The guitarist and vocalist Eric Clapton, who was born in Ripley, Surrey, England in 1945, began his musical career in 1962 and first rose to recognition as a member of The Yardbirds. He then joined John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, where he really embraced his passion for Blues music. However, he made his mark on rock history by joining forces with Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker to form the power trio Cream.
The musician maintained a lucrative solo career throughout the ensuing decades while working with several other outstanding performers. He got the opportunity to interact with and observe several accomplished guitarists. He named three guitarists in an interview for the memorial to the late Stevie Ray Vaughan in 1991, describing them as “the players” to him.
Guitarists Eric Clapton said he liked in the 90s
Stevie Ray Vaughan
With his popular albums “Texas Flood” (1983) and “Couldn’t Stand The Weather” (1984), Stevie Ray Vaughan was one of the musicians that contributed to the revival of the Blues in the 1980s. When Eric Clapton was driving, he heard him perform for the first time on the radio. In an interview for the book Texas Flood: The Inside Story of Stevie Ray Vaughan, the musician recalls having the need to pull over and then identify the guitar player.
Eric said, “I was driving, and ‘Let’s Dance’ (David Bowie) came on the radio. I stopped my car and said, ‘I have to know who this guitar player is today. Not tomorrow, but today.’ That has only happened to me three or four times ever. Probably not for anyone in between Duane Allman and Stevie.”
In the 1980s, Clapton frequently had the opportunity to play with and interact with Stevie. even at his final performance, which took place in 1990 at Alpine Valley. Following the performance, the 35-year-old musician boarded a helicopter, which sadly crashed a short while later. He was clean for the first time in years, at the height of his profession, and receiving accolades from everyone.
Eric Clapton lauded Stevie Ray Vaughan’s distinct approach and technique in an interview for the movie “A Tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan.” He said, “I remember being fascinated by the fact that he never ever seemed to be lost in any way. It wasn’t ever that he took a breather or paused to think where he was going to go next. So it just flowed out of him.”
He also added, “Always seemed to flow out of him. Actually even that doesn’t come just with virtuosity, practice or any of those. It’s not a question of doing it over and over again. Or anything like that. It’s just that he seemed to be an open channel. He just flowed throught him. He never ever seemed to kind of dry up.”
Jimmie Vaughan, the elder brother of the late Stevie Ray Vaughan, began his career a few years earlier than his younger sibling and went on to become one of the most significant blues musicians of his age. Jimmie frequently travels with Clapton as his opening act because of their long-standing relationship.
In a 2021 interview with Goldmine magazine, Vaughan disclosed that Clapton had been a crucial support system for him following the awful loss of his brother. He revealed, “Eric was very nice and wonderful and supportive through the whole thing. Then he called me up and said, ‘Why don’t you come play with me over here in England and get away from over there? Just come play guitar.”
“Just leave that behind you. Come play.’ I was like, ‘Okay, I can do that.’ So he really helped me come back out. It’s been 31 years. Can you believe that?”
Buddy Guy, one of the greatest Blues guitarists of all time, began his career in 1953, more than ten years before Clapton. The guitarist has since collaborated with a huge number of Blues and Rock & Roll musicians and has received eight Grammy Awards.
In the late 1960s, Clapton and Buddy already had the opportunity to meet. When the British guitarist asked Buddy to take part in “24 nights” in 1990, it further encouraged Buddy’s career to take off. At London’s Royal Albert Hall, that effort assembled an all-star blues guitar lineup.
Even in 2005, Buddy Guy was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by B.B. King and Clapton. The singer remarked, “It’s a great honor and a privilege to induct this distinguish gentleman into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”
“A man that mean so much to me personally and that as a musician has given so much to us all. It also provides me with the perfect opportunity to say ‘Thank you for all the inspiration he’s given me over the years.”
“He started playing and singing, his love and concern for the welfare of the Blues has been a great example for me and countless others who had the good fortune to share this road. My first experience of Buddy’s power was when I bought a record called ‘Folk Festival of The Blues.’”
Eric went on, “A little album, a live album recorded in Chicago in the 60s. In the company of such great artists such as Otis Spann, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Sonny Boy Williamson, Buddy did far more than to just hold his own. With the greatest respect to all those fabulous masters, in my humble opinion he stoled the show. Coming from the back of the field like a throughbred racehorse, he’s shown through that genius ensemble. Taking no prisioners, letting everyone know that he was the new dangerous kid on the block.”