A Look Back at Eric Clapton On His 70th Birthday

I was a little surprised to see this, film of a younger Eric Clapton demonstrating how to play the electric guitar. Whether or not you’re interested in that subject, watching Clapton at this stage is fascinating. He’s pretty hippied-out, complete with a turquois squash blossom necklace at time when turquoise was hot, probably because of the Indian motif reference.

Guitar Playing Technique by Eric Clapton

My friend Lee Arbuckle and I used to extend our trips further west in the record business to go to a Navajo reservation where we’d buy turquois cheap. Lee loved Squash Blossoms and we collect rings, necklaces etc… and head back to Dallas and Houston where we’d sell the stuff to the other promotion folks. It was our first attempt at being entrepreneurial and quite profitable until the Navajos raised their prices.

I was privileged to see Clapton play live up-close several times over the years and his shows were always marvelous. Early on he was hesitant to sing preferring to just play guitar, but after a hesitant start he became more confident and comfortable and by the time of “Layla” he had it down.

Derek and the Dominos - Layla, Live in 1984

Much has been said about his friendship with George Harrison and his affection for George’s wife, the beautiful model Patty Boyd whom Eric fell deeply in love with. It’s my understanding that the story is true and that Eric finally went to George and admitted his love for his wife, and that George said their friendship would survive if she were to leave him and marry Eric. All this leads to my comment on one of his greatest songs and vocals, “You Look Wonderful Tonight,” you can hear his love for her in his voice.

Eric Clapton - Wonderful Tonight (Official Video)

Happy 70th birthday, Eric, and many, many returns.

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