The Showtime feature is slated for limited theatrical release early next year, prior to its Feb. As absorbing as much of this material is, the lengthy feature does not feel definitive: It commits the typical music-doc sin of devoting nearly all its time to a celebrated first professional decade, then hastily skimming past all events since. Further, the limited attention paid to later years dwells entirely on already amply chronicled struggles with addiction and personal tragedy, basically ignoring any music made after
Today, the action would be the work of a record label's street-marketing team. In more innocent times, it established the reputation of the year-old guitarist with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and flattered his fragile but superhuman ego.
Over the next 40 years, he would live as if such tribute in the form of fan worship, women and drugs was never less than his due.
Eric Clapton's career is an extraordinary rollercoaster that covers the history of British rock, but it turns into an enervating read. His contemporary Pete Townshend argues that rock'n'roll was, in part, the cathartic response of a generation to the horrors their parents had experienced in the Second World War.
In Clapton's case, the effect was direct: Pat, his mother, aged 15, had embarked on a brief affair with a married Canadian airman. Clapton was born secretly in his grandparents' back bedroom on 30 March Until he was nine, Clapton believed his grandparents, Rose and Jack Clapp, were his parents.
Times were hard in the Surrey village of Ripley and Clapton retreated into himself, finding comfort in Children's Favourites on the wireless, which would be followed by Chuck Berry or, even better, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee's 'Whooping and Hollering'.
Little wonder, then, that he had the blues. Rather than hitch his wagon to the rock'n'roll train or even the folk revival movement on first meeting Dylan inClapton dismissed him as a 'folkie'the young guitarist identified with the neuroses of singers from the Mississippi Delta.
Forging a career on the London scene, hanging out with fellow blues enthusiasts such as the Rolling Stones but not the Beatles, who were 'a bunch of wankers'Clapton was recognised as a virtuoso.
But he couldn't settle: Ever restless, he seems a peevish character always in pursuit of the next letdown. Inhe bagged Pattie Boyd, who had been hitched to his friend George Harrison, as his wife. The wedding party was held in Ripley. Early on, Clapton became so stoned with Lonnie Donegan and Georgie Fame that he decided to hide from the other guests.
Lennon later told Clapton that if he'd known about the party, he would have come. Irritated that his bride had given over their bedroom to Jagger and Jerry Hall, Clapton decided to target a friend of Pattie's called Belinda. One Christmas Eve, blind drunk, he sat on his own under the tree opening his presents.
Next he found himself coming round in the cellar 'looking like Kermit the frog', wearing his new green thermal underwear. Instill married to Boyd, he started a year-long relationship with a Doncaster girl, Yvonne Kelly, who bore him a daughter, Ruth.
Clapton kept her existence secret throughout his divorce five years later which, in turn, followed his affair with Italian model Lori Del Santo and the birth of their son, Conor. He was still battling the booze when Conor fell to his death from the 53rd-storey window of a New York apartment aged four in March The accident pushed him into sobriety.
The way in which he describes the event in this autobiography, co-written with his friend Christopher Sykes, is characteristic of the dispassionate acceptance with which he seems to have viewed his life since: Elsewhere, it is pure Pooter.
Shortly before Conor's death, he became besotted by a year-old Italian model 'very sexy She is Carla Bruni, though not fully identified as such. I think I'm in love. Blind so often to the feelings of others, he has also remained breathtakingly oblivious not simply to fashions in music, but to an awareness of its potency and his own responsibilities.
The activism of the Sixties and the brimstone of punk passed him by. Notoriously, drunk on stage at a gig in Birmingham inClapton railed that England had 'become overcrowded' with immigrants and seemed to voice support for Enoch Powell.
The speech resulted in a letter to the music press saying: Half your music is black. You're rock music's biggest colonist' and referred to his recent success with a cover of a Bob Marley song by asking:Eric Clapton's stellar career and tortured personal life make a compelling but depressing autobiography, says Caspar Llewellyn Smith.
The remainder of the Life In 12 is an illuminating cross-section of Eric Clapton's career, perhaps even more so than the movie on which it is based. In requisite homage to the EC's blues roots, Muddy Waters and Big Bill Broonzy numbers begin the thirty-two tracks, the natural extension of which is a pair of titles with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers.
One can see how Eric's small stature and limited coordination stunted his confidence at the beginning of his music career.
In the Yardbirds, Cream, and Blind Faith, Eric was content just to be a part of the band. • Slowhand: The Life and Music of Eric Clapton is published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson. To order a copy for £22 (RRP £25) go to tranceformingnlp.com or call Free UK p&p over £ Clapton's solo career began in the s, In , a documentary film titled Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars was directed by Lili Fini Zanuck.
Clapton's music has appeared in dozens of movies and television shows as far back as 's Mean Streets which featured the song "I Looked Away".
Eric Clapton's stellar career and tortured personal life make a compelling but depressing autobiography, says Caspar Llewellyn Smith.