This is a book I bought for my birthday and am just now getting around to reading it. I am enjoying it very much. We like listening to music in the evenings and frequently the Clapton CDs are among our favorites. His blues albums are among our favorites.
When I went to pick the book up from a local second hand store it wasn’t the copy they had before and I was slightly disappointed. Turned out to be a winning situation as the other book was a Clapton biography and this is an autobiography, his own thoughts on events.
The book starts with Clapton’s recollection of his early childhood and discovering his position in the family. At age seven he discovered his mum and dad, Jack and Rose, were in fact his grandparents. The way his birth mother treated him was appalling to me and the maternal side of me wanted to hug this confused and rejected child.
As we get into the musical introduction of the book I found I couldn’t put it down. He discusses the first guitar he owned, school and the introduction into playing for the public. Those chapters cover the Yardbirds, John Mayall, Cream, Blind Faith and Derek and the Dominos. You also read first hand accounts of his friendships and musical collaborations with the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and his friendship with George Harrison, Ginger Baker, Steve Winwood among others.
I knew the song Layla was written to woo George Harrison’s wife Patti as he was completely besotted with her but I did not know the inspiration for the song name. Layla and Majnun is narrative poem composed by Persian poet Niẓāmi Ganjavi. Layla is the equivalent of Juliet, forbidden love. Huh.
I’m about to finish the part where he talks about the substance abuse and his son Conor. That’s a heart breaker. The parts where Clapton talks about his love for George Harrison’s wife Patti was a turn off. He describes his behavior, and other musicians in that era, as having loose morals and that was accepted. Drug addiction, deaths, strong musical ethics, recovery and family.
As it turns out he was extremely unsure of himself and music was an outlet. The rejection of his mother affected him forever and while it seems a rock icon such as Clapton thrived on attention, it was just the opposite. Note the cover of the album below. He refused to look up and read the comic Beano while the photos were being taken. (this was discussed in the book). Also, with Derek and the Dominos no one knew that Derek was actually Clapton. He wanted to play anonymously and reveled in the fact that the band played for small groups of 50 or in festivals and no one knew it was Clapton guitar. Until that news leaked out so……they broke up.
My favorite parts are reading about the fabulous musical talents of that era and how they collaborated. If you are a Clapton fan you may like this book. He makes no apologies for his behavior, he reminisces abut the good, the bad and inspirations. Overall I like this book.
Sharing with Joy for her British Isles Friday event.