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Eric Clapton – Then and Now

Michael Webb / Mark Thompson, Getty Images

Eric Clapton said he’d try to be our ‘Forever Man,’ so in honor of his turning another year old today (March 30) we’d like to be the first to wish him a Happy 67th birthday. At age 15, Clapton asked his grandparents for help in purchasing an electric double cutaway Kay guitar, and the rest is history.

Shortly thereafter, Clapton started making a name for himself, playing in notable bands such as the Yardbirds and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers before forming his own group called Cream. It was during this time that Clapton’s reputation as a leading guitarist was elevated and with Jack Bruce (bass) and Ginger Baker (drums) joining him, it appeared the sky was the limit. Sadly, that wasn’t the case and the band disbanded in late 1968.

Less than two weeks later, Clapton found himself a guest of the Rolling Stones at the ‘Rock and Roll Circus’ where this early photo was taken. Directly following the breakup of Cream, who better to hang out with, than Brian Jones, John Lennon and the Who? This is when the legendary alliance formed between Clapton, Lennon, Keith Richards and drummer Mitch Mitchell (Jimi Hendrix) as the four Englishmen performed and recorded that day under the moniker the Dirty Mac.

Speed forward forty-plus years and you’ll find Clapton smiling here because he’s talking about race cars, which is one of his favorite pastimes. As an infamous British guitarist, he’s best known as ‘Slowhand’ but Clapton is
also widely known as a renowned car collector. In fact, he’s recently teamed up with designers at an Italian manufacturer’s division to re-body the Ferrari 458 Italia. So there you have it, a slow hand equals a heavy foot and may it keep him, forever young.

Next: Heart - Then And Now


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