The one guitarist Eric Clapton called “earth-shattering”

Eric Clapton

Any ambitious guitarist rising to popularity in the 1960s would be competing with Eric Clapton for second place. Before Jimi Hendrix profoundly altered the guitar world in 1967, Clapton established himself as the first bona fide guitar god of rock & roll. He ranked among performers such as Chuck Berry for his inventiveness on the instrument. Clapton believed that one of the inventors of the blues guitar ripped his mind open when he heard him for the first time. Despite all of the fantastic music he did with his numerous ensembles and on his own.

Before he got into rock and roll, Clapton was a huge blues lover. Influenced by Robert Johnson and BB King, Clapton developed his style while Little Richard and Jerry Lee made waves. He often studied their guitar techniques and put their licks into his musical library.

Eric Clapton was a seasoned blues veteran in his 20s by the time he transitioned to playing clubs in England. After turning in one legendary riff after another with The Yardbirds, Clapton began seeking another outlet for his creativity. Eventually, he founded Cream with Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker.

Even though the band’s sound ranged from jazz to psychedelic rock, Clapton always relied on the blues to get him through. The band would eventually perform a wonderful cover of Robert Johnson’s song ‘Crossroads‘. Clapton recalled another blues master who left him speechless the first time he heard him.

Aside from the sounds of the Mississippi Delta, Clapton’s musical evolution would be influenced by the sounds of Chicago blues. Many legends, including Howlin Wolf, emerged from Chicago’s filthy bars. Clapton recalls being awed the first time he saw Buddy Guy perform.

Coming from the South at the beginning, Guy’s playing eventually put every other blues guitarist to shame at the time. Guy would be all over the fretboard while expunging the musical demons from his psyche, leaving an unforgettable mark on how Clapton performed. Clapton recounted his emotional reaction to Guy’s performance at The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, adding, “I remember in 1965 when he first came to England at the Marquee Club, and I was finally able to see him in person.” He was earth-shattering in the flesh. On every level, his style was excellent, doing everything we associate with Jimi Hendrix. He brought the house falling, but it was his playing that got through to me.

Guy would also begin the wheels going for Clapton’s next project, Cream, believing that anyone who could hold down a rhythm as a trio would be suitable. Clapton found solace in his guitar, while Guy remained the blues gold standard, embodying everything a performer should be.

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