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Guitarist and singer-songwriter Eric Clapton's 1992 single "Tears in Heaven" became a top five hit. It was written about the death of his son.
B.B. King - Lucille (1:37)
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Eric Clapton recalls having his world turned upside down upon hearing the album, "Music from Big Pink," by The Band.
A sudden blazing bar fire in Twist, Arkansas leads to the naming of one of the world's most famous guitars, B.B. King's "Lucille."
A short biography of John Lennon, from his superstardom with the Beatles to his fame as a solo artist and social activist, to his marriage to Yoko Ono. In 1980, Lennon was gunned down by Mark David Chapman.
George Harrison on the day in Albert Hall when Bob Dylan went electric, ending the folk music scene.
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The latter inspired Clapton to buy his first electric guitar -- still a relative rarity in England.
It was also at Kingston that Clapton discovered something that would have nearly as great an impact on his life as the guitar: booze. He recalls that the first time he got drunk, at the age of 16, he woke up alone in the woods, covered in vomit and without any money. "I couldn't wait to do it all again," Clapton remembers. Unsurprisingly,
Clapton was expelled from school after his first year.
He later explained, "Even when you got to art school, it wasn't just a rock 'n' roll holiday camp. I got thrown out after a year for not doing any work. That was a real shock. I was always in the pub or playing the guitar." Finished with school, in 1963 Clapton started hanging around the West End of London and trying to break into the music industry as a guitarist. That year, he joined his first band, The Roosters, but they broke up after only a few months. Next he joined the pop-oriented Casey Jones and The Engineers but left the band after just a few weeks. At this point, not yet making a living off his music, Clapton worked as a laborer at construction sites to make ends meet.
Already one of the most respected guitarists on the West End pub circuit, in October 1963 Clapton received an invitation to join a band called the Yardbirds. With The Yardbirds, Clapton recorded his first commercial hits, "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" and "For Your Love," but he soon grew frustrated with the band's commercial pop sound and left the group in 1965. The two young guitarists who replaced Clapton in The Yardbirds, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck, would also go on to rank among the greatest rock guitarists in history.
Later in 1965, Clapton joined the blues band John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, the next year recording an album called The Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton, which established Clapton's reputation as one of the great guitarists of the age. The album, which included songs such as "What'd I Say" and "Ramblin' on My Mind," is widely considered among the greatest blues albums of all time. Clapton's miraculous guitar-playing on the album also inspired his most flattering nickname, "God," popularized by a bit of graffiti on the wall of a London Tube station reading "Clapton is God."
Despite the record's success, Clapton soon left the Bluesbreakers as well; a few months later, he teamed up with bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker to form the rock trio Cream. Performing highly original takes on blues classics such as "Crossroads" and "Spoonful," as well as modern blues tracks like "Sunshine of Your Love" and "White Room," Clapton pushed the boundaries of blues guitar. On the strength of three well-received albums, Fresh Cream (1966), Disraeli Gears (1967) and Wheels of Fire (1968), as well as extensive touring in the United States, Cream achieved international superstar status. Yet they, too, broke up after two final concerts at London's Royal Albert Hall, citing clashing egos as the cause.
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They've set their instruments on fire, broken them over their heads, played them behind their backs, learned how to make them screech, and—above all—shown the world what it means to truly rock a guitar. Here is a group of some of the most legendary guitarists of the modern era.
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The 1960s were a time of significant cultural and social change in London. The post-World War II era, coined "Swinging London," saw a youth-driven shift in culture, from old to new. Symbolized by famous faces like English supermodels Jean Shrimpton and Twiggy to "British Invasion" rock bands like the Beatles and Cream, the era created a fresh and modern approach to everything from fashion to music to cultural attitudes. Biography.com looks at the inspirational forces behind the "Swinging London" revolution.
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