YMMV / Eric Clapton

  • Adaptation Displacement: Clapton almost exclusively played the Unplugged Version of "Layla" in live shows for a time due to the extreme difficulty of coordinating the song outside the studio. These days, it mostly depends on which sidemen he has. A rare example of an artist displacing their own song, as the acoustic version is the version you are most likely to hear on pop stations these days and it is the version younger listeners are more familiar with, although the electric version still remains a beloved classic as well.
  • Cargo Ship: "I've Got A Rock 'N' Roll Heart" amusingly sounds like it's about this if you take lyrics too literally:
    I get off on '57 Chevys
    I get off on screamin' guitar
  • Covered Up: Clapton didn't write "Cocaine". That was J.J. Cale.
    • Most people know "I Shot The Sheriff" was originally a Bob Marley song, but some think it's a Clapton original.
    • Also "After Midnight", another J.J. Cale song.
      • Clapton actually covered up Cale twice with "After Midnight". Clapton's up-tempo 1970 version was based on Cale's obscure 1966 original. When Cale re-recorded it in 1971 he rearranged it into a slow, bluesy song, and when Clapton re-recorded it in 1987 it was more in line with that take of the song.
    • Ditto "Crossroads", a Robert Johnson tune.
    • "Change The World" was first sung by Wynonna Judd.
  • Creator Breakdown: After the death of his son, Conor, in 1991. He came back with "Tears in Heaven".
    • And "Layla", his way of shouting out the pain from his unrequited love to Pattie Boyd, then-wife of his buddy George Harrison.
      • What's more, he's admitted that pretty much everything he wrote for Derek and the Dominos is about Patti in some way.
  • Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: "Wonderful Tonight" and "Let it Grow"
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: "Cocaine".
  • Epic Riff: Several, especially "Crossroads", where his arrangement is the most famous.
    • While the riff in "Layla" is definitely epic, that was Duane Allman, not Eric Clapton on the guitar. This leads people to mistakenly believe that ALL the great guitar playing on the album was Duane Allman, even on the three tracks on which he did not appear.
  • Face of the Band: Much as he tried to avoid this, Derek and the Dominos is best known for Eric Clapton. On the other hand, while Cream is best remembered as one of Clapton's bands, back in The '60s all three members got equal attention. Bassist Jack Bruce was even the front-man.
  • Growing the Beard: The first time he grew a full beard was in 1969 with Blind Faith, when was getting disillusioned with his "guitar hero" status. After the tour, he joined Blind Faith's little-known supporting act Delaney and Bonnie and Friends. The duo encouraged him to work on his singing and song-writing abilities. He became more than just a guitarist and more well-rounded as an artist. This led directly to his first self-titled album and a very successful solo career. In fact, the most well-known image of him is with a beard during the 1970's and 1980's rather than the baby-faced (or thin-moustachioed) kid from The Yardbirds, The Bluesbreakers and Cream.
    • Prior to that was the level of virtuosity and feel Clapton acquired between leaving The Yardbirds (where he was already well regarded as an impressive player) and the "Beano" album, which set the scene for the rest of Clapton's career.
  • Memetic Mutation: CLAPTON IS GOD.
  • Never Live It Down: Going on stage, dead drunk in 1976, and stumbling into an anti-immigration, anti-black rant including such choice sayings as "Throw the wogs out! Keep Britain white!". Clapton has tried to defend it in the past as drunken trolling, but mostly him, his fans, and his numerous multi-ethnic collaborators all just pretend it never happened.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Clapton is best known now for his unplugged solo material and his lighter pop hits, but back in the 60s he was an even more influential guitarist than Jimi Hendrix. This was even the guy who influenced Hendrix.
    • The image of a guitar hero playing a Gibson Les Paul through a Marshall amp arguably began with Eric.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: Goes both ways with "Let It Grow". Reviewers in 1974 noted the resemblance of the melody to "Stairway To Heaven". Fast forward eight years, and "Africa" has melodic similarities to "Let It Grow".
  • Tear Jerker: "Tears in Heaven". Oh, goodness, "Tears in Heaven". The story behind his four-year-old son Conor's death is just heartbreaking.
    • "Bell Bottom Blues, you made me cry..." is an apt description of the effect the titular song can have.
      • "Wonderful Tonight" from 24 Nights, his Royal Albert Hall performance and two-disc set. It's slower-paced and a lot gloomier—if the original one is the main couples' dance at your wedding, then this one is you watching the new couple have their first dance, while feeling that you must examine your own life a bit harder if you're ever to have that shining moment.
      • "My Father's Eyes" deals with Clapton's experiences growing up without knowing his father. In the first verse, he expresses a sense of lacking direction ("Just a toe-rag on the run/How did I get here?/What have I done?"). In the second, he describes the joy of raising his son, but also doubts his worth as a parent ("Where do I find the words to say?/How do I teach him? What do we play?"). In the final verse, disaster has struck and his son is dead, and he realizes that he had his father's eyes. ("As my soul slides down to die/How could I lose him?/What did I try?/Bit by bit, I've realized/That he was here with me/I looked into my father's eyes")