"It’s so funny, this,” Clapton says. “I’ve always had that held up as like, ‘This is one of the great landmarks of guitar playing.’ But most of that solo is on the wrong beat. Instead of playing on the two and the four, I’m playing on the one and the three and thinking, ‘That’s the off beat.’ No wonder people think it’s so good—because it’s fucking wrong.” [laughs]
There was a time when the name Eric Clapton meant one thing and one thing only: guitar god. His incendiary six-string exploits with the Yardbirds, followed by a pair of mind-blowing 1966 albums—Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton and Fresh Cream—briefly put the passionate young Clapton atop the U.K.’s, if not the world’s, guitar hierarchy.
The origin of heavy metal is a very fuzzy thing, but most historians and fans alike can agree that Black Sabbath’s eponymous 1970 debut was the first true heavy metal album. Its thunderous drums, sinister riffs and downright evil lyrics left little to be debated, but what we wanted to know was this: What was the heaviest song before Black Sabbath?
Just as “Crossroads” introduced a new generation of music fans to the mystique of Robert Johnson, Cream’s “Spoonful” brought extra exposure to Willie Dixon, who wrote the song, and Howlin’ Wolf, who originally recorded it in 1960.
When I was a young'un in the early '80s, still new to the guitar and looking for great players to inspire me, I asked a few adults, including my father, to name some great guitarists, people I should be listening to and learning from. Every one of them, Dad included, mentioned Eric Clapton. (Note: He was cool enough to also mention Eddie Van Halen.)
A few years ago, the editors of Guitar World magazine compiled what we feel is the ultimate guide to the 100 Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time. The list, which has been quoted by countless artists, websites and publications around the world, starts with Richie Sambora's work on Bon Jovi's “Wanted Dead or Alive” (Number 100) and builds to a truly epic finish with Jimmy Page's solo on "Stairway to Heaven" (Number 1).
Since the guitar's inception, there have undoubtedly been talented players that could make the instrument sing, but it wasn't until the mid '60s and the arrival of the wah pedal that one could make it cry.