Eric Clapton and “Tears in Heaven” and “Wonderful Tonight”

By Ahmet Abdulaziz ….

Looking back to my involvement and interest in music, I cannot recall much of Eric Clapton. He was there when The Beatles were my favourite. He was very much in the music world, when I used to follow Boney M, Bee Gees, ABBA, etc.

In fact I had mostly been interested in musical groups rather than the individual musicians. Although I used to play drums, guitar had always been my favourite. Due to this I liked “The Shadows” and “The Ventures”. Among the solo guitarists, I only knew Santana, and that was because of “Black Magic Woman”, which we used to play as a group during 1970s.

I had heard of Eric Clapton perhaps for the first time when someone had asked George Harrison, in a television interview, about how close he was with Eric Clapton. I remember George had replied, “we had shared the same woman.” To me it was a shocking statement, but subsequently I found out that Eric Clapton had ultimately married Pattie Boyd, who was also married to George Harrison.

Eric had been making a good name for himself in the music world, by writing, singing and playing hit songs, but he was never my favourite. I had not taken his songs seriously. I do not remember if I had ever listened to any of his songs more than once.

But the situation changed in 1991 when  I heard about the sad death of Conor, his son, at the age of 4. That particular incident led me on my way to know and read more and more about Eric Clapton.

It is strange that the sad demise of his son had made me realise the very existence of Eric Clapton. The more I read about him,  listened to songs, and watched videos, I realised that I should have known all those years earlier. But it’s never too late. For the last 20 years Eric Clapton has been my favourite singer and musician.  I have listened to almost all the songs available on youtube, repeatedly.

When I try to list down his most appealing songs, Tears in Heaven and Wonderful Tonight. tops the list. Though there is wide gap of over 13 years between the two. Eric wrote “Wonderful Tonight” in praise of Pattie Boyd, when he was having a serious affair with her. The song was released in 1977.  The song carries the inner feelings of Eric, very well expressed through words and music.

“Tears in Heaven”, is yet an another fantastic song of Eric. This song took him to the height of his music career. He had co-written this song with Will Jennings, and it was released in 1991. This song was written immediately after the sad death of Conor Clapton, his son. The song carries his very personal emotions. This song also directly affects the feelings of the listener. The song simply speaks of the height of sorrow of a father who has lost his son. The song shows his own guilt too, as he had thought that he had not been a responsible father.

If I am asked to select one of his songs as my favourite, my vote would be in favour of “Tears in Heaven”, because whenever I listen to this song, the whole episode of the sad demise of his son passes by my eyes.