Thursday, September 3, 2009

Wonderful Tonight

Where does one begin when one tries to highlight Eric Clapton? In the 60s Clapton played with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, The Yardbirds, Cream and Blind Faith. His solo career has carried him through the decades to the present day. I saw him in concert a couple of years ago and the man's still got it, although he was aided by two supporting lead-guitarists, including guitar phenom Derek Trucks.

But I'm a big fan of the Clapton of the 70s - the period of Derek and the Dominos, Delaney and Bonnie and Friends, 461 Ocean Boulevard and so on. And my all-time favourite Clapton song from that era has to be Wonderful Tonight.
Any fan of Clapton knows the background to the inspiration for the song. George Harrison's former wife Patti Boyd and Eric Clapton were living together. He was waiting for her to get ready to go to a Buddy Holly tribute organized by Paul McCartney. In the time it took Patti to get ready, Clapton had written the song. Patti wasn't just Clapton's muse. Harrison had written Something and For You Blue for her too.

Wonderful Tonight was off the 1977 album Slowhand. The 70s were hard on Clapton in terms of his dependence on drugs and alcohol. In his memoirs, Clapton talks about how things got so bad he'd perform while lying down on the stage. He's not lying down in this slowed-down, passionate performance. Close to it but...

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