The following is an excerpt from Eric Clapton, Day by Day: The Early Years, 1963-1982 by Marc Roberty, published by Backbeat Books, as posted by Something Else Reviews. Please visit their site to read the whole excerpt.
Ever since the demise of Cream, Eric Clapton had been searching for his musical identity. Blind Faith may have started out with good intentions, and a lot of promise, but ultimately it was doomed to failure as soon as Ginger Baker joined the band and the business side of things took over the creative side before it had much of a chance to start. They were forced to record an album and tour before they were ready to do either. The lengthy and lucrative U.S. tour was the final nail in the coffin for the band, as they resorted to playing crowd favorites from Traffic and Cream. Delaney & Bonnie had provided a great short-term escape for Eric, and his first solo album was the first step in finding his future musical direction and path. Although that album was more of a Delaney & Bonnie album in sound, it gave him the confidence to be a solo artist. But not quite yet, as his next project was to be a cooperative band.
Bobby Whitlock had stayed with Delaney & Bonnie after the rest of the “Friends” had left with Leon Russell to join Joe Cocker’s infamous Mad Dogs And Englishmen tour in the US. After recording “Motel Shot” with them, he, too, decided it was time to leave and consider what he should do next. His friend Steve Cropper suggested he go and see Eric Clapton and spend some time in England to clear his head. As Bobby did not have much money, Steve kindly organized a plane ticket, and Bobby flew over to London Airport in April 1970. From there he took a taxi to Eric’s home in the Surrey countryside. He already knew it well, of course, as he had stayed there the previous November when Delaney & Bonnie and Friends were residing there while recording and touring with Eric.
Eric was surprised to see Bobby, but happy at the same time, as they could play music and generally hang out and have fun. Within weeks, they were starting to write songs together, but when Eric realized that Bobby would have to head off home, he asked him to stay and help him get a band together. The first step was to go and see Robert Stigwood and put him on the payroll as the first member. The band was initially being formed to promote Eric’s first solo album, which was due for release in August, but this would also be a fully functioning band that would tour and record new material. After some discussions, it was decided to get Jim Keltner on drums and Carl Radle on bass, along with Bobby Keys and Jim Price on horns. Everyone was available to come over at short notice except Jim Keltner, who was working on Gabor Szabo’s Magical Connection album for Blue Thumb, and would not be able to make it over until July. Jim Gordon, another ex-member of Delaney & Bonnie’s Friends, heard about the gig from Carl Radle and flew over with Carl and straight into a session with Eric and Bobby for PP Arnold. As he was there and ready, he was offered the job instead of Keltner…
Keep reading this excerpt on Something Else Reviews!
Eric Clapton, Day by Day presents Clapton’s professional life in music in a day-by-day format, giving details of which bands he joined and left, all recordings made – both released and unreleased – as well as guest appearances he made on other artists’ records, and concert tours. Volume 1 covers Clapton’s early years, offering an insight into how this artist slowly found his own musical identity. Volume 2, to be published in the fall of 2013, will continue the story, covering Clapton’s comeback after problematic years of drug and alcohol abuse, and his going on to become one of the world’s most respected and admired musicians.