Emily's Reviews > Clapton: The Autobiography

Clapton by Eric Clapton
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Dec 08, 2007

really liked it
Recommended for: Music lovers, addicts, people in recovery
Read in December, 2007

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 about the highs, both naturally and chemically induced and the lows, also caused by natural and chemical enhancement, that have led him on the most fantastic journey. Ultimately we get to revel in the story of a boy coming of age in a common country town in England, living a most uncommon life, who grows up to be the world's greatest living guitarist.

The man moves you to fits of laughter with familial anecdotes, like his little elderly aunt who had Tourettes and couldn’t help but insert obscenities when she greeted you at the door. In the same vain, Clapton will make you weep harder than a two-pound onion being sliced under your nose, when he shares the sadness his life is rife with since birth. His ability to write so nakedly about his son Conner and the many women he mistreated, including his eldest daughter Ruth, let’s us see Clapton as a man who truthfully acknowledges his past and makes no excuses for his mistakes.

It’s pretty obvious that Clapton is an innately obsessive and addictive personality. These are constant themes in his life, he’s absolutely obsessed with and addicted to music, women, drugs and alcohol. It skews his entire perspective in life and conversely, is the sole reason he was able to master the guitar. If it weren't for the feeding frenzy of those traits he never would have been able to play for hours on end, listening to records then imitating what he heard. He would do this over and over until his rendition sounded exactly like the record. Most of us wannabe musicians would practice for a little while, then get bored or frustrated and call it a day. Not so for this blues-obsessed adolescent. It appears then that his shortcomings, which caused him so much personal destruction, to the point of despair, are also the caveats for his life's greatest accomplishment. Shocking? Not really, since geniuses are often deeply troubled people who enjoy wallowing. Thankfully, he’s been able to grow up and grow out of the destructive narcissistic lifestyle that cripples many masters.

The autobiography is a ray of hope that all people can evolve and that even rock "Gods" are still human, subject to the same personal hurdles that plague us all.
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