Eric Clapton: A Life in 12 Bars (2017) - full transcript

A look at the life and work of guitarist Eric Clapton, told by those who have known him best, including BB King, Jimi Hendrix, and George Harrison.

Hi, this is Eric Clapton here.

I just want to uh...

Express my sadness

and uh...

To say, thank you,

to my dear friend B.B. King.

I want to thank him
for all the inspiration and

encouragement he gave me
as a player over the years and

for the friendship
that we enjoyed.


There's not a lot left to say
because this music, um...

It's almost a thing
of the past now.

So, uh, if you're not familiar
with his work then I...

I would encourage you to go
out and find an album called,

B.B King Live at the Regal.

Which is where it all really
started for me

as a young player.

[acoustic guitar playing]

[Eric] I had
a blissful childhood.

I was raised with a great deal
of love by my parents.

Especially by my mother.

Because she loved me
in an unconditional way.

[Rose speaking]

[ Puffin' Billy

[Eric] People say I was pretty
spoilt and I was selfish.

I'm sure I must've had
some qualities,

but not from what I hear.

I was very fond of painting
and drawing.

Anything that was introverted.

[Rose speaking]

[Eric] I knew that
I was different.

And I knew that other kids
at school

regarded me as different or
maybe inferior

and I did have a massive
inferiority complex.

And I didn't know why.

Then I found out that my
sister was really my mother.

She left when I was very,
very young

and I was raised
by my grandparents.

[Rose speaking]

[Sylvia] Pat was very lively,
very difficult youngster.

She wasn't easy.

Rose used to say
she was a nightmare.

She met this Canadian.

He was over here in England
in the village.

And it was one-night-stand.

In those days to be pregnant

and young
and you're not married

was awful.

Ric was born and she just went
to Canada.

If Rose and Jack
hadn't have taken him on,

I don't know what would have
happened to him.

I really don't.

[Eric] I felt hurt.

Very, very upset.

At that point
I mistrusted everybody

including my grandparents.

I was so confused.

It seemed to me that my life

had been a lie.

[blues riff playing on guitar]

[man on radio] Hello,
children everywhere.

This Uncle Mac.
Good morning, to you all.

Here in London
on Saturday.

[Eric] Uncle Mac
was on the radio

on Saturday morning.

And he would play
a variety of music for kids.

How Much Is That Doggie
In The Window?

All those kind of novelty
things he would play.

And then, every now and then,

he'd play
some different music.

♪All that time ♪

♪ Man, I've laid in my bed
so long... ♪

[Eric] You didn't hear that
anywhere else.

Except on
this kiddie's program.

And I thought, aw, man,

this is just for me.

♪ The landlady decided to call

♪ I was too evil to answer
the phone ♪

[Eric] I didn't even know
that it was black music.

I didn't know about black and
white being different stuff.

But something about it got me.

Something stirred me.

Without me even being
aware of it.

It took all the pain away.

Well, obviously when I got
to the age to buy records,

I went and bought them.

[harmonica playing]

[Rose speaking]

[acoustic guitar playing]

[Eric] I could get
the record player

down to the level
that was right

and play along

to my heart's content.


[Rose speaking]

[Eric] It was always
one man

with his guitar
versus the world.

He was completely alone and

had no options other than
to just sing and play

to ease his pain.

And that echoed what I felt.

So, more and more and more
and more,

I wanted to be like that.

I enrolled
in Kingston School of Art

when I was 15.

And I was really gripped by
the experience

of getting involved
in a life in the arts.

I wanted to know about
French literature.

I wanted to know about French
cinema, Japanese cinema.

I read Baudelaire.

I read Kerouac,

Ginsberg and Steinbeck.

But I was absolutely addicted
to blues.

Totally obsessed.

I had a record collection.

And I was skiving off a lot.

Going to try and find imports
in jazz record stores.

Muddy Waters, B.B King,

Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley.

[Mojo Working

♪ Got my mojo working but it
just won't work on you ♪

♪ Got my mojo working but it
just won't work on you ♪

♪ I wanna love you so bad
till I don't know what to do ♪

[Eric] There seemed to be

nobody that I could talk to,

would have any interest
in this.

You had to travel miles
to find another person.

We used to meet up
at the Marquee Club

up in Oxford Street.

The blues night was
a Thursday night.

And you would meet like minds
there and just dance.

I met Mick and Keith and Brian
over there.

They were just part of this
crew that would go there.

♪ Got my mojo working ♪

♪ Got my mojo working ♪

♪ Got my mojo working ♪

♪ Got my mojo working... ♪

[Eric] And so blues music
led me to the friends

that I was gonna have.


[Ben Palmer] In those days,
there was very little interest

in the blues.

It wasn't popular music
in this country at all.

I was one of those snobby
purist people.

And I got very interested in
a style of piano playing,

played by Muddy Waters'
pianist, Otis Spann.

I thought well, this music
belongs in a band, really.

So, I advertised in the
Melody Maker.

This bass player got in touch
with me.

Well, he said, "If only we
could find a guitar player.

"We could really start to get
this music working together."

[ Steppin' Out

We hired a room in a pub
with a piano

and this little fellow walked
in the door with a guitar.

He was about 17.

[music continues]

It was instantly clear
that he had a tremendous gift

and had worked really hard
to develop it.

We couldn't believe
how good he was.

It was a very small outfit
with no equipment.

We all went through one

Vocals, guitars
and everything.

We did more rehearsing
than playing.

But it was fun.

[music continues]

[Eric] Ben was the person
I knew,

from the minute I met him
was a serious guy.

And he was
a great piano player.

He was a deep inspiration
for me.

And a kind of
father figure too.

[Ben] I thought Eric had an
obsessive interest in music.

I thought it was the very core
of his being, really.

He was very friendly
but very private too.

And he tended to form very
close relationships

with people suddenly,
none of which ever lasted

for any length of time.

Anyway, Eric decided he was

going to be a professional

and so he had to make
a career move.

[man 1] Ten,

nine, eight...

[man 2] All right, take one
now. When you're ready.

Four, three, two...

[ I Wish You Would ]

♪ Early in the morning
'bout the break a day ♪

♪ That's when my baby
went away ♪

♪ Cryin' and pleadin'
won't do no good ♪

♪Come back baby
I wish you would... ♪

[Chris Dreja] We had been
working pretty regularly

and we'd lost
our lead guitar player.

Eric was in the same college
as we were.

We were one of the few
southern British blues bands.

So he joined the band sort of,

♪ Staying out
all night long ♪

We did a weekly gig on
a Sunday night

at a place called the
Crawdaddy Club in Richmond.

It was like a party.
Everyone would get together

and just go mad.

And I developed a little
following amongst these people

and I knew that there were
certain ways that I could

get them going.

♪ Trying to love me and
some other man, too ♪

He had his own group of
followers that used to stand

right in front of him
on the stage.

The Clapton clique.

Usually everyone would

go for the lead singer but
it was different in our band.

[Eric] It spread and it became
a fan base.

[ I Wish You Would

♪ Oh! ♪


[Paul McCartney] It's great,
you know, it's good fun.

There's lots of people
all comin' in, which is nice.

And we're having
a good time, you know,

with Freddy and the Dreamers,

and The Yardbirds
and everybody. It's good.

[Eric] We were considered
a good live act.

We were asked to do
The Beatles Christmas show.

And we thought
they were wankers.

But I got on with George
very well

because he was
a guitar player.

[George Harrison]
We were both in bands

and we did a Christmas season
in the Hammersmith Odeon

together and Eric
was in The Yardbirds.

And we met then.


[The Beatles singing]

♪ Can't do that ♪

[Eric] So people that came
to see Yardbirds

were really into the music.

When The Beatles came on,

they'd just start screaming
so that you couldn't actually

hear anything
but the screaming.

We would watch from the wings

and I would see how pointless
these guys thought it all was.



George was clearly
an innovator.

But the sad part was

that no one listened.

And I thought The Yardbirds
had real understanding

about what it was
really all about.

And it wasn't about
being famous

or getting on TV
or having a hit.


[indistinct chatter]

[ For Your Love

[Chris] Jim, Keith and myself

started to have many ideas
about areas of music

we wanted to pursue.

And when the music publisher
came along

with the song
For Your Love,

it just felt absolutely right.

♪ I'd give you everything
and more ♪

♪ And that's for sure ♪

[Eric] It was pop.

All the material we were doing
was blues music

which hadn't even properly
filtered through

to the mainstream here.

So we were
pioneering something.

I noticed
they were deliberately

growing Beatles haircuts.

I thought we've sold out.
I've sold out.

I've gotta get out of here.

[Chris] Eric played
on the studio sessions

For Your Love.

And then immediately left.

We had this massive record

and no lead guitar player.

[Eric] I was so disheartened
by the music business,

because it seemed to me that
everywhere I looked

everyone was on the make.

I think I was probably a nasty
piece of work

to have around, you know,
if you were tryin' to launch

into the successful
music world.



[Ben] Eric came to my house
in Oxford.

I was living on my own so,
it was a one to one thing.

And we just talked.

[Eric] I wanted his advice
on what to do

because I liked playing the
guitar and I love blues music.

But I thought I was gonna
give up everything.

And I stayed with him
for about two weeks

and watched him carve.

[Ben] We both have pretty
dysfunctional families.

And we would sort of sit
and talk about these things.

And I thought his interest in
his music was so obsessive

that he didn't really have
a choice about what he was

doing with his time.

He just had to go where
it was best to go.

I'm sure it's been with him
all his life.

[Eric] And while I was there
someone tracked me down.

And it was John Mayall.

television chatter]


Thanks, Bu.
And before we run out of time,

I think it's about time
we learn to do

the Crocodile Walk,

with Johnny Mayall
and the Bluesbreakers.

♪ See that crocodile walk ♪

♪ Hey, and he lookin' my way ♪

[Bob Dylan speaking]

♪ Any minute today ♪

♪He got a long way to walk ♪

♪ Lookin' for a home ♪

♪Yeah, I wanna see you smile ♪

♪ And, hey, hey, crocodile ♪

♪ Yeah, crocodile
now tell me ♪

♪ He might settle down
now, baby ♪

♪Ooh, yeah

♪Hey, hey, crocodile ♪

[John] When it came to blues
there was nobody like him.

Eric was that special.

He knew the history of it.
The background of it.

And he had the emotional
feel for it.

And the technique
to express it.

He was given this freedom

to let loose.

♪ Disappearing in the dark ♪

[Alex Hooper] Eric,
how much do you think that

his influence helped blues
based bands?

[Eric] If you're gonna
take it back to the roots

it's between him and Alexis
Korner and they're the ones

that started actually
physically playing it.

And there were lots of people

that collected
old blues records

but that didn't play.

But he worked in the clubs
playing it.

I mean, he's responsible for
the whole thing, really.

[Eric] The minute I got
into that band

I joined a working schedule
I'd never seen before.

We worked seven nights a week.

We played every night.

The Twisted Wheel
in Manchester.

The Mojo in Sheffield.

The Boathouse in Nottingham.

The Club a'Gogo in Newcastle.

I still had no idea
how you talk to girls.

I was very shy.

And then suddenly I was
dating, picking up girls.

It was like a girl
in every gig.

[John Mayall]
Eric lived in Ripley

and he didn't have transport.

So it became a matter of

that he'd stay at our house.

There was a spare room.

So he moved in there.

I had the family, you know,

so he was living in
the family house.

So it was very suburban.

The regular life with the mum
and dad and three children.

At night we did the gigs.

[Eric] He was very cool.

He had an incredible
collection of records

that I listened to all day
long. For about a year,

I just would put on records
and play along with them.

and I went at it.

[tabla playing]

A lot of my influences around
that time

weren't just guitar players,
they were other singers

and also Indian music.

I listened to Bismillah Khan
a lot.

I wanted my guitar to sound
like his reed instrument.

[Indian music playing]

[blues music playing]

[Eric] One of the
biggest influences

on what I wanted to achieve

with a guitar
was Little Walter.

The sound he made with
the harmonica,

playing through an amplifier.

And it was thick and fat.

Very melodic.

I had been wandering into
music shops

in the west end of London.

And plugging a guitar in.

I'd try that guitar with
that amp.

And I found this amp
way out in West London

and it was perfect.

It was an absolutely
perfect sound.

[amplifier hums]

[ Steppin' Out ]

[John] He showed up with
that guitar and that amp

and immediately people started
to idolise what he was doing.

And to certain extent that's
what bugged him the most.

He didn't want to be
looked at and inspected.

He just wanted to play the way
he wanted to play

and leave him alone.

[ Steppin' Out

Now, from the time

that you left The Yardbirds

and joined up with John Mayall
and company,

your head seemed to change
tremendously as far as

your music was concerned.

What kind of things were
happening to your head then?

Well, I really didn't change
as much as you probably think

because it's not really,

you know,
an individual change.

It was just put into
a different context.

So, I mean, the things
that I was doing

reflected differently,
you know.

I mean the...

The context of The Yardbirds
as opposed to John Mayall

is totally different.
One is pop and one is...

Was then even more earthier
blues than it is now.

Stuff you played then.

And you know, I just played
the same things

but they just
sounded different.

[man] Take three.

[blues music playing]

[Eric] We had been
on the road for long enough

to go in
and just play our set.

But at that period
there were technicians

doing the recording

that just came up to your amp
with a microphone,

stuck it two inches away from
the front of the amplifier.

It seemed to me that
if you wanted to get

the atmosphere that we were
getting in the clubs,

you needed for it to sound
like you were in the audience.

Ten feet away.
Not three inches.

And so when the guy did that

on that day that we went in
to record,

I said, "Excuse me, I don't
want it there."

"Put it over there."

He said, " Well, you're making
our job really difficult."

And I said, "I don't care,
that's the way I want it."

[blues guitar playing]

With Eric playing at the
sort of volume he was playing,

there was no way that
anyone could deal with it.

They didn't know what to do.
So we had to find a way

to deal with it.

That was the most
exciting part of the project

because when we found how
to do it, we had the sound.

[ All Your Love

[Roger Waters] That changed

Before Eric, guitar playing
in England had been

Hank Marvin and The Shadows.

Very, very simple,
not much technique.

Suddenly we heard something
that was completely different.

The record sounded unlike
anything that any of us

had ever heard before, it was
completely revolutionary.

[interviewer] Eric, now that
blues have started to emerge

as a really very
powerful force

on the pop scene.

And everyone's latching
on to it even though

they don't necessarily
understand the music.

Now, do you think
this is a bad thing?

No, because, you see,
what will happen is that

after a long time, they
will become

so well educated musically

that they'll be able to
dig spades singing the blues

instead of having to take
watered down imitations.

They won't have
to accept that any more

because they'll be
free thinking enough

to be able to look
at a coloured man and dig it

without having
any hang ups. You know?

And then, you know,

all the white guys
are gonna have to find

something their own to play,
that is good enough

to stand up to it because

they won't be accepted,
they'll be rejected.

There won't be any white
blues bands,

it couldn't happen.

What is it you think
about the music that draws

young white kids
to it?

Now, you mentioned
the fact that, uh,

groups like
The Rolling Stones

have turned them on
to the music.

I think white kids really
love a beautiful sound.

That deep tone.

Then even white kids
sing the blues.

They can play more blues than
I can ever dream of playing.

But you know, they'll never be
able to vocal like me,

you know that.

And I'm singing that
out to the church

and got that big tone,
I guess that's what

the white kids come
to see me for often.

Does it have something
to do with the feeling that...

That's what I'm saying,
that tone is the feeling,

you got the feeling in there,
for those kids.

And there's no way
you can counterfeit that?

You can't counterfeit that.

You mean,
in other words...

The young kids can learn
to play a guitar that way

but they can't learn
to sing that way?

Like me?

-You mean, white kids?

Oh, no.

-You know better than that.
-Why is that?

They ain't got enough soul

and they didn't have
enough hard times.


[Hughie Flint] I came around
to Jones' house one day

and he'd been out in
the garden reading

The Melody Maker
and he was furious.

And he said,
"Eric's rehearsing with a band

"in some church."

And I said, "Oh, is he?"

All of a sudden,
there it was.

There was this new group
that's gonna be

making its debut somewhere
and that was it.

It was very sudden.

Total lunatic.

Just said he's gonna quit.

[I Feel Free

♪ I feel free ♪

♪ I feel free ♪

[Eric] I wanted to be
a blues trio.

Fusing jazz and rock.

It was just a thing where

the three of us liked
one another's playing

and we decided to do it.

♪ I feel free ♪

♪ I feel free ♪

♪ Feel when I dance with you ♪

♪ We move like the sea ♪

♪ You, you're all
I want to know ♪

♪ I feel free ♪

♪ I feel free ♪

♪ I feel free ♪

♪ I can walk down the street
there's no one there ♪

♪ Though the pavements
are one huge crowd ♪

♪ I can drive down the road
my eyes don't see ♪

♪ Though my mind
wants to cry out loud ♪

♪ I ♪

♪ I ♪

♪ I ♪

♪ I feel free ♪

♪ I feel free ♪

♪ I feel free ♪

[Jimi speaking]

[Eric speaking]

[Jimi speaking]

[Eric] The first time
I saw Jimi, I think

it was a gig we did
in London

and I saw him a couple
of times at the speak easy.

He used to come around to
the flat a lot and stay there.

We had a great time really.

He was so shy, and quiet,
withdrawn and gentle.

We talk about every day
kind of ambitions, you know?

And the way we want
the world to be

but the conversation never
stayed that way for very long.

'Cause Jimi had such
a surreal mind.

Once you start going
talking about anything.

You'd end up talking about
flying saucers, you know?

Sort of purple velvet

[laughs] It's like.

And you couldn't keep him
on the ground for any length

of time.

[Jimi speaking]

[Eric speaking]

[indistinct chatter]

[Ben] Eric came to
my house in Oxford with Ginger

and said he was forming Cream

and would I like to go
and work for them.

I think he wanted somebody
around who he knew.

He was enjoying the new fruits
of success hugely

and the psychedelic musical
venture that was happening.

[Ahmet Ertegun] Eric and Cream
came to New York

and they came to record
in our studio.

They played songs
that are not absolutely

in a 12 or eight bar form
but have a blues feel.

It's a new music.

Especially when Eric
played the guitar.

[ Hey Joe

[Tom Dowd] When I walked
into my studio,

I had a bunch of English
roadies setting up

double stacks
of Marshalls

and double bass drums
and double cymbal stands

and so I just looked
and I thought,

"What, have I got two
of everything?"

I couldn't believe what
I was looking at,

it was just three men.

[indistinct studio chatter]

[Strange Brew

♪ Strange brew ♪

♪ Kill what's inside of you ♪

♪ She's a witch of trouble
in electric blue ♪

♪ In her own mad mind
she's in love with you ♪

♪ With you ♪

♪ Now what you gonna do? ♪

♪ Strange brew
kill what's inside of you ♪

[Richard Goldstein speaking]

[Eric speaking]

[Richard speaking]

[Eric speaking]

[Richard speaking]

[Eric speaking]

[Eric] We were recording
in Atlantic Studios.

We're sharing that workspace
with Ray Charles,

Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding

and Wilson Pickett,
so we were in their play room.

A lot of the time, we were
going out as Otis Redding

was coming in
or Aretha Franklin

was coming, the sessions
that would overlap.

And one day Ahmet said,

"What would you like
to play?"

And I said,
"Oof, would I? You kidding?"


[Eric] I looked in
and there was Joe South,

Bobby Hinton, Bobby Womack.

There were like five
guitar players on the floor

and Aretha on piano, singing.

And I went in there
with my permed hair

and pink trousers,
high-heeled boots.

Looking like a freak
from Mars

and they looked at me
like, "What's this?"

And I sat down
and played.

♪ If you had a dollar ♪

♪ And I had a dime ♪

♪ I wonder could
I borrow yours? ♪

♪ As easy as you could mine ♪

♪ Because when you need
my love ♪

♪ And I gave time
after time ♪

♪ And turn around
to find me no returns ♪

♪ Then, my friend
you've used my dimes ♪

[Ahmet] Aretha Franklin
started laughing when

she saw Eric because
he was wearing

psychedelic costume.

But when Eric played
the guitar,

Aretha stopped laughing

because it was the real thing.

♪ Your heart
to do for me ♪

♪ Then, baby, just don't
darken my front door ♪

♪ Baby ♪

♪ I want you to be as good
to me as I am to you ♪

♪ Baby ♪

[Eric] Man, that was it,
I thought if that comes out.

I don't have
to do anything again.

♪ Listen,
don't you walk around here ♪

♪ Feeling like you can
treat me any ol' way ♪

[camera shutter clicking]

I had just arrived
from Paris to be a model.

When I met Eric,
I didn't know

who he was at all.

He was a bit shy, he was
a bit inhibited at first.

But then we started
going out together.

And we pretty much
moved in together

very quickly.

[Eric] Charlotte
was very funny

and very, very open minded.

We had a friendship.

We just were comfortable

She saw who I was

for better or worse.

[Charlotte] I just started
feeling like

Alice in Wonderland.

I was totally into
the Beatles.

The next minute,
we were invited

to take part of this
special event by the Beatles.

It was like, "Okay."
[laughs] You know,


♪ Learn how to play the game ♪

♪ It's easy ♪

♪ Nothing you can make
that can't be made ♪

When I moved into
the Kings Road.

George would drop by
on his route home

out to Esher.

And I've been going
to Esher a few times

taking acid together, bit by
bit, we were becoming friends.

♪ All you need is love ♪

♪ All you need is love ♪

♪ All you need is love, love ♪

♪ Love is all you need ♪

[indistinct chatter]

[audience cheering]

[rock music playing]

The audience there
was so much more advanced.

Cream very quickly realized,
they could just open up.

I mean they would play the
same number for 40 minutes.

Improvisation every night.

[rock music playing]

And the audience
couldn't have enough of it.

It was exactly what
they had wanted to hear

and it had suddenly arrived.

[drumming intensifies]

[audience cheering]

[music ends]

[audience cheering]


♪ I went down
to the crossroads ♪

♪ Fell down on my knees ♪

♪ Down to the crossroads
fell down on my knees ♪

♪ Asked the Lord above
for mercy ♪

♪ Save me if you please ♪

♪ I went down
to the crossroads ♪

♪ Tried to flag a ride ♪

♪ Down to the crossroads
tried to flag a ride ♪

♪ Nobody seemed to know me
everybody passed me by ♪

[interviewer] Many of these
young players

coming along today

have been really turned on by
the way you play the guitar.

I'm grateful some of them
seem to like me.

I'm grateful because

to me, it seemed
to open a few doors for us

that seemed like that was
never gonna be open.

Because until the days of
rock 'n' roll a lot of times,

a lot of the places, we...
They just wouldn't accept us.

I'm not speaking racially,

I'm just talking about
the people at home

that just wouldn't accept us
in some of the places that...

The door's open now,
that you can go into.


[Bill Graham] B.B King played
the joints for years.

Otis Redding was
a black R&B singer

who played the southern route.

And what rock n' roll
or the popularity

of rock n' roll
has afforded us

is the opportunity
to use

good rock n' roll
as bait to bring

the people in, but once
they got it, present them with


some of the people who,
were it not for them,

there wouldn't be
any rock n' roll.

[B.B King] I was playing
in New York City

and I've been hearing about
this young guitarist,

the Cream and so on.

I met this young man.

Long hair
and very quiet like.

We had a jam session.

Eric seemed to take time,
it's like putting pieces

in a puzzle.

Like an old seasoned guy.

It could sound good,
but if you gonna play

more than two or three notes,
you need to have

a story to tell.

And he told me
some very good ones.

White America had
never paid attention to blues.

So thanks to Eric, really,
it awakened.

Started them listening.

Now a lot of doors were
opened for B.B. King

and many other people
like myself.


[Ahmet] They did like
300 shows a year.

And had a huge, huge following

based on their live

So at that time,
Cream got to be

the biggest band in the world.

Much bigger than
the Rolling Stones

and the Beatles.

[music ends]

[audience cheering]

[Jack] Eric Clapton, please.

When you're improvising,

do you use stock phrases?

Um, yeah, there are
always phrases

that I always play
that are stock phrases

that I work from
you know,

which are just like...

All these runs.

You know, I've put
together from old phrases

that I've first
started on like...

[plays guitar slowly]

And then they're just
kind of messed up

with other things
which I've learned like...

If a guy likes
playing football,

then that's what
he'll use to get...

To get all of his,
kind of, basic...

Kind of, angry bits
out of him,

you know, that you build up
through any day.

You can just, someone
is tooting the horn

in the car behind you
and you'll get angry

and you have no release
for it, you know?

Well, that happens
to everybody,

but you know, I've got
the advantage of being

able to sort of
play that out

on the guitar.

By being sort of, um,

fairly aggressive in
the way I'm playing,

not the way I use it.

That can be done too
with people like The Who.

Can you show us?

What you mean, you want me
to break the guitar up?

Well, no,
not quite, just an example

-of aggression in your music.
-Yeah, right.

[plays blues guitar]

[Charlotte] Eric
wasn't the best communicator.

There was a lot of unsaid
things, you know,

about where he was at.

He enjoyed part of it
very much.

There was an aspect
of being adored.

But it was difficult
to keep up.

And to be on tour
for months and months.

There was constant,
serious dispute

between Jack and Ginger
every day.

It didn't matter to them
what they were arguing about


It was just, they were
at each other's throats

and it was very intense.

We shut one another out,
I mean I would just run away

from him, we never socialized.

We never really shared ideas
any more, we just got

together on stage and played
and then went our

different ways.

The whole thing was awful.

[sombre music playing]

[indistinct chatter]

[guitar playing]

[Charlotte] Eric was
picking up his guitar at home.

and twanging
on it non-stop.

Which is not always
the easiest thing

when you're trying
to have a conversation

with somebody.

I remember finding myself
talking and I would get

a riff from the guitar back,

rather than
proper communication.

It was very hard to keep up on
an emotional, personal level.

You know,
I'm in love with Eric.

And then the world's
in love with him.

We just didn't talk about

Eric just wouldn't go there.

I always felt he was
running away from something.

He started going to George
and Pattie's quite a lot

when they lived in Surrey.

When Cream broke up,
I think spiritually,

he was really
rather bereft.

And he enjoyed hanging out
and played guitar and started

writing all day.

[John Lennon] Yes?

[Engineer] Start again.

-[cymbal crashes]
-[John] Okay.

George said, "I'm going
to do this song,

"I want you to play
the guitar."

How we doing, Hal?

[Eric] We did maybe
two or three takes,

and there was a very few

attempts at the song.

[John] Yes?

Just start again.

They were fast and furious,
they were harsh judges.

[While My Guitar Gently Weeps

♪ I look at you all
see the love ♪

♪ There that's sleeping ♪

♪ While my guitar
gently weeps ♪

♪ I look at the floor
and I see ♪

♪ It needs sweeping ♪

♪ Still my guitar
gently weeps ♪

[camera shutter clicking]

[Eric] It was just
one policeman.

His name
was Inspector Pilcher.

He wanted to bust
all of the people

that were in the pop business
for drugs.

He ended up getting done
for corruption.

He busted George

and the word was,
he had planted dope.

Ginger knew someone
in the police force,

who said I was
on Pilcher's list.

That night, the Pheasantry
got raided

and they planted
hash everywhere.

So I thought, well,
I better get out of town.

♪ See the love
there that's sleeping ♪

♪ While my guitar
gently weeps ♪

It's the first time I spent
any money really,

any of the money
that I made with Cream.

I never owned anything

I mean, I'd been bumming
around all my life

from the day that I first
left Ripley.

I just fell in love with it.

I had the most incredible
feeling of coming home.

Now, Eric had a house
in Newhurst

which is just beyond

So it's quite easy for
the two of them

to go to each other's houses.

[Charlotte] And it was just
like a really nice friendship

going on.

George had a lot of respect
for Eric's guitar playing.

It was just four friends.

[Pattie] We'd hang out

and we'd go to
the restaurants and bars.

He used to come over
to the house quite a lot.

Not always to see George.

I think as time went on.

You know how some people
have that stare that's longer

than it should be?

And I caught a couple
of those.

[Eric] I knew it was wrong.

George was my best friend.

But I felt a compulsion
towards her.

That she was probably
the most desirable woman

I had ever met.

And even though,
they were married,

I wanted her.

Even though
she was unavailable

and that frightened me.

[Pattie] I felt there was
a big confusion in his head

about women.

And what they represented
to him.

It was so intense
and he was so intense.

[ship horn blaring]

[Eric] When I was nine,
my grandmother said to me.

This lady's coming
and she's your real mum

and we're gonna go
and meet her

and she's gonna stay
for a little while.

She arrived by boat
and we went to meet her

at Southampton.

She was on
one of those big liners.

She came with two kids.

[Sylvia Clapton] Eric was
very quiet that day.

He's very shy.

He wanted to see
his real mum.

And I think Rick
was looking for love.

[Eric] We got back to Ripley

and then when everyone
came down to get a cup of tea

or whatever.

I wanted to know
the most important thing.

"You're my mum,
are you gonna be my mum?"

And she said,


"I think it's best
we leave it the way it is."

[Sylvia] It was so cruel.

She didn't like the fact
he called her, "mum."

I couldn't believe anybody
could be so nasty.

She brought her other son,

and he said to 'Ric,
"Are you my brother?"

And she heard that,
and she said, "No, he's not

"your brother."

I couldn't believe it,
she could say things like that

to a child.

[Eric] I was
so angry with her.

I just felt rejection.

I didn't talk to anybody.

I was more on my own
than I had ever been.

[sombre music playing]

[Presence of the Lord

[Steve Winwood] Eric felt that
he wanted to try something

a bit different

musically and asked me
if I'd be interested.

We were essentially
just experimenting.

None of us more than Eric
I think,

he was definitely going
through something.

[Eric] We were just
having fun,

we hadn't got an agenda.

I wrote a song called,
Presence of the Lord

which it starts out

with the line, "I finally
found a place to live."

And I was really writing
about Hurtwood.

♪ I have finally found
a place to live ♪

♪ Just like I never
could before ♪

♪ And I know I don't have
much to give ♪

♪ But I can open any door ♪

♪ Everybody knows the secret ♪

♪ Everybody knows the score
yeah ♪

♪ I have finally found
a place to live ♪

♪ In the presence
of the Lord ♪

♪ In the presence
of the Lord ♪

[Eric] By now, Charlotte
had had enough.

We broke up
and she'd gone back to Paris.

And I had begun on and off
to see this girl, Alice.

She was a great woman.

But she didn't know that
I was obsessed with Pattie.

♪ Everybody knows the secret ♪

♪ Everybody knows the score
yeah, yeah ♪

♪ I have finally found
a way to live ♪

♪ In the presence
of the Lord ♪

♪ In the presence
of the Lord ♪

[audience cheering]

[Pattie] One morning,
I woke up and

opening the mail, I found
this letter

with tiny little

And I opened it
and it said,

"Dearest L."

The spacing of the words
and the size of the lettering

compared to the size
of the page.

It was quiet,
but it was full of passion.

I almost had a sort of
physical reaction

that somebody could write
something so amazingly

beautiful and yet
keeping it quiet.

It was bursting with passion.

And later
in the early evening,

the phone rang
and it was Eric.

He said, "I mean
what I say in the letter."

[Bobby] The very first time
I met Eric.

We were opening up
for Blind Faith.

That band broke up,
so I called up Eric

and I just said,
"I needed to get away,

"and just to get quiet
for a while."

And he said,
"Why don't you come over?"

We just hung out and played
and watched silly programs

and stuff, you know?

[Eric] I was offered a concert
which was a benefit, you know?

Wouldn't make any money,
really, it was just a chance

to play somewhere.

Bobby and I

thought, "Why don't
we do that?"

So we only did
the rhythm section,

but the only rhythm section
we knew that we could

work with was Jim and Carl.

So we got Jim and Carl over.

And I think that was
the only thing we had planned.

[rock music playing]

[Bobby] It was all about
just playing constantly.

There was times when
we jammed in E for like days.

[Cathy] There was really
no break from it,

there was like
a constant musical party.

Everybody came over
to visit.

There was always
a lot of cocaine.

Lot of Mandrax,

which is kind of like
a quaalude.

LSD, mescaline and a lot
of pot, a lot of hash.

I knew something was wrong
with Eric, he wasn't himself,

he was very distracted
all the time.

Whenever I saw Pattie, I saw
him perk up a little bit.

He had a lot of pictures
of her around,

like modelling pictures.

I think that was even bigger
than his music,

because he seemed
to be so obsessed.

Eric started to phone me
and said, "Come on.

"You're obviously unhappy,
come away with me."

And I'd say, "No, I can't."

You know, I'm married
to George and he'll say,

"Look, come on..."

He was fun and awake
and alive.

It was the most
wonderful temptation

and I could only compare
him to George

who could be very cold
and would just turn off.

So from time to time,
during the summer,

Eric and I saw each other.

We'd go to little places for
coffee, lunch or even dinner.

[Bobby] George Harrison
rang one afternoon

and he asked Eric,

if he and I would like to
play on his first album

that he's gonna do.

He had all these songs,
you know?

Eric and I had talked
about who we wanted

in the band.

Of course we knew,
we wanted Carl.

And Jim Gordon
just storm trooped over

and we were ready to go,
we couldn't wait.

You know, because it was to go
into the studio and record

All Things Must Pass.

So, really, we put
the band together

during the
All Things
Must Pass sessions.

[My Sweet Lord

[Eric] That was our first

it was
All Things Must Pass.

It was the first Dominos
real recording.

But that's when
the drugs were coming in.

This guy would show up
at Abbey Road

and sell you your coke

but he'd make sure
that you bought

smack as well.

That was the deal,
he wouldn't sell you one

without the other.

♪ Really want to see you ♪

[Bobby] Eric says,
"You wanna try some of this?

You know, the heroin.

I said, "No, man,
let me just watch you."

He did it.

Just snorted it, you know?

I said, "What does
it feel like?"

He said, "Pink cotton wool
surrounding me."

[Eric] Then I went in
to a sort of trance.

It got really mysterious
and I didn't know where I was.

I had been given
a little Persian book.

The love story about
Laila and Majnun.

An absolute tragedy
of doomed love.

The hero ends up alone
in the desert

and gives his soul up
to Allah before dying alone.

I saw myself as that.

I saw the whole experience
with Pattie as tragedy.

[Pattie] Things became rather
tricky with George and I.

I met with Eric, we had
a drink in South Kensington,

he had a flat there.

Eric said, "You know,
I love you and I want you

"to be with me,
come away with me.

"I just feel that I need you."

[Eric] We'd been flirting
for quite a while.

But we hadn't gone
over the line.

But that evening.

We made love.

And then we realized that
we were supposed to be

at this party.

[Cathy James] Everybody was
there. It was a big party.

I went with Mick.

Paul McCartney was there,
Eric was there.

Pattie came without George.

[Eric] For the first time, it
felt like there was a chance

for us.

[Pattie] Eric said he wanted
to talk to me

and we were in the garden.

This was quite late, you know,
because the sun was beginning

to come up.

And George appeared
from nowhere

from the mists
of the morning.

[Eric] And I said, "I have
to tell you something,

"I'm in love with your wife."

[Pattie] And George looked at
me accusingly and said,

"Well, what are you gonna do,
are you going with him

"or are you coming back
with me?"

[Eric] I felt her detach.

Right there and then,
I knew the deal was off.

[Pattie] So I said, "George,
of course I'm going with you."

There were no extra words,
there was nothing else

to be discussed except who
was I going home with

and I found that
deeply depressing.

[Eric] Everyone knew that
George was playing around

but she was absolutely
loyal to him.

And I thought,
"What do you want?

"Do you want to see me crawl
across the floor to you?"

What do I have to do?

[Thorn Tree In The Garden

♪ There's a thorn tree
in the garden ♪

♪ If you know just
what I mean ♪

♪ And I hate to hurt
your feelings ♪

♪ But it's not the way
it seems ♪

♪ 'Cause I miss her ♪

♪ She's the only girl
I've cared for

♪ The only one I've known ♪

♪ And no one ever shared more
love than we've known ♪

♪ And I miss her ♪

[Bobby] Eric was going through
this major major trauma.

That's why all that music
spoke that way.

It was Eric telling
the truth about

what was going on
with him right then.

That was for sure.

♪ And if she winds up
walking the streets ♪

♪ Loving every other
man she meets ♪

♪ Who'll be the one
to answer why? ♪

The people in the South
will go out back

and roll around
in the gravel, you know?

About being in love
with your best friend's wife.

Eric did it musically.

He wanted so much
to get Pattie back

and he said
it was time to record.

♪ Maybe someday soon ♪

♪ Somewhere ♪

When we got to Miami.

We set up in Thunderbird
motel down there,

with very large bags
of cocaine.

We really didn't have
enough songs for an album.

But we had faith.

Played all day,
played all night.

Get back to hotel,
hole up in Eric's room

or something and playing
that thing.

[blues guitar playing]

[engineer] Once more,
once more, once more. Sorry.

[blues guitar playing]

[Tom] They started playing
me concepts for songs

that they had not
finalized the arrangements on

and I just kept tape
rolling for a day or two,

because I was learning
the songs as

they were playing them
and the songs

and the arrangements
were evolving.

[Eric] I can't do it. When it
gets a little more complicated

than a simple harmony,
I'm not sure if I could.

[Bobby] What if I started
out and did the first...

[Eric] And the guitar?

[indistinct conversation]

[ Bell Bottom Blues

[Tom speaking]

[Eric speaking]

[Eric] About two weeks
into the sessions,

we hit a brick wall.

We got stuck,
really badly stuck.

I'd written part
of the song in England.

For Pattie.

It had this sort of story
overlaid on him

about a little Persian book.

Laila and Majnum.

And I couldn't finish it.

What will you do
when you get lonely?

♪ And nobody's
waiting by your side ♪

♪ You've been running
and hiding much too long ♪

♪ You know it's just
your foolish pride ♪

[Bobby] That was for sure,

a tortured soul singing
right there.

But things were getting

The band really needed
a new direction.

[ Dreams

[Eric] Tom Dowd took us all
to see the Allman Brothers.

And I was completely
blown away by this band

and they just were
incredible musicians.

[Tom] Eric had never
met Duane.

He heard about Duane,
but Duane and I were

already tight.

It was Duane's show,
he ran that band,

he was the band leader.

That was it.

After the show, we asked him
to come back and we jammed

all night long.

[Duane Allman speaking]


♪ I've tried to give you
consolation ♪

♪ When your old man
had let you down ♪

♪ Like a fool
I fell in love with you ♪

♪ Turned my whole
world upside down ♪

♪ Layla ♪

♪ Got me on my knees
Layla ♪

♪ I'm begging, darling, please
Layla ♪

♪ Darling won't you ease
my worried mind ♪

[Duane] Hands are dead!

[Duane speaking]

[Eric] Duane and I just
became inseparable

for the rest of the time
we were there.

He was the catalyst
we needed.

It was all about love songs.

Ballads with
a different tempo.

It was that what
we can't see or touch

or smell, or taste or feel.

And of course,
it was all about Pattie.

That's why Eric is singing
all that pain and agony

and stuff.

[Pattie] I met with Eric
in South Kensington

he said, "I've got something
for you to hear."

♪ Bell bottom blues
you made me cry ♪

He played me
this album.

My gosh, it was
so powerful.

♪ If I could choose ♪

♪ A place to die ♪

♪ It would be in your arms ♪

♪ Do you want to see me crawl
across the floor to you? ♪

I was at bursting point
of emotion.

I couldn't believe that
I was the inspiration

for him putting
this together.

I thought when
I heard it,

that everyone would know
it was about me.

♪ Give me one more day
please ♪

♪ I don't want to fade away ♪

And I didn't want this
to happen.

I couldn't stop
listening to it.

But once the album
was finished, I couldn't wait

to get out and go home.

[ Layla

[Eric] It didn't work.

It was all for nothing.

It was like a...


The Jimi Hendrix Experience
is over.

The acid rock musician died
today in a London hospital

apparently from an overdose
of drugs.

During his short career,
Hendrix flailed his

electric guitar into
some of the most unusual

sounds of an unusual music.

[Eric] I went out into
the garden and cried all day.

'Cause he left me behind.

And not because he's gone,
but because he hadn't taken me

with him.

This made me
so fucking angry.

[Bobby] Well,
it shattered Eric, you know?

We had just recorded
Little Wing
couple of weeks

before that.

That was Eric's tribute
to Jimi.

So that had
a huge impact on Eric.

Morning, spot me on the
Bee Gees and the other one.


You hear the new mix
down there.

Eric, you're...

That Derek, they oughta be
a smash hit.

I'm telling you,
it's a mass...

Dill Besta, Greenbert.


All right, yeah.

Derek and the Dominos,
25 for cash box

and 24 for record.

I considered Eric the most
major artist on our label.

So I couldn't believe
the record wasn't selling

in America.

I didn't know
what to do.

And he knew, it was because
nobody knew that Derek

was Eric.

So, at that time,
Eric was very vulnerable.

Why not call the group...

by your name?

Everybody knows...

that Derek and the Dominos

are Eric Clapton,
you know what I mean?

[Eric] But then,
what's the difference?

[Howard] But, why, why not?

[Eric] Well, because...

I guess it's just more fun
to have a name, you know...

It's just lighter,
you know?

[Howard] I read something
about the idea that you wanna

give up touring, you're not
considering giving it all up?

[Eric] I don't think I could
ever stop playing.

You know, like I could vanish
anytime, I could just stop

making appearances
at anytime.

I think I could,
that's quite easy.

You know, financially
if I was secure enough

to able to not have
to go on the road

which I'm not at the moment,
I need to go out to make money

to exist.

If I didn't need to do that,
as long as I had someone

around me to play with,
you know,

I could probably just
stay at home all the time.

[audience cheering]

[sombre music playing]

[Eric] I feel much
more alone these days.

You know and if I'm alone,
I'll cry.

You know, literally
just weep.

What I want most is out.

You know, out of everything.

Because, right now, all I can
see is the suffering of today

and the suffering
of tomorrow.

[Steve speaking]

[Eric] It comes first.

-[Steve speaking]
-[Eric] Yeah.

It's like surrounding yourself
in pink cotton wool, you know?

Nothing bothers you,
whatsoever, man.

Nothing will faze you out,
in any way.

I also have this death wish.

[Steve speaking]

I don't like life.

[Steve speaking]

No. And I'm not gonna
live very long.

[Bobby] Eric
went into seclusion.

He turned and walked away,
without us.

And he got off
into the heroin.

And I was gonna stay there
and wait it out.

But it didn't seem like
it was ever gonna happen.

I thought it was
the beginning.

I didn't know it was the end.

[sombre violin music playing]

[Ben] I was in Wales
at the time,

and I went down to Hurtwood
where he lived.

I didn't know anything
about heroin addiction.

I just thought because I was
one of his oldest friends,

if not his oldest friend.

There just might be something
we could talk about.

And I saw him moving past
the window upstairs

in the house.

But the house was locked.

And nobody had responded
to me ringing the bell,

knocking the door.

In the end, I figured,
"He doesn't want to see you,"

and I left him alone.

[haunting music playing]

I didn't see him
for a long time.

And I thought to myself,
given his family history

so far, this is going
to be very difficult for him

to get through.

There are things you don't
get over.

You have to find a comfortable
place to put them.

But they're always there.

[plane engine revving]

With '74 tour, we started
Scandinavia at first,

just as a warm up.

He was fragile, I'm not sure
whether he was

really aware of everything
around him.

What was going on
around him.

[Eric] I managed to come off

But I just went from
one addiction to another.

And the attitude back then
was that alcohol was okay.

But for me, alcohol was far
more dangerous than heroin.

[indistinct announcement]

[Howard] Whether it be
record label forcing him,

management forcing him, may
have been a little too quick

going on a huge tour
like that,

and throwing him back into
the public limelight

after being a hermit

through the past
four or five years.

[audience cheering]

I'll drink to that.

[George] Eric discovered
Gevassier and Remy Martin

and just went into it.

if he got a hold of something,
he'd hit at it

until it was gone.

And before you know it,
he'd be through a whole bottle

of cognac before lunch time's

It looked like
he wanted to kill himself.

[audience cheering]

[Eric slurring]

[crowd booing]

[man shouting]

Some shows,
he played 30 minutes

and say, "I'm done."

You know the contract may
have said an hour and a half.

But you also have 25,000,
30,000 people that have...

Get a little upset...
That you just left.

[Eric] [slurring] Sit down
and shut up!

It was still legal
to throw bottles

and coolers and can openers
and whatever you want

to throw up there,
you could throw.

You'll think your life
is in jeopardy.

[Eric] Jamie Oldaker!


Smile, you cunt!

[marching music playing]

[Eric] The first disappointing
confrontation with my mother

was when I was nine.

I learned how to recover from
that over the next few years.

Becoming good at art and
developing a strong interest

in music.

By then I'd kind of developed
a personal look.

[children laughing]

[Rose speaking]

[Eric] I had my guitar and
that was my total companion

in its little case.

And then there came this
invitation to go to Germany,

because Pat's husband
had been stationed there

with the Canadian Air Force.

He came over to visit us
in Germany

and he was just so keen
on the guitar.

And we said, if he wanted
to bring the guitar with him

to practice, he could.

Because really and truly,
like everybody else,

we didn't take it seriously.

[Eric] We're on an army camp
and I didn't fit.

And it was suggested to me
that I should get a hair cut.

I said, "I'd rather not,
I like my hair the way it is."

My mother put on this face

"Dare to defy me."

And I thought,
"I don't like you.

"You don't want me

"And now you really
don't want me the way I am."

Rose said, "Please, do this."

Just to keep everybody happy.

So they gave me
a crew cut.

It made me cry.

And a couple of days later,
my brother came in,

my half brother and sat
on the guitar

and broke the neck
clean in half.

It was like, everything was
done to demolish

my personality

and make me null and void.

I was full of hatred,
anger and resentment.

So I thought, "Okay.

"That's the last time
I trust anyone."

Things became
very difficult with George

and I, and we decided
it would be better

if we parted.

I heard that Eric
was on a tour.

I went to surprise him.

Our relationship
hadn't been completed.

There was clearly more to it
than just snatched meetings.

[Eric] I hadn't seen her
for all those years.

Pattie must have known

she was getting involved
with someone

who was pretty unstable.

As much as I could love
someone, I loved her.

I was not just screwed up,
but you know,

a full blown addict by then.

Maybe I never got beyond
just wanting her

from a distance.

[Pattie] We would do all sorts
of things together

and he would say,
he loves me.

But he wanted
to drink all the time

and it just increased.

But then when he had
too much to drink

or became really seriously

and I felt that he didn't love
me either.

So this was really ghastly

until maybe the next day

and he'd be loving again.

He was quite scary,

and he would scream
at me across hotel lobbies.

He was just listening
to a different drummer

when he was that drunk.

[Eric] Mind if I have
a drink?

[man speaking]

Tell you what, you want
to come on stage

and talk, you want to come up
here and talk about it?

I'll fucking have you,
I'll tell ya.

[Jamie] It got to be a point
of wondering,

you know, each show,
what's going to happen

tomorrow night?

And I used to ask Carl,
"What's up with this guy?

"They told me
he was a nice guy."

You know, I have
to lock my doors every night

and hide from this guy,
'cause he's out of his mind.

[rock music playing]

[music slowing down]

[Eric] When I realized
what I said,

I just was so disgusted
with myself.

I was so fucking angry.

And I thought I needed
to apologize to the people

I said that to.

Because it was so shocking
and unforgivable

and I was so ashamed
of who I was.

I was becoming
not only chauvinistic

but fascistic too.

I was a kind of
a semi racist

which didn't make sense.

I mean, half of my friends
were black.

I dated black women
and listened to black music

and championed black music.

But it didn't matter at all.

They could have all gone
to the wall as long as I had

the bottle.

I hated everything.

I thought I had
this dream, you know?

About the perfect band,
you know?

I the...
And the virtuoso

of each instrument,
you know?

I thought I was
a virtuoso.

My instrument,

thought Jack and Ginger
was the virtuoso

and, uh, we all thought that.

I'm sad that it
actually ever happen, really.


I mean, I wouldn't want
to change anything

but probably would've
done better

to stay with John Mayall

and then because, it was that
Cream thing,

it was all like...

It was just aggressive


It's not even
worth it, is it?

Just fucking do it.
She's got another stash.

[Pattie] Eric was a very
sad person.

Very, very sad.

He was a broken man

who can't cope,
who can hardly speak.

He started having seizures

and then the doctor told me,
unless he stopped drinking,

he would die.

[sombre music playing]

[Eric] The only reason
I didn't commit suicide

was the fact that I wouldn't
be able to drink any more

if I was dead.

My capacity for the love
of alcohol was boundless.

So I drank and drank
and drank.

Again and again
and again.

When making records
during the drunken period.

I personally find it difficult
to listen to,

because I can hear
how drunk I am.

All of these albums

elements where
it's moved up a notch

and I've been given
the chance to sing and play

in a way that I hadn't before.

[audience cheering]

I went off to Moscow,

a lot of things took place
while I was there.

I ended up having
an affair

with the studio

George Martin's
Air Studios in Montserrat.

A lovely woman
called Yvonne,

very attractive lady,
very funny, very witty.

And I got a letter from her

saying she was pregnant
with a daughter

and that she didn't have
any expectations from me,

she was going to try
and raise the child

in her existing marriage.

And I knew I just
wasn't capable of having

a relationship.

♪ When, when ♪

Okay, let's just
do it more acapella.

One, two , three, four.

♪ When I see those big,
brown eyes ♪

♪ That's when I take my cue ♪

♪ Don't take us but
a few minutes to get ♪

♪ A message through ♪

♪ I talk to you,
you talk to me ♪

♪ I keep talking to
the wrong person ♪

♪ It don't take but
a few minutes ♪

♪ To get a man's... ♪

Understand each other.

Am I gonna
remember that?

Well, you wrote it.

[Eric] I was in absolute
denial about my alcoholism.

I had gone to the best
treatment centre in the world

but I got into dope again

and alcohol and blow.

And I was trying
to hide it from everybody.

Some people say
you have to live the blues

to sing the blues.

During that period
of time in your life

where you were involved
with drugs and alcohol,

did you do that
to justify that point of view?

No, you know, I was
just a party animal.

A fun seeking boy.

And then I was in Milan,
touring and a promoter

then she introduced
me to Lory Del Santo.

I was just smitten
with her

and decided I'm going
to start my life from scratch

here in Italy without any idea
where it was going to go.

[Pattie] He was
a complete asshole.

There was no relationship,
and I knew it wouldn't work.

And I felt so sad that
he and I split up

because of
that ridiculous idea.

But he was a sick person
and he obviously believed it.

[Eric] We tried to make
a go of it.

But she didn't know
who she was dealing with,

I was not grounded in any way.

I said, "Well, look, I don't
think this is working.

"I want to go back
to my wife."

And she told me,
"Well, that's not really

"good news, because
I'm pregnant."


Conor was the first thing
that happened to me

in my entire life

that really got to my core

and told me,
time to grow up.

Strong man.

I could not fuck around
any longer.

I could not damage this.


Catch that.

[making cooing noises]

[reporter speaking]

Well that came about
quite out of the blue.

I met this young lady
and bang it happened.

It was like the baby
was looking for parents too.

You know,
to give it life.

And he's great,
it's wonderful.

Yes, just you know,

grow up happily
with my son.

I got to the place where
I couldn't live without

a drink and I couldn't
live with it.

When I tried to stop
on my own,

my withdrawals were so hard

that I had a grand
mal seizure.

I was on my own
in the house one day.

And I got down on my knees
and prayed.

Was a really clumsy experience
but it was born out of real


And I said, "Just
let me have some peace."

[reporter] What effect has
fatherhood had on you?

[Eric] A very stabilizing
effect because you suddenly

have to stop being
so selfish, you know?

You have to think more about
the life of someone else.

It is like a blood thing.

It's a tie for the rest
of your life.

And I love him dearly

and really he's made
a massive change in me.

[audience cheering]

Lory and Conor
were staying in New York

in this place called the
Galleria on 57th street.

And I was in New York as well.

So I took Conor to see
the circus on Long Island.

We had a great time.

The following day, I was going
to take Conor for lunch

maybe on my own.

It was about eleven
in the morning.

I was getting ready to go
up to 57th Street.

Then I got a phone call
from Lory,

just kind of screaming.

She said, "He's dead."

I thought, "What's she
talking about?"

She said, "He fell out
the window."

[reporter] There couldn't
have been a bigger nightmare.

Before anyone could stop him,
four-year-old Conor Clapton

had plunged to his death
from the 53rd floor

of the Galleria building.

He made it past his mother
and three other adults

who were in the apartment

to a window that had just
been cleaned and left open.

There was nothing
to break his fall

except the roof
of an adjoining building.

It's just a tragic accident,
that the child apparently

wandered into...
Into the bedroom,

wandered close
to the window

and just by the fact that
the window ledge was low.

It appears that he just
tragically fell out.

[Eric] I felt like I stepped
back out of myself.

I couldn't grasp it,
I could not grasp it.

And I went with the body
down to the nearest hospital.

I went to see him

and I said goodbye to him.

And I did lose faith.

[Pattie] It was horrific.

I just couldn't think
about that little boy.

This little soul.

Eric was a fighter.

But I know that

as well as myself,
a lot of his friends

were very concerned
about him,

his sobriety,
he was on his own.

[Eric] Italians had gone home
and Hurtwood was quiet

and it was just me there.

With my thoughts.

I started opening all my
letters of condolence.

Thousands and thousands
of them.

I opened one and it was
from Conor.

And it had been posted
weeks before from Milan.

And I realized if I can go
through this and stay sober

then anyone can.

And I suddenly became
aware of the fact

that there was a way to turn
this dreadful tragedy

into something positive.

That I would consider living
my life from this point on

to honour the memory
of my son.

[acoustic guitar playing]

I got hold of the little
Spanish guitar that I had

lying around.

And I had it with me
the whole time.

From the minute
I woke up.

And for the rest of that year,
I just played and played

to stop from facing
this situation.

[Tears In Heaven

♪ Would you know my name? ♪

♪ If I saw you in heaven ♪

♪ Would it be the same? ♪

♪ If I saw you in heaven ♪

♪ I must be strong ♪

♪ And carry on ♪

♪ 'Cause I know
I don't belong ♪

♪ Here in heaven ♪

♪ Time can bring you down ♪

♪ Time can bend your knees ♪

♪ Time can break your heart ♪

♪ Have you begging please,
begging please ♪

[Eric] Music saved me.

Just as it had when
I was a boy of nine.

It took the pain away.

And I wrote these songs
for myself

because I was feeling
terrible inside.

♪ Beyond the door ♪

♪ There's peace I'm sure ♪

♪ And I know there'll be
no more ♪

♪ Tears in heaven ♪

And the Grammy goes to
Tears in Heaven,

Eric Clapton.

And the song
of the year is,

Eric Clapton and
Will Jennings, songwriters

for Tears in Heaven.

And the album
of the year is...

♪ 'Cause I know... ♪

Eric Clapton.

[Eric] As much as I'm proud of
what I've achieved musically.

It's all dust really.

At some point, there will
be people who have no idea

what I did and who I am.

And I'm quite comfortable
about that.

[audience applauding]

Thank you.

Finally, me and my daughter,

were able to begin
our own relationship,

which was wonderful.

And it took me
to a place

where I was able to have
a great relationship with Ruth

and also become available

to have a relationship
with another human being,

Now see that's, that was the
first time I felt like that

in my entire life.

[Larry King] I have a brochure
to show you quickly called

Crossroads centre at Antigua.

But this... This is
an Eric Clapton project,

what is it?

For the last three years,
I've been trying to start

a treatment centre
in Antigua.

For addiction?

For addiction to drugs
and alcohol, yeah.

So are you doing it
for people who live

on the island?

I'm primarily doing it
for people that have no money.

That need treatment.

There's 100 guitars here,
some of them were with me

through some really
extreme times.

But I want them to raise a lot
of money for the foundation

and to carry the message
of the centre.

[auctioneer] Five hundred
thousand out there.

Six hundred thousand I'm
offered. 700,000, 800,000.

Eight hundred and fifty
thousand dollars.

And sold.

[Eric] Music has given me
a great life.

That's never betrayed me,
it's never gonna let me down.

But if it doesn't have
the same value as knowing

that there are people out
there that I've helped

get sober through
the treatment centre.

[audience cheering]

[Robert Cray]
Let's bring on Hubert Sumlin.

Please welcome Buddy Guy.

Put your hands together
for the king of the blues.

B.B. King.

[Ben] If he hadn't heard
and liked the blues.

He could just about about
retiring from

the building trade now.

Having spent his life,
laying tiles like his father.

If you guide yourself
into the worst aspects

of life which he undoubtedly

Nobody pushed him down
to the depth

that he felt he reached
at several points.

And nobody has got
him out.

Now, I mean that is a very
powerful personality.

It doesn't necessarily
have to show itself

in company.

But it must be there
for him to have survived.

[Eric] And then I met Melia
and fell in love.

She's everything
I ever wanted.

She's my soul mate.

She's a beautiful woman,
she's a great friend.

And she's a fantastic mother.

What more could
a man ever want?

Hello, this is Sophie.

Here she is.
And this is Daddy.

And this is Ella.

Here is Mommy.

And here is me.


[all screaming]

[Eric] It's everything I did
and all the mistakes

I made and everything
that brought me here.

And it couldn't me
much better, really.

I finally found the family
I always wanted.

And always needed.

And now here they are,
and I'm one of them.

My life is completely full.

And I would like to say
a toast

to the Boss.

Give me a little
talking music, will you?

Robert, please.

Keep it down,
keep it down.

Ladies and gentlemen,
for you, I know that you know

that Eric is a great artist.

He flew all the way
to California

to make my first CD.

Not only did he do that,
he's done so many things

for a lot of us,
including this guy.

So I'd like you
to know...

I'm gonna shut up in a minute,
but I'd like you to know.

That I've been around
the world,

I've played 90 different
countries around the world,

and I've met many people,

kings and queens.

But I've never met a better
man, a more gracious man

than my friend, I like to call
him my friend, Eric Clapton.

[audience cheering]

So I say to all of you...

May I live forever...

But may you live
forever and a day.

'Cause I'd hate to be here
when you pass away.

And when they lay me out
to rest...

As I mentioned,
I'm 81 now.

When they lay me out
to rest, may the last voices

I hear be yours.

Saying while we was alive
we was friends.

[Mainline Florida

♪ My heart was leaping
in the sun ♪

♪ My friends all say
that you're the one ♪

♪ Let me get this
one thing very clear ♪

♪ There ain't enough
going on down here ♪

♪ Mainline Florida, oh say ♪

♪ Mainline Florida, okay ♪

♪ Her arms were open
open wide ♪

♪ Her invitation's
a changing tide ♪

♪ I could remember
not long ago ♪

♪ We took a cruise
down on Hotel Row ♪

♪ Mainline Florida, oh say ♪

♪ Mainline Florida, okay ♪

[guitar solo]

♪ Her arms were open
open wide ♪

♪ Her invitation's
a changing tide ♪

♪ I could remember
not long ago ♪

♪ We took a cruise
down on Hotel Row ♪

♪ Mainline Florida, oh say ♪

♪ Mainline Florida, okay ♪

♪ Hey ♪