Friday, November 16, 2007

Number 537 - Eric Clapton


Number 537

Eric Clapton

"Lay Down Sally"

(1977)
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Genre:Rock
Sally lying down? by Cassiopeja
The one thing that impresses me about Eric Clapton is that he is a karaoke singer's dream. Ouch, you might say, but Eric has always been more comfortable being behind a guitar rather than the mic, that's why he has expansive guitar solos, ...maybe. Now don't get me wrong, i think he carries his voice very well and would no doubt make me look like a cat on a Friday night hanging out on some fence meowing at a full moon in F flat.
The only gripe i have about Mr Clapton is the "Legendary" status bestowed as a guitar player. I wrote on Number 636 (Jeff Beck), the "Top 100 Guitarist of all Time" by Rolling Stone Magazine rank Clapton at #4. I completely disagree with that assessment. There are far better guitar players than Clapton and even to most points, Hendrix. Clapton is great, yes, but not earth shattering, maybe ranked as #16 say .... but #4??? Neil Young, as an example wipes out the other two i mentioned with ease (& he's ranked 83!), even Jimmy Page (ranked 9)is more technically better than Clapton and don't even get me started with Satriani(#? not even ranked! ) vs Clapton or even SR Vaughan (#7)vs Clapton! (Did i mention Richard Thompson?) Feel free to disagree anytime you want, its like the Fart Button "Yanno you want to". (Yes of Parnell, Auckland ... this one is for you)
By the time Eric Clapton launched his solo career with the release of his self-titled debut album in mid-1970, he was long established as one of the world's major rock stars due to his group affiliations -- the Yardbirds, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Cream, and Blind Faith -- which had demonstrated his claim to being the best rock guitarist of his generation. That it took Clapton so long to go out on his own, however, was evidence of a degree of reticence unusual for one of his stature. And his debut album, though it spawned the Top 40 hit "After Midnight," was typical of his self-effacing approach: it was, in effect, an album by the group he had lately been featured in, Delaney & Bonnie & Friends. Not surprisingly, before his solo debut had even been released, Clapton had retreated from his solo stance, assembling from the D&B&F ranks the personnel for a group, Derek & the Dominos, with which he played for most of 1970. Clapton was largely inactive in 1971 and 1972, due to heroin addiction, but he performed a comeback concert at the Rainbow Theatre in London on January 13, 1973, resulting in the album Eric Clapton's Rainbow Concert (September 1973). But Clapton did not launch a sustained solo career until July 1974, when he released 461 Ocean Boulevard, which topped the charts and spawned the number one single "I Shot the Sheriff."
The persona Clapton established over the next decade was less that of guitar hero than arena rock star with a weakness for ballads. The follow-ups to 461 Ocean Boulevard, There's One in Every Crowd (March 1975), the live E.C. Was Here (August 1975), and No Reason to Cry (August 1976), were less successful. But Slowhand (November 1977), which featured both the powerful "Cocaine" (written by J.J. Cale, who had also written "After Midnight") and the hit singles "Lay Down Sally" and "Wonderful Tonight," was a million-seller. Its follow-ups, Backless (November 1978), featuring the Top Ten hit "Promises," the live Just One Night (April 1980), and Another Ticket (February 1981), featuring the Top Ten hit "I Can't Stand It," were all big sellers.
Clapton's popularity waned somewhat in the first half of the '80s, as the albums Money and Cigarettes (February 1983), Behind the Sun (March 1985), and August (November 1986) indicated a certain career stasis. But he was buoyed up by the release of the box set retrospective Crossroads (April 1988), which seemed to remind his fans of how great he was. Journeyman (November 1989) was a return to form. It would be his last new studio album for nearly five years, though in the interim he would suffer greatly and enjoy surprising triumph. On March 20, 1991, Clapton's four-year-old son was killed in a fall. While he mourned, he released a live album, 24 Nights (October 1991), culled from his annual concert series at the Royal Albert Hall in London, and prepared a movie soundtrack, Rush (January 1992). The soundtrack featured a song written for his son, "Tears in Heaven," that became a massive hit single.
In March 1992, Clapton recorded a concert for MTV Unplugged that, when released on an album in August, became his biggest-selling record ever. Two years later, Clapton returned with a blues album, From the Cradle, which became one of his most successful albums, both commercially and critically. Crossroads, Vol. 2: Live in the Seventies, a box set chronicling his live work from the '70s, was released to mixed reviews. In early 1997, Clapton, billing himself by the pseudonym "X-Sample," collaborated with keyboardist/producer Simon Climie as the ambient new age and trip-hop duo T.D.F. The duo released Retail Therapy to mixed reviews in early 1997.
Clapton retained Climie as his collaborator for Pilgrim, his first album of new material since 1989's Journeyman. Pilgrim was greeted with decidedly mixed reviews upon its spring 1998 release, but the album debuted at number four and stayed in the Top Ten for several weeks on the success of the single "My Father's Eyes." In 2000, Clapton teamed up with old friend B.B. King on Riding with the King, a set of blues standards and material from contemporary singer/songwriters. Another solo outing, entitled Reptile, followed in early 2001. Three years later, Clapton issued Me and Mr. Johnson, a collection of tunes honoring the Mississippi-born bluesman Robert Johnson. 2005's Back Home, Clapton's 14th album of original material, reflected his ease with fatherhood. The Road to Escondido from 2006 paired him with the man behind "Cocaine" and "After Midnight," J.J. Cale. ~ [William Ruhlmann, All Music Guide]
Roll Call .....
For Jimi Hendrix see Number 718
For Neil Young see Number 938 & Number 677
For Jimmy Page see Number 957 & Number 577
For Jeff Beck see Number 636
For Joe Satriani see Number 688
For Stevie Ray Vaughan see Number 592
For Richard Thompson see Number 683
For Cream see Number 554
What does Rolling Stone say about Eric Clapton?
Eric Clapton's solo albums have tended to be so evenhanded and laconic that they often seem interchangeable. His pain was always so apparent that every move he made seemed frozen for eternity. At first glance, Slow Hand does nothing to alter that pattern—a few good tracks interspersed between the usual filler—but there's a lot more going on here beneath the surface. Clapton is showing signs of psychic rehabilitation. His love songs are pointedly realistic. In a chilling moment of self-revelation called "Next Time You See Her," he focuses his long-sublimated anger at losing his lover. Perhaps most importantly, for the first time since leaving Cream he seems comfortable with his image as the hotshot guitarist, using his old Yardbirds nickname for the album title and flashing the old superstar form.
art by Glass-Eye
Except for Eric's great slide guitar playing on the hard-edged slow blues, "Mean Old Frisco," the rest of the album is more subdued, with the influence of country songwriter Don Williams dominating Eric's writing. The devotional love song, "Wonderful Tonight," the sprightly shuffle "Lay Down Sally" and the calmly vengeful "Next Time You See Her" have the same modest intensity and forthrightness of "We're All the Way," the Williams song Clapton covers here. On "Next Time You See Her" Clapton sings, "And if you see her again, I will surely kill you," an unusual enough sentiment for him. But the line is all the more powerful because it is delivered quietly, with matter-of-fact resignation and even a touch of sympathy for the guy who will be his victim. In as striking of an effect as this it's easy to see that Clapton has learned the lesson he's been striving for all these years. He is in touch with the horrible moral power and long-suffering self-righteousness that is the essence of the blues. And that knowledge gives him the power to stand up and be himself. [Source: RS 254]
Artist Fact File
Name:Eric Clapton.................Related to³:Cream
Yrs Active:1963 to now............Site:www.ericclapton.com
Best Song¹:Tears in Heaven........#1fan:www.whereseric.com
Best Album²:Slowhand..............Grammy Awards:18
Albums Sold:Unknown...............Next best thing:JJ Cale
¹Number of downloads WINMX ²Artistdirect choice ³Associated acts or collaborations
Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs ranked this song at Number (Love the album tho) and the Album ranked at Number 325
This song has a crowbarred rating of 74.1 out of 108 pts

Click play to hear the rest of the album
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