this autobiography. I kept on giving it chance after chance to reveal its purpose, but non...more
Rel
It was a bit slow, and I found it hard to keep reading.
Probably right up until the middle of the book.
Eric knew and met an amazing amount of famous people, which was interesting.

However, I found the volume of people mentioned just blurred into each other, and I had to go back and re read paragraphs to see who that was again.
Then more unknown people would pop up later on in the book that weren't mentioned earlier.

Some of the things he did with women really annoyed me, and I didn't like reading a...more
Joje
It may get better but I cannot get through the repetitions, even in single paragraphs. Maybe another day, but there's so much else out there to read, and I'd rather listen to the Blues than to this sort of adjectival name-draping. It was page after page of lines like "listening to him had an effect on me similar to what I might feel if I were to meet an alien from outer space. It simply blew my mind...solo in the middle of it that took my breath away. It was like listening to....that gave me the...more
Brian
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
J
I got into Eric Clapton because of The Yardbirds, who I got into because of Jimmy Page. Now, the story is that Clapton left The Yardbirds because they were “going pop” and he was a “blues purist.” This bore out with his next band, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. Then he started Cream, which was a little bluesy. Sometimes. Blind Faith, same story. Then Clapton made 461 Ocean Boulevard followed by, I don’t know, too many tepid, mediocre, middle of the road albums, sometimes scoring a… that’s right… p...more
Elyssa
My colleague loaned this to me and told me it was a great story about substance abuse recovery. He was right about that! The parts of the book that deal with Eric Clapton's active addiction, recovery attempts, relapse, sobriety, and the creation of his own treatment center were interesting and honest.

I thought Clapton demonstrated great insight into his addiction and recovery process. He was forthright in exposing his weaknesses and limitations. I think his ability to surrender and humble himsel...more
Chris
It seems to me that between ''Clapton,'' by Eric Clapton, and ''Wonderful Tonight,'' by Pattie Boyd with Penny Junor, there's something for everyone of a certain age. The boys who always did, and still do, dream of playing astonishingly, mind-blowingly, life-transformingly perfect rock guitar will jump into ''Clapton'' as if it were the key light on the old Fillmore stage. The solid yet mesmerizable girls who fantasized, and still do, of being the muse to inspire songs of devotion, love's redemp...more
Dy-an
I listened to the abridged audio version. I figure since it was 'approved by the author', and the book is about the author, he was leaving out stuff he didn't want me to know anyways. That being said, Eric, after reading about your life, I don't know if I want to hug you or shake you. Or shake you and then hug you. Or maybe give you a shaky hug.
Gretchen
If you're a music fan -- this book is fab. But, if you're interested in Eric Clapton's life, it's a little drab. You feel so sad for him as he chronicles his life spent in a haze of drugs and sex, even sacrificing for his music, but more than that, I was a little creeped out and even angry about his lack of respect for the poor women in his life -- especially Patti Boyd, the "love of his life." By his own admission, he lacked maturity, but after a while, you think, come on, you're a rock star wi...more
Ellyn
I always loved Clapton but reading his story and learning about his human-ness--not just the guitar god--made me love him even more. I saw Bell Bottom Blues as one of the most heart wrenching songs ever and knowing where it came from and all the heartbreak behind it makes it even more sad. But is it wrong that the ending gets long winded as he goes into his current domestic bliss?? I guess after all that brutal honesty the mellow makes for boring reading....sorry. I love him more than before and...more
Denis Farley
Just began . . . another, for me, page turner as I respect his playing to such a degree, both aesthetically and professionally that I can't help but be intensely interested in how he developed his talent and the salient accompaniment to a life as a performing artist.
Interesting, breezed through it. An epic tale, the bands, the formative years, the family, the addictions, the loves and heartbreak, the songs, albums, personalities, the places, tours . . . and more. Through it all Mr. Clapton has s...more
Richard
It always feels a little odd to write a review of an autobiography. It's rather like writing a review of someone's life, and if that's not a scary thought, you're probably not paying attention. Sure, it's simply the expression of one life from the viewpoint of the one who lived it, not the actual life. For something more objective, I'd look to any biography done by someone who wasn't an absolute acolyte of the subject. When the one who tells the story is the one who was there, "objective" isn't...more
Terri White
"In the past year, I have read quite a few biographies and autobiographies of rock artists from the 60s and 70s. The last one I read before this was Twenty Thousand Roads about Gram Parsons, and that one left me very haunted. Before that I had read Marianne Faithful's autobiography. I could not help but feel that so many talented artists were ridiculously reckless with their talents and, more importantly, their lives. I swore that I was going to take a break from reading about my generation's he...more
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Clapton 1 13 Jan 17, 2014 08:45AM  
Mrs. Meyer Bell 6: Book Review 1 2 May 28, 2013 10:34AM  
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Eric Patrick Clapton, CBE, nicknamed Slowhand, is a Grammy Award-winning English rock guitarist, singer, songwriter and composer. He is one of the most successful musicians of the 20th and 21st centuries, garnering an unprecedented three inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (The Yardbirds, Cream, and solo). Often viewed by critics and fans alike as one of the greatest guitarists of all t...more
More about Eric Clapton...
Eric Clapton: The Autobiography Eric Clapton - Unplugged Eric Clapton Eric Clapton Complete Clapton (Guitar Recorded Versions) Eric Clapton - Reptile

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“La tournée terminée, Tom et Roger pensèrent qu'après le succès de I Shot The Sheriff, ce serait bien de descendre dans les Caraïbes pour continuer sur le thème du reggae. Ils organisèrent un voyage en Jamaïque, où ils jugeaient qu'on pourrait fouiner un peu et puiser dans l'influence roots avant d'enregistrer. Tom croyait fermement au bienfait d'exploiter cette source, et je n'avais rien contre puisque ça voulait dire que Pattie et moi aurions une sorte de lune de miel. Kingston était une ville où il était fantastique de travailler. On entendant de la musique partout où on allait. Tout le monde chantait tout le temps, même les femmes de ménage à l'hotel. Ce rythme me rentrait vraiment dans le sang, mais enregistrer avec les Jamaïcains était une autre paire de manches.

Je ne pouvais vraiment pas tenir le rythme de leur consommation de ganja, qui était énorme. Si j'avais essayé de fumer autant ou aussi souvent, je serais tombé dans les pommes ou j'aurais eu des hallucinations. On travaillait aux Dynamic Sound Studios à Kingston. Des gens y entraient et sortaient sans arrêt, tirant sur d'énormes joints en forme de trompette, au point qu'il y avait tant de fumée dans la salle que je ne voyais pas qui était là ou pas. On composait deux chansons avec Peter Tosh qui, affalé sur une chaise, avait l'air inconscient la plupart du temps. Puis, soudain, il se levait et interprétait brillamment son rythme reggae à la pédale wah-wah, le temps d'une piste, puis retombait dans sa transe à la seconde où on s'arrêtait.”
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“Watching him, I understood for the first time how you could really live music, how you could listen to it completely and make it come alive, so that it was part of your life.” 3 likes
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