April 30, 2015
Eric Clapton: His Musical Influences and the Influence on Your Music
Eric Clapton has had a long and successful music career. He was a member of Cream in the 1960s and has had a solo career that has spanned more than three decades. He was named one of the top 100 greatest artists by Rolling Stones, and he has been the inspiration for a number of top recording artists.
As you pursue your own music career, it’s important to look at some of the musical greats to see what they have done to be the “great” musician that they are. Eric Clapton is most widely known for his talent on the guitar, though he also does vocals. Understanding his musical influences and how his music can influence your own is a critical component to your own success.
Eric Clapton is seen as a Rock God when it comes to the guitar. He has been widely influential. Prior to him, the rock guitar was used for the rockabilly sound or the Chuck Berry method, which was later modernized by Keith Richards.
Clapton learned both of these methods to fully understand the rock guitar and then infused electric blues into his style, learning from the likes of BB King, Buddy Guy, and Hubert Sumlin. His sound is what has now formed the fundamentals to the lead guitar in rock and roll music today.
He wasn’t afraid of breaking the rules. In the 1960s, he turned the amp up to an 11, which hadn’t been done before. He also moved the microphone to the other side of the recording studio from the amp, which created ambience while everyone else was still singing close up to the mike. There was suddenly more coming out of the guitar – and he took the emphasis from the lead singer over to the guitarist.
Eric Clapton was viewed as a purist. In the early years, he was a wild man. His music was played loud. He allowed creativity, passion, anger, and frustration to flow together to create the magic. His hit “Crossroads” features a solo where many people still marvel how he played the guitar and kept time.
Anger and aggression were heard because he hadn’t yet learned about singing with passion and clarity – and that he learned from Robert Johnson. There was a considerable difference in his sound once he learned from Johnson about singing and songwriting. The anger and aggression went away, and it was replaced by rock and roll with a more controlled sound.
Clapton revolutionized the rock and roll guitar. He has placed an emphasis on the lead guitar as well as the need for pure and true lyrics. Anyone who is ever going to play the guitar or use the guitar within their band needs to study Eric Clapton. Not necessarily his contemporary ballads, but the old school sounds, such as “Steppin’ Out”.
When you study Eric Clapton as well and his musical influences, it can help you to understand more about the journey as to how to change the sound that an instrument can create and how to appreciate how far the guitar has come.