The return of Slowhand

It's 1958. Rock and roll had just exploded on the world and for his 13th birthday, all a young Eric Clapton asked for was a guitar.

The German-made Hoyer that he was presented with was difficult to play – it had hard steel strings – so he put it to one side, left to gather dust.

Fast forward three years, and times have changed. Clapton who had been studying at the Kingston College of Art, was expelled after one year.

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The reason? Playing the guitar and listening to the blues was taking up too much of his time.

He was determined to learn how to play guitar and make a career out of doing so – and he did just that.

Clapton has had a varied career in a number of different bands since the early 60s. He may have cut his teeth in The Yardbirds, but his heart lay in the blues.

Clapton began a career as a professional musician that has seen him play in numerous bands, an abundance of albums, countless worldwide sold out tours and collect an impressive array of accolades.

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His career, has resulted in 18 Grammy Awards and the distinct honour of being the only triple inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

And nearly 60 years later, Eric Clapton is still going strong.

The legendary guitarist has once again teamed up with well-known producer Glyn Johns for his forthcoming 23rd studio album ‘I Still Do’, on his own Bushbranch Records/Surfdog Records label.

Clapton and Johns – who has also produced albums for The Eagles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and The Who in the past – most famously worked together on Clapton’s iconic 1977 ‘Slowhand’ record.

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The new 12-track record includes original songs penned by Clapton.

It follows his last release, the 2014 chart-topping tribute to singer-songwriter JJ Cale, ‘Eric Clapton & Friends: The Breeze’.

“This was a long and overdue opportunity to work with Glyn Johns again, and also, purely incidentally, it coincides with the 40th anniversary of ‘Slowhand’!” Eric said.

“Recording the album was a pleasure. For me, making music in any shape or form always is.

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“It’s what I’ve always wanted to do, even from when I was very young. I’m lucky that I get to do what I love.

“Of course, I never would have thought that I’d still be here getting ready to release my 23rd album,” he continued.

“I think that most people my age and who have been around for as long as I have, feel the same.”

Rumours have been circulating for a few years about Eric retiring, so is it time for him to hang up his beloved guitar once and for all?

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“There are loads of things I’d like to do, but I’m looking at perhaps calling it a day on the touring front,” Clapton said.

“What I’ll still allow myself to do is perhaps carry on recording in the studio.

“I don’t want to be on stage to the point where I’ll just be embarrassing myself.

“I don’t want to have someone come up to me and say, ‘You know what? You shouldn’t be doing this any more. Enough is enough and it’s time to call it a day’,” he continued.

“I’d much rather come to that conclusion on my own if you don’t mind!” he laughed.

‘I Still Do’ is out now.

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