Eric Clapton has been tapped for induction in the Blues Hall of Fame.
He joins Fifties rock and roller Little Richard and Atlanta blues singer Tommy Brown as a 2015 inductee.
In selecting Clapton, the Blues Foundation noted not only his many musical achievements but especially his role in popularizing the genre in the Sixties, first with John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers and then with Cream and Derek and the Dominos. In those groups, and in the years since, Clapton helped to promote the originators of the genre through his albums and stage work.
Clapton has continued to be a promoter of the blues on his more recent records, such as 2000’s Riding with the King, recorded with B.B. King, and his 2004 tribute to Delta blues guitarist Robert Johnson, Me and Mr. Johnson. Clapton’s annual Crossroads festival has also been instrumental in keeping blues artists in the spotlight.
Previous guitarists inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame include Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Freddie King, Albert King, Chuck Berry, Buddy Guy, Lead Belly, Mike Bloomfield, Bonnie Raitt and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Little Richard may seem an unusual choice, given his role as a rock and roll originator, but his earliest recordings were in a blues vein, and the genre deeply informed his style of rock and roll. Richard joins an elite group of Blues Hall of Fame icons that includes Fats Domino, Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley, each of whom built upon rock and roll’s foundation in the blues.
In the early Fifties, Tommy Brown was frontman for the Griffin Brothers Orchestra when they broke through with the Number One hit “Weepin’ & Cryin’.” Brown has brought an intuitive sense of showmanship to the blues over a career that has now spanned more than 75 years.
The induction announcement was made by the Blues Foundation, whose mission includes preserving blues music history and recognizing blues performances and recordings. The foundation is also responsible for the Blues Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The foundation has inducted more than 130 performers into the Blues Hall of Fame since the inductions began in 1980.
The induction of Clapton, Richards and Brown will be held in conjunction with the 36th Blues Music Awards on May 7 in Memphis, Tennessee. The awards kick off on May 6 with three days of events.
For tickets and more information, visit blues.org.