Rock Reads: Clapton - The Autobiography Review

by Zane Ewton

Eric Clapton's lifelong battle with drugs, booze and various other demons is another in a long line of rock and roll dysfunction stories. Every clich´┐Ż about the depths of addiction and the long road back peppers this memoir.

Clapton is a different kind of cat. Yes, there are the numerous familial dysfunctions that traumatize the formative years of every would-be rock icon. There are the mommy abandonment issues, myriad troubles at school and of course, girl frustrations.

Unlike most rock star biographies where you find yourself routing for the anti-hero, early in this book it is difficult to like Clapton, much less hope the best for him. As a youth and well into his music career Clapton plays the ultimate whiny, wet blanket victim. Typical addict junk.

Clapton's candor and openness to what he used to be is what keeps the pages turning in this book. The guitar god has more than a few moments in his life that should embarrass him to this day. Many of those moments happened in the presence of a little lady named Patti Boyd.

In the end, when the final history of rock 'n' roll is carved in stone plates, there is sure to be a plate set aside for the episode of Three's Company that was at the heart of the Patti Boyd/George Harrison/Eric Clapton/"Layla" relationship. Briefly, Beatle George met and married Pattie; a few years later a lovelorn Clapton writes rock classic "Layla" about his unrequited passion for his buddy's wife. Pattie and Eric eventually requite their feelings and the drama officially gets started.

Eric and Pattie took large amounts of drugs and fought frequently. The next few years include Clapton failing at rehab, flailing in emotionally stunted relationships and eventually bringing a child into the world.

The most affecting portion of Clapton's story is the death of his son in an unfortunate accident. Finally, at 50 years old, Clapton was forced to grow up. The book ends with domestic bliss, Bermuda shorts and old blues standards. For Clapton, it all begins and ends with the blues.

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