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review 2017-10-28 00:00
Clapton: The Autobiography
Clapton: The Autobiography - Eric Clapton https://msarki.tumblr.com/post/166875778683/clapton-the-autobiography-by-eric-clapton

Eric Clapton takes no shortcuts in his debunking of any possible popular myth that he was in any way special or of good character. His deftness on the guitar came from countless hours of practice and his talent was revered by many involved in the music business. Fans such as myself considered Clapton a better man than he was simply based on the quality of the music he produced and the rock god he portrayed so elegantly on the stage. In page after page Clapton proves how despicable he truly was while in the throes of decades of drug and alcohol addiction. Several hard years laboring to acquire a quality sobriety insisted Clapton make an honest assessment of himself and to make appropriate amends. It helps the reader of this autobiography to be himself a recovering drug addict or alcoholic to fully appreciate the brutal and unrelenting exposure of the truth behind the life of Eric Clapton, and the countless and perhaps tiresome confessions he employs in this revealing book. I would imagine it might be too much for those who have no understanding of addiction and recovery, and thus perhaps it becomes a negative reading experience. For me, as disturbing as it is to read my guitar hero confess his often deplorable sins, it is also an instructive and mesmerizing read, as well as joyful to engage in this experience.

Old bandmate Carl Radle, one of rock’s greatest base payers of all time, was another struggling addict who died through substance abuse. Clapton still feels responsible for Radle’s death. It was Carl Radle who first helped Eric Clapton when he needed it most, and when Radle needed someone to lean on Clapton was not available. Same thing happened to me, and you never recover from this guilt. I was early into my own recovery when my cousin John called long distance from Michigan for help. He asked to come to Louisville and learn firsthand how I was staying sober. I was barely hanging on, and particularly selfish to the degree I believed would insure my own survival. It was, for me at least, every man for himself. Soon after that call for help my thirty-two year old lifetime friend died in a tragic auto accident due to his purported inebriation as he fell into a relapsed use of alcohol and cocaine.

Clapton’s tale is quite ugly. It seems as if he felt he had to confess every wrong he ever committed. His list of sins is unimaginable. All the adulteries reported and the mean and awful pranks he played on loved ones portrays him as a very lost soul with an extremely flawed character. The book for me was often painful to read. But he was not bragging about his numerous dalliances as others are wont to do. Clapton judiciously proves again and again how human he is, but he never asks for our forgiveness. He comes clean for himself, knowing he can never make up for what he has missed or the harm he has caused others. In light of the many wasted days and nights in the throes of his active addiction and initial fitful recovery, Clapton still managed to produce some of the greatest music rock and blues aficionados have ever heard. And for this we should be grateful.

In Clapton’s later years he has obviously become extremely appreciative of his friends and family. Perhaps misconstrued as being a bit sentimental at times, he refrains from becoming sanctimonious. Expressed and ebullient gratitude is often too much to bear for the more somber ones among us. But addicts who have regained a strong foothold in life seem to be overwhelmingly relieved and satisfied that their misery is behind them. And the wake never ends.
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video 2014-06-23 03:36

There's something 'bout me, baby, 
You got to know.


I get off on '57 Chevys,
I get off on screaming guitar.
Like the way it hits me every time it hits me.
I've got a rock and roll heart.

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review 2012-08-20 00:00
Clapton: The Autobiography
Clapton: The Autobiography - Eric Clapton It seems as if Eric Clapton wrote this tell-all autobiography in an attempt to debunk the oft-heard graffiti-fied slogan “Clapton is God”. If so, mission accomplished.

Although I’ve loved his music since I can remember, I always thought he was probably kind of a dick. This book proves it. Oh sure, he’s got his reasons: illegitimacy, abandonment and a bevy of the usual childhood dramas. But hey, there’s a lot of people who’ve had it rough and they didn’t turn out to be cocks. Even so, I've give him credit for owning up to his dickedness.

Clapton will always hold a place in my heart for the work he did in the '60s with such legendary bands as the Yardbirds, Cream, Blind Faith, Derek and the Dominos, John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers.

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I would've been oh-so happy to read an entire book dedicated to his work during those years, but this is not it. And that's understandable. This is after all an autobiography about his entire life thus far and it's always best if those don't bog down in any one era of a person's life.

But considering the work he did in the '60s and how huge a rockstar Clapton is now, can you even imagine the level he’d be on if he didn’t waste the following decades of his life drinking and doing drugs? I mean, this guy had serious addiction problems and once the book moves on to discuss his life during the '70s it turns almost entirely into a broken record, revolving around and around, detailing year after year how fucked up he was on coke and heroine. Then, once he finally kicked drugs, it became all about the booze. How he managed to live through the '70s and '80s, never mind actually put out albums and perform, is beyond me. Seriously, by all rights the man should be dead after all the shit he’s ingested.

I was fairly sure going in that I wasn’t going to enjoy the book after he was done discussing his career in the '60s, but I read on and I don’t regret it. It’s a decently written book laid out with a linear timeline, so it’s generally easy to follow. I did have one issue. Clapton is a name dropper…no, not the kind of name dropper that tries to make themselves seem more important by mentioning the names of all the famous people they know (even though Clapton does know quite a few), but rather he seems to name just about every person whomever ever came into his life. Hell, his local pub landlord even gets a mention! I don’t have a problem with giving shout-outs and props to people who mean something to you, but the problem is that it’s difficult to keep track of all the names of the many people who apparently have meant something to him. More than once I had to ask myself, “Who’s that now?”

Clapton bravely tackles an embarrassing aspect of his life, his unfortunate, ignorant racist comments. He also touches upon the death of his child and his efforts to sober up, so for those who need to see a dose of humble repentance and redemption, you get a measure of it. Is it enough to redeem him in my eyes? Not really. Does that matter? No. The point is, this is a decent book for those looking to learn more about its author. Just be prepared to learn a little more than you might care to.
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review 2011-03-20 00:00
Wonderful Tonight - Penny Junor,Pattie Boyd Please see the full review at Books That Rock Us.
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review 2008-02-01 00:00
Clapton: The Autobiography
Clapton: The Autobiography - Eric Clapton Well I came away from the book both more impressed and disappointed with Eric Clapton. As far as I can tell, he wrote the book himself -- no credits appear for a co-writer. Perhaps it was therapy for him to do while on tour and no longer living the drugging, drinking life. He doesn't really talk about that -- how hard it must be. He starts off in a working class family in a small village in England in the 40's. He's raised by his grandparents, because his mother was a teenager who got involved with a soldier. She turns Eric over to her parents to raise as theirs and takes off for a number of years. Once a teenager, he goes to art school and that gets him involved in the worlds of fashion, art, and ultimately music, although he has no formal music training and receives no real encouragement in school. This is one of the impressive areas -- how much he learns on his own, and I guess is a reflection of his innate ability and talent to some degree as well. The book then gives a chapter to each of his bands, which goes through quickly in his teens and twenties: the Yardbirds, John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, Cream, Derek and the Dominoes, etc. It's hard to take it all in, that one person went through all of this, along with all the incidental sitting in with other bands, etc. Especially considering all the drinking and drugs and women that he goes through at the same time. You certainly get the sense of how he lives a rarefied life, with almost everyone looking up to him and deferring to him, and how this affects him. But it's also hard to understand why he has such a messed relationship with Pattie Boyd -- I never really understand why he was so attracted to her in the first place, and how poorly he treats her once he gets her. So it's also hard to understand the real nature and depth of his relationship with Melia when it comes much later. What's different of course is that they actually share activities, but it's still hard to understand how someone so much younger than him could be so self-possessed to keep her head around him. So, he does not try to make his life look more attractive than it is (at least that was not the effect on me). On the one hand, I feel I know a lot more about him, and on the other hand, he seems more mysterious. So it was a frustrating book in some ways, but I was definitely engaged in it, wanted to see what would happen, and read it quickly.
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