Eric Clapton: Founding Father Of Blues Rock

There are many iconic artists in blues and rock.

But modern blues and rock styles have Eric Clapton to thank. The guitarist behind The Yardbirds and Cream revolutionized the way we hear rock music. Clapton’s style is so distinct, he also received success as a solo artist.

Clapton is apart of the British rock legacy, right next to The Beatles and Led Zeppelin.

You can hear his amazing guitar work in Cream and The Yardbirds, but you can hear his beautiful melodies in songs such as “Layla” and “Wonderful Tonight.”

Continue reading to discover more about the British blues rock star.

Early Years

Clapton was born on March 30, 1945. He was born from then sixteen-year-old Patricia Molly Clapton and Edward Walter Fryer.

Fryer was a Canadian soldier stationed in the UK. He had a wife back in Canada, so he didn’t stay and help raise Eric.

Patricia had difficulties raising a son on her own. So she lent Eric in the hands of her parents. Eventually, his mother married a soldier and moved to Germany with him. So Eric permanently lived with his grandparents in the UK.

Clapton’s grandparents were both musicians. At the age of 13, Eric received a guitar when he was younger. But the guitar was cheap and difficult to play for his age. But a couple of years later, Eric found the guitar and always played it.

Eric first fell in love with blues. He would listen to blues records and started learning the chords. He would record his practice sessions and would keep trying until he perfected his technique.

At around 16 years old, Eric started to get noticed. He began playing around his hometown in Surrey with other blues musicians.

The Yardbirds

Between 1963 and 1965, Clapton was in blues rock band The Yardbirds.

Around this time, Clapton discovered his signature guitar style. He was heavily influenced by blues guitarists but started playing in modern rock bands. This mesh of guitar styles would make Clapton become legendary.

The Yardbirds is best known for their major hit, “For Your Love.” But around this time, The Yardbirds developed a pop style. This annoyed Clapton, who didn’t want to deter from blues rock. So he left The Yardbirds.


Clapton played in a couple of other bands before joining Cream. This band was known as a “supergroup” featuring only notable musicians. The band was formed by drummer Ginger Baker and also featured bassist Jack Bruce.

Cream developed success, but they were also drowned out by some other rock bands and musicians during that time. But Cream received enough success to perform in the United States. This led them success.

Cream is best known for their singles such as “Sunshine of Your Love” and White Room.” Their albums Disraeli Gears and Wheels of Fire are some of the best blues rock albums in history.

Solo Artist and Legacy

During Cream’s success, Clapton resorted to drug and alcohol abuse. This and band member tensions caused Cream to break up. Clapton formed a couple of other bands before starting his solo career.

During this time, he became infatuated with George Harrison’s wife Pattie Boyd. From his feelings, he wrote his hit song “Layla.”

As he sobered up, he formed a touring band and wrote notable songs such as “Wonderful Tonight.” As he continued writing and touring, his success grew.

Legend in Blues Rock

Clapton suffered hardships in his life; he barely knew his parents, suffered from drug and alcohol addiction and married his friend’s wife.

Even with these difficulties, Clapton is one of the most legendary guitarists.

Clapton has sold albums worldwide, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times, and was the recipient of 18 Grammy awards.

We can’t promise you Eric Clapton but do take a look at our gig list to see plenty of up and coming blues rock bands.

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