If you’ve ever wondered who influenced the greatest classic rock artists, keep reading.
In this article, you’ll learn how classic rock was heavily influenced by blues music. In this article, we’ll examine the music of Eric Clapton and connect it back to its blues origins.
You might even discover that you’re already a blues fan, but just didn’t realize it.
Clapton’s Early Career and Influences
Eric Clapton became interested in blues music as a young teenager,
when he was first learning to play guitar. Early influences were acoustic blues
artists such as Big Bill Broonzy, Robert Johnson, and the guitar/harmonica duo,
Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry. A UK tour by Muddy Waters in 1958 was hugely
influential in introducing electrified blues. Waters also became one of
By 1962, Clapton was busking in a blues duo, and by 1963 he had joined the Yardbirds, a Chicago blues influenced rock and roll band. They toured England with American bluesman Sonny Boy Williamson II. Clapton joined John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers in 1966 and played on and off with them for a few years. It was during this time that he gained his “Clapton is God” reputation as the best blues guitarist on the circuit.
By 1967 Clapton had formed the rock super-group, Cream, but as you can see by the examples below, he continued to reference his blues influences while playing them in his own unique way.
The Cream song, Crossroads, was influenced by Robert Johnson’s Crossroad Blues.
Another Cream song, Spoonful, was influenced by Howling Wolf’s song of the same name.
Have You Ever Loved A Woman performed by Eric Clapton, was a cover of Freddy King’s song of the same name.
Further On Up The Road performed by The Band With Eric Clapton was a cover of Bobby “Blue” Bland’s song, Farther Up the Road.
You can explore further into the artists who influenced Eric Clapton by visiting the links below.