Eric Patrick Clapton CBE (born 30 March 1945), nicknamed "Slowhand", is a Grammy Award winning English guitarist, singer and composer, who is one of the most successful musicians of the 20th century, garnering an unprecedented three inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Often viewed as one of the greatest guitarists of all time among critics and fans alike, Eric Clapton was ranked 4th in Rolling Stone’s list of The Greatest Guitarists of All Time and #53 on their list of the The Immortals: 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
Although Clapton's musical style has varied throughout his career, it has always remained rooted in the blues. Clapton is credited as an innovator in several phases of his career, which have included blues-rock (with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers and The Yardbirds) and psychedelic rock (with Cream). Clapton has also achieved great chart success in genres ranging from Delta blues (Me and Mr. Johnson) to pop ("Change the World") and reggae ("I Shot the Sheriff").
Clapton has performed songs by myriad artists, which include Bob Marley, J.J. Cale, Bo Diddley, Robert Johnson, and Bob Dylan. He cites Freddie King, B.B. King, Albert King, Buddy Guy, Hubert Sumlin both in musical influence and on his style on the guitar.
He holds no other artist in higher esteem than Robert Johnson. In 2004, Clapton released a CD and DVD entitled Sessions for Robert Johnson, featuring Clapton recording Robert Johnson covers with electric and acoustic guitars. He performs these tracks live and in the practice space on the DVD, as well as gives brief interviews explaining the huge influence Robert Johnson had on him. Doyle Bramhall II assists Clapton on the acoustic tracks of the CD and the DVD.
In his book, Discovering Robert Johnson (which he co-authored with several other writers), Clapton said of Johnson, that he was "...the most important blues musician who ever lived. He was true, absolutely, to his own vision, and as deep as I have gotten into the music over the last 30 years, I have never found anything more deeply soulful than Robert Johnson. His music remains the most powerful cry that I think you can find in the human voice, really. ... it seemed to echo something I had always felt." Clapton persuaded Freddie King to sign with his record label, RSO in 1974. Clapton has recorded more than six of J. J. Cale's originals and has put out an album with him. Clapton has also collaborated with Frank Zappa, B.B. King, George Harrison, Santana, Ringo Starr, Roger Waters, John Lennon, and The Plastic Ono Band. Clapton also collaborated with singer/songwriter John Mayer on his 2006 album release, Continuum. Mayer cites Clapton in his liner notes: "Eric Clapton knows I steal from him and is still cool with it." Clapton inspired Mayer to write "I Don't Trust Myself (With Loving You)", resembling characteristics of Clapton's musical and fashion style.
A few guitarists that Clapton has influenced are: Stevie Ray Vaughan, Gary Moore, Duane Allman, Derek Trucks, Eddie Van Halen, Orianthi, John Mayer, Brad Paisley, and Alex Lifeson.