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Clapton: The Autobiography

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  23,802 ratings  ·  1,457 reviews
I found a pattern in my behavior that had been repeating itself for years, decades even. Bad choices were my specialty, and if something honest and decent came along, I would shun it or run the other way.”

With striking intimacy and candor, Eric Clapton tells the story of his eventful and inspiring life in this poignant and honest autobiography. More than a rock star, he is
Hardcover, 343 pages
Published October 9th 2007 by Broadway (first published January 1st 2007)
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Tom Seubert It is not an easy answer. It was part of the music culture at the time, it may have to deal with the dysfunctional part of his family growing up, it c…moreIt is not an easy answer. It was part of the music culture at the time, it may have to deal with the dysfunctional part of his family growing up, it could be because of what seems to be a more sensitive personality. He owns up to the issues it caused and the harm it brough and he did finally get clean.(less)

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Average rating 3.84  · 
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 ·  23,802 ratings  ·  1,457 reviews

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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.

I’ve loved his music since I can remember, but I never really considered what he was like as a person. Turns out that he's an average joe, who can sometimes be a bit of a most average joes. He’s got his reasons: illegitimacy, abandonment and a bevy of the usual childhood dramas. Clapton lays them out fairly generously
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 fan of his music (though not a huge one), because I had read another rock star's (Anthony Kiedis) drug-related biography and enjoyed it, and because my mom got it for me so I felt obligated to do so. From beginning to end, I found rare interest in anything the knight had to record about himself. Unfortunately, I am writing this well over a year after reading it, but I can
Aug 07, 2008 rated it it was ok
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,
Julie Christine
Aug 27, 2008 rated it liked it
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 and wrea ...more
Oct 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Because of Clapton's connection to the Beatles via his close friend George Harrison, I was intrigued to read his autobiography. As we all know, he wooed Pattie Boyd Harrison away from George and later married her. I read Pattie Harrison's autobiography "Wonderful Tonight" which came out at almost the same time as Eric's.

Although I am not a fan of Clapton's music, I found his life story very interesting and even inspiring. His writing style was wonderful as it was as though he was truly speaking
Besides music, Eric Clapton can write prose. I wondered who the ghostwriter was, but towards the end he said he carried the drafts with him on tour. Not only is the book coherent in a way many autobiographies are not, it appears to be an honest presentation of his life as he lived it.

Most autobiographers tell little jokes on themselves, but very few of will tell of their deepest disappointments in themselves. Clapton tells how tried to be sober to visit his son but thought of drinking the whole
Feb 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Clapton Fans
Wow. I'm not familiar with Clapton or his music. This book made him seem like a very selfish, inconsiderate individual. But it wasn't too boring. His struggles with heroin and alcohol were the most interesting. I don't really believed he loved/loves any woman...only himself. It's surprising that he comes off as so badly in his own words...I don't think he even realizes how unsympathetic a character he makes himself.
George Bradford
Mar 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rock-n-roll, heroes
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
Pete daPixie
Oct 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobiogs, poptastic
'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
Jul 07, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
East Bay J
Jan 24, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: music-bios
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
Apr 10, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.

Cindi Hanson
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-reads
I recently read Pattie Boyd’s book, Wonderful Tonight. After reading Pattie’s story, I wanted to find out more about Eric Clapton’s story. I’m aware of Clapton’s history of addiction to drugs and alcohol, so I can’t say I was surprised by some of what I read. What really surprised me was how awful he treated people, especially the women that he was involved with. I also found him to be a bit of a snob when it came to other music genres.

The only thing that somewhat redeemed Clapton was that he s
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was ok
I have been struggling with how one rates an autobiography. Do you rate based on writing style/literary merit? Or do you rate based on how much you learned about the author, or how detailed the information is about the author's life, or based on how honest you think the author has been?

Well, other than writing style, which is surprisingly better than I would have thought, this one fall short in the other areas listed above. In fact, this book is a perfect example of the saying that "you shouldn'
Nov 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
Jesus emerging from the forehead of the Queen might or might not elicit the raising of an eyebrow from Clapton. He was right there for everything yet seems to have found the action boring and the characters wanting. Mystery hour. He is honest, that and his position at ringside give this book the faint pulse it has. This could easily have been a great book like Levon Helms' This Wheel's On Fire. Instead we get great material told by an indifferent participant in a flat style.
Djordje Popovic
Jan 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unlike many others, Clapton's Autobiography is brutally honest, freed from egoism and thus passionate, touching and inspiring journey through the thorns of his path. It provides many deep and equally truthful insights into the amazing life of music from late '60s to date.
Aug 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: music
I'm not a huge Clapton fan, although I will say I named my cat Layla. If you are a huge fan I think you will love this book. He is brutally honest about his drug use and infidelities. It dragged some for me when he got into the business end of the music industry. I think this book could have been a bit condensed but otherwise it was a 3 star book for me...liked it, didnt love it.
Duffy Pratt
Jul 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
I'm having a hard time figuring out what to say about this book. As a book, its pretty good. It tells a good story of a person who has an amazing talent/gift, who has also been terribly self destructive, but somehow managed to survive. The trouble is that Clapton has tended, from the start, to be very self-effacing, and so he doesn't etch his stories in fine detail, or give a vivid picture of what was going on with himself or with others. Thus, the whole book feels like we are getting basically ...more
M. Sarki
Oct 28, 2017 rated it really liked it

Eric Clapton takes no shortcuts in his debunking of any possible popular myth that he was in any way special or of good character. His deftness on the guitar came from countless hours of practice and his talent was revered by many involved in the music business. Fans such as myself considered Clapton a better man than he was simply based on the quality of the music he produced and the rock god he portrayed so elegantly on the stage. In page after page Clap
Dec 08, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 10, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: no-go
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
Jan 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: music-rockstar
I've been a lifetime fan of Eric Clapton so I looked forward to reading this book. Considering the musical legends that have played with Clapton and the places he's toured I expected far better than this book. I was looking for great memories and instead I found the ramblings of a misogynistic former addict. My fondest teenage and college memories had Clapton's music playing in the background and now those memories are tainted by this selfish narcissist. Reading Clapton's own words made me reali ...more
Marcus Kazmierczak
I've enjoyed his music, but would never say I was an Eric Clapton fan. His autobiography popped up as Goodreads deal of the day and I picked it up. I didn't realize how interesting Clapton's life has been, I was most familiar with him from Unplugged forward, so he always seemed like a fairly mellow guitarist.

But his early days were far from mellow, his autobiography goes into plenty of the details of his days as a rock and roll star during the 60's, 70's and 80's and all the drugs, alcohol, girl
Trent Mikesell
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have no real interest in Eric Clapton or music from this time period, but I found this autobiography fascinating. What really captured me was his tone. You could tell that he had really reflected on his life and thought about what went wrong and what he could have done differently. He also showed how both good and bad experiences have made him in to the person he is today. I loved the rawness and honesty of it.
Jan 15, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: biographies
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???
Apollo Hesiod
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was a great book, showed all aspects of his life from his narrative. Really enjoyed it, recommend this book to every Clapton fan & every music fan. ...more
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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

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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.”
“Early in my childhood, when I was about six or seven, I began to get the feeling that there was something different about me.” 5 likes
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