Any list of 20 great guitar solos by one of the most brilliant practitioners of the instrument is going to start some intense debate. So we hope you’ll enjoy and respond to our selection of 20 truly memorable solos by the peerless Eric Clapton.
It’s a non-chronological selection that spans well over 50 years of work by this great craftsman in no fewer than nine different recording environments. We have seven prime examples of Clapton’s solo work, from ‘Let It Rain’ on his first, eponymous album in his own name in 1970, all the way through to ‘Somebody’s Knockin’,’ one of two remakes from his great favourite J.J. Cale‘s songbook, on Eric’s current, 23rd studio album I Still Do.
That solo oeuvre is also represented by moments of guitar sorcery from such landmark albums as 461 Ocean Boulevard, Slowhand, Behind The Sun, Journeyman and the live set 24 Nights, recorded at the Royal Albert Hall and featuring the Jerry Lynn Williams song ‘Pretending.’
Of course, there’s the magnificent ‘Layla’ from Clapton’s Derek & the Dominos period, which also gives us ‘Bell Bottom Blues’ and the live version of ‘ Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad,’ recorded at the Fillmore. Clapton’s work as a highly-prized guest player is reflected in The Beatles‘ sublime ‘ While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ and a great highlight from Roger Waters’ The Pros And Cons Of Hitchhiking.
From Clapton’s days with John Mayall‘s Blues Breakers there’s ‘Have You Heard’ and ‘Key To Love,’ and four celebrated landmarks from the all-too-short era of the quintessential blues-rock power trio, Cream. Blind Faith‘s only album offers up ‘Presence of the Lord,’ and back on stage, Eric is in blistering form with Delaney and Bonnie on ‘I Don’t Want To Discuss It’ and with the Yardbirds, back where it all began in 1964.
We’d love to know which other Clapton solos you cherish, and which would go on your own playlist of the best guitar work by one of the true greats.