“Musically, Eric was a very generous guy. I loved working with him because he encouraged me to play”: How Eric Clapton used Roger Waters, George Harrison, and Stevie Ray Vaughan as foils to survive the ‘80s – the decade he was not prepared for

Eric Clapton performs onstage
(Image credit: Gary Gershoff/Getty Images)

Despite kicking things off with a bang alongside Jeff Beck for 1981’s Amnesty International benefit in London, which many signaled as “a return to form,” Eric Clapton wasn’t ready for the Eighties.

It seems obvious now, but looking back, even Clapton would probably agree. To that end, the downfall, if you could call it that, wasn’t so much steep as it was somber, with Clapton progressively moving away from his patented “woman tone,” which had come by way of blending various humbucker-equipped guitars with cranked Marshall amps.

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Andrew Daly

Andrew Daly is an iced-coffee-addicted, oddball Telecaster-playing, alfredo pasta-loving journalist from Long Island, NY, who, in addition to being a contributing writer for Guitar World, scribes for Rock Candy, Bass Player, Total Guitar, and Classic Rock History. Andrew has interviewed favorites like Ace Frehley, Johnny Marr, Vito Bratta, Bruce Kulick, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Rich Robinson, and Paul Stanley, while his all-time favorite (rhythm player), Keith Richards, continues to elude him.

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