Eric Clapton was one of the best things that happened in 1945, when he was born in a small British village in Surrey, England. Today, March 30, Clapton achieves another milestone in life as he turns 69 years old. With numerous upcoming concerts this year, the “Layla” singer continues to prove that he’s still got the tunes to compete with today’s younger musicians.
To celebrate Eric Clapton’s birthday and his five decades in the music industry, Inquisitr presents five cool facts about the legendary English guitarist.
1. Second best guitarist of all time
That’s right! Not only is Clapton considered one of the best guitarists in the world; he’s officially ranked number two in the Rolling Stone’s 100 greatest guitarists of all time. Eric outranked almost all of the greatest guitarists the world has ever heard, including Brian May of Queen (ranked at number 26), rock ‘n roll patriarch Chuck Berry (ranked at number seven), and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin (ranked at number three). The only guitarist deemed by Rolling Stone as greater than Clapton is acceptably, guitar legend Jimi Hendrix.
2. He almost lost interest in playing the guitar
Unlike most famous musicians who usually start learning music at a very early age, Clapton got into music when he was already a teenager. When he was 13, someone gifted him a cheap, steel-stringed German guitar, which briefly sparked Clapton’s interest in music. However, because the particular guitar was difficult to play, Clapton briefly gave up on pursuing music. Fortunately, two years later, Eric rekindled his desire to learn the guitar and started pouring in long hours learning all that can be learned about the instrument. By the time Eric was 16, his guitar-playing skills were already so advanced that he was already starting to get attention from professional musicians.
3. He has been sober for 27 years
Like many other music legends, Eric got trapped into the drug scene early in his career. According to several of reports, Eric was said to have performed live multiple times under the influence of drugs and alcohol. The singer/songwriter was so addicted to cocaine and other drugs that he reportedly spent $16,000 a week on illegal substances. Fortunately, Clapton was luckier than many musicians of his time and got out of the habit. Eric has been drug-free since 1987. He currently supports those who are struggling to kick the habit. In 1999, he auctioned a couple of priceless guitars to support Crossroads Centre, an institution Eric established that treats drug abuse and alcoholism
4. The only three-time inductee in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Eric Clapton has been inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times. The first one was in 1992, as a member of the rock band The Yardbirds. The next one only came a year after in 1993, when he was again honored as one of the members of blues rock Cream. In 2000, Clapton was honored for the third time in recognition for his solo work.
5. He influenced many of the greatest musicians of today
Eric is undeniably one of the most important icons in the history of music. His influence has reached not only his millions of word wide fans but also many of the greatest and most popular musicians in the world today. Some of the musicians Clapton influenced are those that we admire today: John Mayer, Slash, Eddie Van Halen, and John Satriani.
Happy Birthday Eric Clapton! Inquisitr wishes you more birthdays to come.
[Images from Flickr]