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Hear Eric Clapton's Isolated Guitar from "Sunshine of Your Love"

(Image credit: Michael Putland/Getty Images)

Eric Clapton, that guy who (among other things) played lead guitar on Ringo Starr's "Everybody's in a Hurry But Me" in 1983, turns 72 today.

Throughout the day, we'll be showcasing several lessons and features dedicated to his influential fretwork with the Yardbirds, Bluesbreakers, Cream, Blind Faith and beyond. And what better way is there to spotlight someone's playing than with an isolated guitar track from a classic song?

Below, enjoy a fascinating clip that brings Clapton's lead and rhythm guitar parts from Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love" front and center.

The guitar solo (2:01) kicks off with the melody from Rodgers & Hart's "Blue Moon" before shifting to something more expected—Clapton's blending of minor and major pentatonic scales as he follows the chord changes. Clapton's trademark "woman tone" is clear as day, as is the song's iconic riff and, well, every note Clapton played on the 1967 Disraeli Gears track.

When it comes to improvised phrasing, there is perhaps no better blues-rock guitarist than Clapton, especially when heard within the context of his studio and live work with Cream. He has the innate ability to move smoothly from one great, imminently melodic phrase into the next while also riding the groove and pushing it along.

Be sure to check out the track below. If you're inspired to adapt Clapton's Cream-era fretwork into your own playing, try this lesson by Guitar World's Andy Aledort. For more isolated Clapton tracks, head here and here.

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Damian Fanelli
Editor-in-Chief, Guitar World

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas (opens in new tab), was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron (opens in new tab), a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums (opens in new tab). He now plays in two NYC-area bands.