Born on March 30, 1945 in Ripley, Surrey, England, Clapton was brought up by his grandmother. He was raised in a musical household. His grandmother used to play piano and his mother enjoyed listening to the sounds of big bands. Having been influenced by such blued artists as B.B King, Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker, he took up the guitar at the age of 14.
After he was chucked out of Art College in 1963, Eric Clapton joined The Yardbirds. He stayed with the band for about 18months before beginning a stint with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. As an adolescent, Clapton glimpsed the future when he tuned in to a Jerry Lee Lewis appearance on British television. Lewis's explosive performance, together with young Eric, was powerful enough to ignite a desire to play guitar. As he impressed the whole English music scene with his extraordinary guitar playing, Eric was called by his fan base 'god'.
Clapton's choice of stimulating guitars has been as remarkable as the man himself. Alongside Hank Marvin, the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix, he has exerted a widespread influence in popularizing particular genres of the electric guitar. With the Yardbirds, Clapton played a Fender Telecaster and became exclusively a Gibson player.
Clapton gained superstar status with the formation of Cream in 1966. Together with ex-Graham Bond Organisation members Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, he formed one of the most influential rock bands of his time. Moreover, due to his close friendship with George Harrison, he was asked to play the beautiful lead solo on Harrison's single from the White album.
Cream existed just over two years, and soon after their demise Clapton was back with Baker, this time in 'Blind Faith'. The line-up of this supergroup was completed by Steve Winwood and Ric Grech. Unfortunately the band was unable to stay together for more than one self-titled album.
Clapton during his one tour befriended Delaney and Bonnie, offered them his services as guitarist. Eric teemed up with them before the sweat had dried following his last Blind Faith gig in January 1970. The 80s were kinder to him. All his albums released during this year were sold in vast quantities and being critically well received. In 1999, Clapton auctioned off some of his guitar collection. He raised over $5 million for continuing support of Crossroads Centre in Antigua. He founded Crossroads center in 1997 which is a treatment base for addictive disorders such as drugs and alcohol.
In 2004, Clapton organized and played in the Crossroads Guitar Festival to benefit the Centre. A second guitar auction was held on 24 June 2004 in which many of his friends donated their guitars. The total revenue garnered by this auction was US $7,438,624.
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