Book Review: Rock & Roll Books

Gift guide

Rock & Roll Books

Clapton: The Autobiography

by Eric Clapton
Broadway Books, 341 pp., $26

Testament to Eric Clapton's Autobiography blows woofers on Cream's Disraeli Gears, howls in heartbreak throughout Derek & the Dominos' Layla, and cries "Tears in Heaven" for forever 4-year-old Conor Clapton. Not as unghost written by English guitar god No. 1, mind you. The Yardbirds, John Mayall's Blue Breakers, George Harrison, Blind Faith, and almost four decades of solo work – that is to say, the music itself – all take a back seat to Clapton's 12-step mea culpa. In fact, as penned by the now 62-year-old Strat master, there's a case to be made for the guitarist masquerading as his own sideman since the first wave British Invasion. Never once in this bloodless, by-the-numbers recitation of rock & roll's contemporary big bang does Clapton self-aggrandize his role in its history. "What it was about for me was drinking," reiterates the author over and over in admitting that drug and alcohol abuse made his already brittle character more disagreeable. What kind of man wages a multiyear campaign for his best friend's wife (Harrison's former Pattie Boyd) only to lose interest upon conquest? A pampered jerk, naturally. And it's testimony to Jerry Lynn Williams' "Forever Man" that 341 pages confirming exactly that still make one want to blast "Badge."

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Eric Clapton, Derek & the Dominos

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