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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.

Damian Fanelli

Damian is editor-in-chief of Guitar World magazine. From 1998 to 2014, he was one third of Mister Neutron, an instrumental rock act that toured the universe and elsewhere and released three albums via Austin-based Deep Eddy Records. These days he performs with several New York City-area bands and can often be spotted with one of his many, many, many B-bender-equipped guitars. In past lives he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor – and he still can’t believe he got to write the liner notes for the latest SRV box set.