Just ask John Lennon; it’s not simple to achieve a profane level of brilliance. But like John Lennon, one guy quickly ascended the guitar hero ladder and adopted the moniker “God.” Eric Clapton was that person, and he was unique.
Because of how highly regarded Eric Clapton’s guitar playing is, “Clapton is God” was once spray-painted on a wall in London. In honor of his holiness, the Stratocaster’s ruler, the Sultan of the SG, and the Lord of the Les Paul.
His work with several different bands, including Cream, and Blind Faith, and his solo career, has repeatedly shown that he is one of the best guitarists to have ever lived. One just needs to glance back at his resume to witness some heavenly talents. Clapton is capable of playing the blues, making pop feel like candy, having a knack for psychedelic rock, and everything in between.
Although Clapton didn’t feed the 5,000 or convert any water into wine, he did perform a killer guitar solo, which is probably equivalent to about the same, especially in the 1960s. As a result, we’ve compiled Clapton’s top 10 guitar solos.
Here are the 10 Greatest Eric Clapton Guitar Solos
‘Sunshine of Your Love’ – Cream
Many people have tried over the years to define Clapton’s tone. Having adopted the moniker Slowhand, you might assume it was a laconic manner, but in reality, he’s far more sensitive than that. He consistently walks the fine line between anarchy and culture, and in 1967’s “Sunshine of Your Love,” we witness the classic instance.
Without a question, this tune is the greatest illustration of Eric Clapton using his signature “woman tone.” Many guitarists have gone mad because of the soulful solo he played in the midst of this song which was both precise and distorted.
‘Badge’ – Cream
The song “Badge,” which Clapton contributed to Cream’s last album, is brief and easy-going. With his friend George Harrison, who also plays rhythm guitar, he co-wrote the song under the pen name “L’Angelo Misterioso.” However, Clapton plays the entire brief solo and makes the most of his about 30 seconds. This little excursion is wonderfully timed and hits Creamy’s sweet spot of blues strength and mellow peace.
‘Spoonful’ – Cream
EC can be heard playing solo after solo in this 17-minute rendition of the song. At the 2:23 mark, Clapton begins his solo with a fun tone. At the 2:46 mark, he adds a sudden drama, and at the 3:31 mark, he launches into an entirely new tune, dragging Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker along for the trip. Cream’s “Spoonful,” which was recorded in San Francisco’s Winterland, introduced the song’s author Willie Dixon and performer Howlin’ Wolf to a new generation of blues fans.
‘Let It Rain’ – Eric Clapton
In 1970, while Clapton was focused on his solo endeavors, he suddenly had the chance to let go, and he did. Even though Stephen Stills may take the slower lead line, everything changes the moment Clapton grabs his go-to Fender Start, “Brownie.”
Clapton brings brightness in the song’s last seconds as he plays enchanted notes that shimmer and fall like glitter.
‘Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad’ – Derek & the Dominos
In terms of guitar solos by Eric Clapton, Derek & the Dominos’ live performance of “Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad” may be the finest. The superb Clapton solos seem to take up more than half of the 15-minute live recording, which was made in 1970. His opening number is a quick-handed gem that blends some of the harsher, heavier sounds of his late 1960s tone with the thinner, biting sound that would predominate his solo albums from the 1970s. It’s a three-minute journey with dazzling high notes and dense chording that might stand alone as a song. It is very perplexing that ecstatic applause doesn’t break out for the next 20 seconds after the solo is over.
‘Layla’ – Derek & The Dominos
Without his dedication to Pattie Boyd, who was then his buddy George Harrison’s wife and the subject of the legendary rock song “Layla,” no Clapton list would be complete. A seven-minute track that is entirely amazing and builds upon the guitar foundations laid down by Clapton and Duane Allman.
On this single, there are six guitar tracks, and each one contributes to making one of the greatest guitar songs ever. The Clapton and Allman dueling solo, which could be one of the best-equipped tracks ever recorded, is a special highlight.
‘White Room’ – Cream
Clapton’s harsh guitar appears to mock the listener throughout “White Room,” the auditory equivalent of an acid trip, laughing like a monster. Finally, for the big finale—a lava light solo—the Cream guitarist’s Strat has the entire room to himself, putting the finishing touch on this hallucinogenic masterpiece. Here, Clapton is in good wah-wah form, twisting the sound of his guitar such that you can’t tell what’s what as it moves up, down, and side to side. Most of us would be happy if it continued for another 10 minutes, but it goes on for a minute.
‘Have You Heard’ – John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers
When this song was recorded, Clapton was barely 21 years old. Perhaps Mayall and the band understood that he would just depart after the album’s release, enabling him more than a minute to let loose with his solo, which begins at the 3:25 mark. Clapton was unaware that his 1960 sunburst Gibson Les Paul, which would subsequently go missing, would affect musicians for the remainder of the 1960s and decades to come, but he was undoubtedly ahead of his time with it.
‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ – The Beatles
It’s difficult to picture a musician entering The Beatles’ recording studio and having them not just greet them but also kneel down to their work. Though Clapton was apprehensive to join the Fab Four, it is precisely what transpired on the George Harrison-penned hit, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”
After all, Harrison was one of their own competent guitarists. But the reserved Beatle insisted that he step aside for this song, and it’s difficult to disagree after hearing the song’s conclusion. In the song, Clapton is all he needs to be: sluggish, melancholic, shaky, and sorrowful. It’s a happy composition that establishes Clapton as a scene painter.
‘Crossroads’ – Cream
As unambiguous a testimonial to Eric Clapton’s brilliance as you’re ever going to hear is Cream’s mastery of “Crossroads.” The original Robert Johnson song, “Cross Roads Blues,” may have been well-known on the club circuit, but when Cream covered the tune in the 1960s, it was many people’s introduction to the great guitarist.
Eric really plays off-beat during his shrill turns, but the solos are all the more compelling because of their unrestrained rawness. However, there is a structure to Clapton’s playing hidden behind the axe’s fiery wailing. Even after several turns on the roller coaster, his journeys still amaze us with their dips and twists.