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Clapton: The Autobiography Hardcover – October 9, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Readers hoping for sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll won't be disappointed by the legendary guitarist's autobiography. As he retraces every step of his career, from the early stints with the Yardbirds and Cream to his solo successes, Clapton also devotes copious detail to his drug and alcohol addictions, particularly how they intersected with his romantic obsession with Pattie Boyd. His relationship with the woman for whom he wrote Layla culminated in a turbulent marriage he describes as drunken forays into the unknown. But he genuinely warms to the subject of his recovery, stressing its spiritual elements and eagerly discussing the fund-raising efforts for his Crossroads clinic in Antigua. His self-reckoning is filled with modesty, especially in the form of dissatisfaction with his early successes. He professes ambivalence about the famous Clapton is God graffiti, although he admits he was grateful for the recognition from fans. At times, he sounds more like landed gentry than a rock star: bragging about his collection of contemporary art, vigorously defending his hunting and fishing as leisure activities, and extolling the virtues of his quiet country living. But both the youthful excesses and the current calm state are narrated with an engaging tone that nudges Clapton's story ahead of other rock 'n' roll memoirs. (Oct. 9)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


One of the very best rock autobiographies ever.
Houston Chronicle

Like the bluesmen who inspired him, Clapton has his share of scars . . . his compelling memoir is . . . a soulful performance.

  An absorbing tale of artistry, decadence, and redemption.
Los Angeles Times

A glorious rock history.
New York Post

This book does what many rock historians couldn t: It debunks the legend . . . puts a lie to the glamour of what it means to be a rock star.
Greg Kot, Chicago Tribune

Strong stuff. Clapton reveals its author s journey to self-acceptance and manhood. Anyone who cares about the man and his music will want to take the trip with him.
Anthony DeCurtis, Rolling Stone

Clapton is honest . . . even searing and often witty, with a hard-won survivor s humor . . . an honorable badge of a book.
Stephen King, New York Times Book Review

Boston Herald

An even, unblinking sensibility defines the author s voice.
New York Times

An unsparing self-portrait.
USA Today

--Los Angeles Times

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway; 1ST edition (October 9, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 038551851X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385518512
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (797 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #219,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

224 of 260 people found the following review helpful By Liza on October 31, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I read this book and Pattie Boyd's memoir side-by-side. When I first read Clapton's dazzling love letters to Boyd (printed in her book), I thought wouldn't it be great if Derek and Layla got back together? I soon realized perhaps not.

"Cruel and vicious" is how Clapton describes himself upon throwing Boyd out of their house for refusing to sleep with him after she learned his mistress was pregnant. "Cruel and vicious" pretty much sums up this book and the man behind it.

Every attractive woman who gets near Clapton goes from inamorata to enemy in a heartbeat. He threatens to become a heroin addict when Boyd refuses to leave her husband, but once he wins her, he berates her. When a supermodel romances Clapton for the express purpose of meeting fellow reprobate Mick Jagger, and the inevitable happens, Clapton is reduced to plotting murder.

Every predictable action is met with Clapton's predictably insane reaction. Clapton is attracted mostly to women as ruthless or vapid as he is, guaranteeing disappointment. The prime exception is Boyd, the indisputable love of Clapton's life. Boyd was a compassionate but insecure woman, and she was also married to close friend George Harrison, which is why Clapton wanted her.

Clapton resents Boyd for resisting his pleas to run off with him. When she does, he resents her even more because he realizes he's not good enough for her. He demands Boyd join him on his drinking binges and then resents her for that. He resents her for pushing him into rehab. He resents her for being infertile. He resents her most of all when she divorces him and slips out of his control forever.
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218 of 253 people found the following review helpful By George McAdams VINE VOICE on October 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love biographies, especially of celebrities, having read them all my life. As I have gotten older, though, my attention span wanes, and I read less and less. This book, Clapton:The Autobiography, is an exceptional one, and as a pseudo musician (I can play several instruments, but I certainly wouldn't say I play any well), the prospect of reading about Eric Clapton, from the source, so-to-speak, was a prospect that excited me. I feel blessed that one can pre-order a book and have it on ones doorstep the day it hits the streets, as was the case with this book and the accompanying CD.

First of all, this is an exceptional book, but unlike some biographies, and fewer autobiographies, it is not one that would be a "page turner" for everyone because it is not full of cute anecdotes that make for sharing stories around the water cooler the next day.

A case in point is the time when Eric first met Jimi Hendrix. Chas Chandler of the Animals was trying to develop a career as a promoter and came across Hendrix in New York. Promising him a chance to meet Eric Clapton, he took Jimi to London. After meeting several musicians (Eric Burton, Andy Summers, et. al.), Chas took Jimi to hear Cream play. Backstage, Chas introduced Jimi, and they asked if Jimi could sit in with them for a few numbers, which seemed kind of ballsey. In CLAPTON, Eric writes that Jimi played Howlin' Wolf's "Killing Floor" in true Hendrix fashion playing "the guitar with his teeth, behind his head, lying on the floor, doing the splits, the whole business. It was amazing.....They (the crowd) loved it, and I loved it, too, but I remember thinking that here was a force to be reckoned with.
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503 of 616 people found the following review helpful By RComposer on October 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I am a guitarist and long-time admirer of Eric Clapton. I've followed his career and life for four decades. I was really looking forward to this autobiography. Sadly, the book has many flaws in its writing and production, but beyond that, I fear that it reveals a terribly shallow and self-centered man.

The opening chapters are interesting, although very little new information is provided for any one who has read at all about the music scene of the 60's and 70's. As the book progresses, it moves into a second stage which is, frankly, rather boring. Like much of Clapton's music from this era, it lacks focus and tends to ramble.

However, it's the last third of the book that I find most disturbing. I'm not only very familiar with the guitar, but also addiction and recovery. To those familiar with 12-step programs, Clapton's almost complete disregard of his commitment to anonymity, and lack of true humility, is shocking and a red flag to anyone who knows about recovery. This guy may not be drinking or drugging anymore, but is clearly selective as to which parts of the program he cares to follow. An argument can be made that he needed to tell the story of his recovery, but this could have been done in a much more careful way -as many before him have done. Reading this book, I for the first time now truly understand why the rule of anonymity is so important in recovery. If the program that made Clapton "sober" produced the kind of man that is revealed in the last chapters of this book, then many people may decide to not try that route for themselves.
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