Childhood love of the blues and American R&B led Eric Clapton to learn guitar. After pinch-hitting in a number of British blues bands in the early sixties Clapton landed and rose to prominence in The Yardbirds, whose line up would eventually include all three British guitar heroes of the sixties: Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Jeff Beck. He left in 1966,joined John Mayall's Blues Breakers, and after that formed his own band, CREAM, with bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker. They quickly became the preeminent rock trio of the late sixties, but split after only four albums. In spite of this fact, they are said to have been rock's first "supergroup". Clapton then joined Traffic's Steve Winwood to record one albumas Blind Faith and became an occasional guest player with Delaney& Bonnie. His lead guitar work on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" is a testament to his friendship with the Beatles' George Harrison, but their closeness led to a difficult love triangle between the pair and Harrison's wife, Pattie Boyd. Clapton turned his emotional turmoil into a rock classic. Joined by Allman Brother Duane under the name Derek and The Dominoes, Clapton poured his heart out on the landmark double album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.
Unfortunately, personal struggles and career pressure on the guitarist led to a major heroin addiction. He withdrew from the spotlight in the early seventies to conquer his addiction, and rebounded at twenty-nine with "I Shot the Sheriff", which topped the charts in 1974. Some say he never regained the musical heights of his heroin days. Nonetheless, Clapton's legend has continued to grow. Concerts and albums in the late seventies and eighties were consistent successes, and his career climaxed again in 1992 with the Grammy-winning "Tears in Heaven," a tribute to his four-year-old son Connor, who died in a fall from Clapton's ex-girlfriend's Manhattan high-rise. In 1994, he began once again to play the blues; his album, From the Cradle, was a return to raw, traditional songs, and it hit with critics and fans. Already a double inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as amember of The Yardbirds and Cream, a third nod as a solo artist is an inevitable honor for the legendary guitarist.