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Eric Clapton

After he left The Yardbirds in 1965, Clapton, whose goal was to be nothing less than the greatest guitarist of his generation, followed his blues muse to the renowned John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. Shortly thereafter he joined forces with Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker in the legendary blues-rock band Cream. Cream had several hit albums and successful tours on both sides of the Atlantic before breaking up in 1968, after which Clapton and Baker joined the short-lived supergroup Blind Faith. His first solo album came out in 1970, almost concurrently with his work with Derek and the Dominos, a group Clapton put together from members of the Delaney & Bonnie & Friends band -- and guitarist Duane Allman sitting in on their studio double album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. The group effectively disbanded after recording its second album, when Clapton disappeared from the scene for some time battling a heroin addiction. He returned in 1973, and, with the release of the chart-topping 461 Ocean Boulevard in 1974, his solo career was off and running. In subsequent years, his career has been beset with ups and downs as well as personal tragedy. He's become less hotshot guitarist than comfortable balladeer, and his performances and albums range from the inspired to the phoned-in. He's experimented with a variety of styles over the last three decades, but, as with 1994's From the Cradle, he's at his best when he sticks with his blues roots.

Written by: Mary Eisenhart

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