5 Essential Eric Clapton Songs
A three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Eric Clapton has certainly earned his place among the most influential guitarists of our time. His stints with the Yardbirds, Bluesbreakers, Cream, and as a solo artist have shaped blues rock and pop rock for over 50 years. Clapton's playing combines deep blues influences from Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, B.B. King, and more with the rock sound of British contemporaries like The Beatles and Rolling Stones. While Eric Clapton is considered by many to be a true master of the craft, you don't need to be an expert to start learning some of his most iconic songs.
We've put together a list of Eric Clapton songs that we think players of all levels can enjoy learning today.
Sweet Home Chicago
Originally recorded by Robert Johnson, who Eric Clapton cites as one of his biggest influences, "Sweet Home Chicago" is a blues standard that appeared on Clapton's album Sessions for Robert J. The song is also a favorite to be performed by blues ensembles including Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, and Robert Cray, and has even featured gest vocals by former President Barack Obama. In this "Made Easy" lesson, Guitar Tricks instructor Caren Armstrong will teach you a simplified version of the song to get you jamming in no-time.
Originally recorded by one of Clapton's influences, J.J. Cale, "Cocaine" was popularized by Eric Clapton when he included a cover version on his hit 1977 album, Slowhand. The song's smooth, easy feel and deep pocket make it a great tune for extended jams and improvisations. In this lesson, instructor Tom Finch will teach you everything you need to know to master this blues rock chart-topper.
Me And The Devil Blues
Another track originally credited to Robert Johnson, "Me And The Devil Blues" is a spooky tune that tells the story of the blues legend waking up to the devil knocking on his door. Appearing on another of Clapton's tribute albums to Robert Johnson, 2004's Me and Mr. Johnson, this version features a lonely acoustic blues intro, followed by a bass and drum groove. Guitar Tricks instructor Anders Mouridsen will guide you through how to play each part of this blues classic in our tutorial.
The lead track on the 1989 album, Journeyman, "Pretending" is a bit of a departure from Eric Clapton's signature blues rock sound, employing some heavy-handed drumming and brassy synthesizers that were popular elements of the late '80s pop rock sound. The key to Clapton's guitar tone in this unique tune is the wah-wah pedal used throughout. In this tutorial, Tom Finch will walk you through how to nail each part, as well as some easy ways to recreate that unique tone.
See What Love Can Do
In this lesson, Guitar Tricks instructor Mike Olekshy gives an overview of how to play this quintessential Clapton song. Appearing on his 1985 record, Behind the Sun, "See What Love Can Do" features a smooth rock groove with some soaring solos, characteristic of Eric Clapton's catalog. While Clapton's tunes come across smooth, there's a lot of technique going on. Check out this tutorial to learn all about triads, suspended chords, syncopated strumming and dynamics.