Clapton: The Autobiography Review

artist: Eric Clapton date: 01/05/2008 category: books

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Eric Clapton: Clapton: The Autobiography
With striking intimacy and candor, Eric Clapton tells the story of his eventful and inspiring life in this poignant and honest autobiography. More than a rock star, he is an icon, a living embodiment of the history of rock music. Well known for his reserve in a profession marked by self-promotion, flamboyance, and spin, he now chronicles, for the first time, his remarkable personal and professional journeys.
 Richness of Content: 8
 Style: 5.5
 Overall Impression: 6.5
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reviews (3) 32 comments vote for this book:
overall: 5.7
Clapton: The Autobiography Reviewed by: UG Team, on november 22, 2007
3 of 6 people found this review helpful

Richness of Content: As a timeline, Clapton has hit all the marks, covering his childhood (he was raised in Surrey and discovered, at the age of six of seven, that the couple he believed to be his parents were really his grandmother and step-grandfather), his first guitar (a Hoyer, too big for him), and the vicissitudes of his love life (including his desperate -- and successful -- wooing of Pattie Boyd, Who was married at the time to his best friend, George Harrison). The meat of the story -- how he went from young blues avatar to international superstar in such seminal bands as the Bluesbreakers, Cream, Blind Faith, and Derek & the Dominos, and later, as a solo artist -- is treated perfunctorily. Fans expecting a blow-by-blow account of musical minutia will be in for a letdown. More than anything, this is a tale of Clapton's three decade-long struggle with addiction (to heroin and alcohol), and it is on this subject that his narrative voice is the strongest. That he managed to finally get sober after numerous stints in rehab is remarkable; that he stayed that way after the heartbreaking death of his four-year-old son, Conor, is miraculous. // 7

Style: The prose is clear and unpretentious, and although Clapton writes candidly about his faults, insecurities, contretemps, and the pain he has both endured and caused, there is an overall aura of detachment throughout. Beyond being frustrating, this is surprising as it comes from a guitarist whose every note is a paroxysm of searing emotion. As a songwriter, Clapton has penned some of the most wrenching odes to romantic longing ("Bell-Bottomed Blues," "Layla"), but when it comes to shining a light on the inner workings of those compositions, he is elusive. "It's difficult to talk about these songs in depth," he says at one point; "that's why they're songs." Fair enough. But to brush aside the psychological exploration of his ART, to say nothing of his life, feels like a bit of a cop-out. // 5

Overall Impression: It is somewhat ironic that the guitarist Who has been referred to as "God" since the mid-Sixties remains an enigma, even in his autobiography. To some, this is as it should be: Great musicians should be mythologized. But to others, Who want to personalize their heroes, Clapton's tome will be, with rare exception, an aggravating read. // 5

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overall: 7.7
Clapton: The Autobiography Reviewed by: unregistered, on january 05, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Richness of Content: Clapton: The Autobiography is a relatively short (352 pages) but fulfilling trip into the mind and life of one music's greatest artists. Starting with some of his earliest memories, Clapton recounts his childhood with surprising clarity, and, as he revisits events from long ago, he admits the imprint that his childhood had on the rest of his life. With great candor, Clapton describes life as a child and how he drifted as an adolescent from the ART world into the music world. Be warned however, that this autobiography spends little time on how and what he plays, but instead focuses on the man behind the guitar: affairs, addictions and loss. Although it is never clearly stated, Clapton describes himself as lost and without direction for much of his life. Jumping from one band to another and one bed to the next, he gives uncensored details about his life on the road and the many tolls it took on him and his family. From the loss of love and life, Clapton strikes a chord with honesty and humility. Without a doubt, two major themes emerge from this book, addiction and a desire for acceptance and love. These two ideas resonate throughout the majority of the book, and are by far what he is most candid about. // 9

Style: From start to finish, Clapton: The Autobiography is a pleasant and easy to read book, but not without a few bumps in the road. Although many accolades can be said about Clapton not using a ghostwriter, it probably would have been to his benefit, as well as an additional round or two of editing to clear at least some of the numerous typos hidden within the autobiography. Throughout the book, Clapton's writing style remains unchanged, almost becoming dull. He uses little variety in his sentence structure and word choice, often jumping from one subject to another without a smooth transition. Furthermore, perhaps due to memories being pulled from a drug or alcohol induced haze, Clapton repeats things he had already said in an earlier chapter, making the reader wonder if he had a plan or outline when embarking on this project or simply sat down and began writing. // 6

Overall Impression: As a whole, Clapton: The Autobiography is a worthwhile read for any fan of Eric Clapton, new or old. Being already familiar with his musical work, it was refreshing to read what events made him into the person he is today. Slightly disappointing, however, were the last few chapters (which, of course, relate to the most recent years in his life). Although still interesting to read, they seemed rushed, as if Clapton knew that readers would care less about HIM sailing around the Mediterranean than they would his alcohol induced antics. Nonetheless, I enjoyed learning more about the man whom has become one of the greatest influences to guitarists around the world. // 8

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