Eric Clapton's Life Under a Musical Microscope

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Photo by Groovehouse
Eric Clapton at Toyota Center, March 2013
Eric Clapton Day by Day -- The Early Years: 1963-1982
By Marc Roberty
Backbeat Books, 352 pp., $39.99

Make no mistake: Any rock bio with the subtitle "Day by Day" is not going to appeal to the casual fan. Nope, these series are for the obsessives who want full and detailed documentation on their obsession (in this case, Slowhand) as to what they were doing every day of their performing lives, who they played with, what they recorded, and which Rolling Stone contributed cowbell to a cover of "I Ain't Superstitious" during The London Howlin' Wolf Sessions (it was Bill Wyman).

That said, this book by Clapton authority Marc Roberty does all that with incredible and intense intricacy. Want to know where the Yardbirds played on November 15, 1963? Why, it was Edwina's Club in Finsbury Park. How much did Cream receive for their June 26, 1967 gig at the Keele University Students' Union? A whopping 300 pounds.

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Live set lists, studio personnel, old newspaper show announcements, then-contemporary show reviews (and many not complimentary), rare photos -- it's all here. And it covers Clapton's stints with the Roosters through Cream and Blind Faith to his solo career; an upcoming second volume will cover the years 1983-2013.

But it's not all just lists. Taut prose chapters also cover the basics of his personal and musical lives (though there are plenty of other bios that delve way more into that, recommended are Crossroads by Michael Schumacher and Clapton's own autobiography, Clapton).

One thing I learned was that the guitarist, deep within his own heroin addiction, does not even remember performing at two of rock's most storied events: The Concert for Bangladesh or the star-studded Rainbow Concert (guess his noggin was a bit clearer for The Last Waltz).

Again, this book is for dedicated fans. But if you just have to know which albums feature the "Blackie" Fender Stratocaster guitar -- this book is for you.





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