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Eric Clapton Brings Rock and Blues

With special guest Jimmie Vaughan

The legendary Eric Clapton is coming to Tampa with special guest Jimmie Vaughan for a night of memorable performances. Clapton’s band will include Doyle Bramhall II, Paul Carrack, Nathan East, Sonny Emory, Steve Gadd and Chris Stainton with Sharon White and Katie Kissoon on backing vocals. Eric Clapton will be playing at the Amalie Arena on September 25, 2021 at 8 p.m.

The newly announced shows will be Clapton’s only North American dates for 2021 and will precede his European tour, which was recently rescheduled to Spring of 2022 due to ongoing COVID restrictions in Europe. Eric Patrick Clapton, CBE is an English rock and blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist and separately as a member of the Yardbirds and of Cream. Clapton has been referred to as one of the most important and influential guitarists of all time. Clapton ranked second in Rolling Stone’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” and fourth in Gibson’s “Top 50 Guitarists of All Time”. He was also named number five in Time magazine’s list of “The 10 Best Electric Guitar Players” in 2009.

A Rough Start That Overcomes the Odds with Eric Clapton: 

Eric Clapton was born on March 30, 1945, in his grandparents’ home at 1 The Green, Ripley, Surrey, England. He was the son of 16-year-old Patricia Molly Clapton (b. 7 January 1929, d. March 1999) and Edward Walter Fryer (b. 21 March 1920, d. 1985), a 24-year-old Canadian soldier stationed in England during World War II. Before Eric was born, Fryer returned to his wife in Canada.

Younger Eric Clapton plays guitar

It was extraordinarily difficult for an unmarried 16-year-old to raise a child on her own in the mid-1940’s. Pat’s parents, Rose and Jack Clapp, stepped in as surrogate parents and raised Eric as their own. Thus, he grew up believing his mother was his sister. His grandparents never legally adopted him but remained his legal guardians until 1963. Eric’s last name comes from Rose’s first husband and Pat’s father, Reginald Cecil Clapton (d. 1933).

Eric’s mother, Pat, eventually married and moved to Canada and Germany as her husband, Frank MacDonald, continued his military career. They had two girls and a boy. Eric’s half-brother, Brian, was killed in a road accident in 1974 at the age of 26. His half-sisters are Cheryl (b. May 1953) and Heather (b. September 1958).

Eric was raised in a musical household. His grandmother played piano and his uncle and mother both enjoyed listening to the sounds of the big bands. Pat later told Eric’s official biographer, Ray Coleman, that his father was a gifted musician, playing piano in several dance bands in the Surrey area.

Quiet and polite, he was characterized as an above-average student with an aptitude for art. But, from his earliest years in school, he realized something was not quite right when he wrote his name as “Eric Clapton” and his parents’ names as “Mr. and Mrs. Clapp”. At the age of nine, he learned the truth about his parentage when Pat returned to England with his six-year-old half-brother for a visit. This singular event affected him deeply and was a defining moment in his life. He became moody and distant and stopped applying himself at school. Emotionally scarred by this event, Eric failed the all-important 11 Plus Exams. He was sent to St. Bede’s Secondary Modern School and two years later, entered the art branch of Holyfield Road School.

By 1958, Rock and Roll had exploded onto the world. For his 13th birthday, Eric asked for a guitar. Finding the inexpensive German-made Hoyer difficult to play – it had steel strings – he put it aside. In 1961, when he was 16, Eric began studying at the Kingston College of Art on a one-year probation. He was expelled at the end of that time for lack of progress as he had not submitted enough work. The reason? Guitar playing and listening to the blues dominated his waking hours.

Typical of his introspective nature, Eric looked beneath the surface and explored the roots of rock in American Blues. The blues also meshed perfectly with his self-perception as an outsider and of being “different” from other people. Sometime in 1962, he asked for his grandparents’ help in purchasing a £100 electric double cutaway Kay (a Gibson ES-335 clone) after hearing the electric blues of Freddie King, B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, and others.

Eric spent his early days in music busking around Richmond and Kingston, he also began spending time in London and the West End. In early 1963, 17-year-old Eric joined his first band, The Roosters. Following the band’s demise in August 1963, he spent one month in the pop-oriented Casey Jones and The Engineers. Before turning to music as a full-time career, he supported himself as a laborer at building sites, working alongside his grandfather, a master bricklayer and plasterer.

Eric Clapton come to Tampa Bay

In October 1963, Keith Relf and Paul Samwell-Smith recruited him to become a member of The Yardbirds because Clapton was the most talked about guitar player on the R&B pub circuit. During his 18-month tenure with The Yardbirds, he earned his nickname, Slowhand, and recorded his first albums: Five Live Yardbirds and Sonny Boy Williamson and The Yardbirds. The band also recorded the single, “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl”. But Eric had not abandoned his serious research into the American Blues. When The Yardbirds began moving towards a more commercial sound with “For Your Love”, he quit. His path in music was the blues.

In April 1965, John Mayall invited Eric to join his band, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. With this group, Clapton established his reputation as a guitarist and earned his second nickname: “God”. It came from an admirer’s graffiti on the wall of London’s Islington Tube Station that boldly proclaimed, “Clapton is God.” Eric’s time with the band was turbulent and he left for a while to tour Greece with friends. Upon his return from Greece, Eric rejoined the Bluesbreakers. It was during this time that the now classic Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton was recorded. While with the Bluesbreakers, Eric also recorded a one-off four-track session with a band dubbed “The Powerhouse”. This studio band included John Paul Jones, Steve Winwood and Jack Bruce. Learn more about Eric Clapton Music here.

Content provided by Amalie Arena and Eric Clapton.  Biography and photos for editorial use only.  All rights reserved.

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