“Clapton biography portrays a restless rocker forever bolting his bands” — my review for the Washington Post

clapton book

My review of “Slowhand,” Philip Norman’s new bio of Eric Clapton, is published in today’s Washington Post. See the full review here.

” ‘Have I ever been satisfied? Definitely for one night, yeah,’ Eric Clapton told Rolling Stone last year. He referred fondly to a 1968 show in Philadelphia with Cream, his innovative and enormously successful band with drummer Ginger Baker and bassist Jack Bruce. Nearly four decades later, the trio reunited for a four-night stand at London’s Royal Albert Hall that sold out in less than an hour.

When it comes to musical genres, bandmates, relationships with women and even his place in the rock universe, Clapton has always been driven by an unquenchable thirst for genuine satisfaction, Philip Norman contends in “Slowhand.” It’s a comprehensive and often illuminating account of the life and career of a musician who has had an outsize influence on generations of guitarists.

Norman, a former journalist best known for his 2,000-plus pages of Beatles biographies, opens with a scene at a lunch spot near the English city of Leeds in December 1969. Surrounded by young female fans, George Harrison introduces his pal Clapton as “the world’s greatest white guitarist . . . Bert Weedon,” the author of a popular guitar tutorial. It’s a rare moment of comic relief in a 419-page tome that’s mostly as sober as its subject is not.”

 

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