Review for Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars
Eric Clapton wrote Layla.
That is all. That is all you need to know about how important Eric Clapton is to the music business. Even if you don't know anything else you will know Layla. Even if you think you don't know Layla, you will hear that guitar intro and you will.
This documentary looks at the life of one of the greatest musicians of the 20th Century. Eric Clapton became many people's go-to when it comes to guitar playing and over his career whether it was solo or in his many early groups he was still amazing.
We get to see his childhood up to his first picking up a guitar and it was really the influence of the blues that ignited what we became to know as the style of Clapton. By all accounts he was always great. There is a fascinating moment showing Clapton playing in 1965 with none other than Bob Dylan commenting over it?!
It was with the creation that Cream that Clapton started to really gain traction with songs such as Sunshine of Your Love and there is a whole section about how they socialised with Jimi Hendrix and listening to Hendrix and Clapton talking is fascinating.
The change to Derek and the Dominos was shown to be almost a disaster with people not realising that Derek was Eric and he was even questioned about why he didn't change the name to which he simply says its more fun to hide behind a name. The creation of their only album is viewed and hearing Layla in an almost demo was amazing and you can see why I say that's it one of the definitive songs of the 20th Century.
During all this we get to see Clapton's relationships, his family and use of drugs and alcohol which almost led to his total downfall with Clapton's use of heroin. Getting over drugs he sank into alcoholism which he admits he never admitted to himself, but produced many great musical moments such as Wonderful Tonight and his cover of Bob Marley's I Shot The Sheriff.
It is sad to relive the story of the death of his infant son Conor Clapton who fell from an apartment building. As a father, the very thought is horrifying and the fact he was able to carry on and create such a beautiful tribute in the Tears in Heaven song is heartbreakingly beautiful. He also opened the Crossroads Treatment clinic to help those with addiction and even sold many of his guitars to raise money and played many charity concerts to support it.
There is a wonderful moment where he is playing with Chuck Berry and Keith Richards in the background and I think it is these moments which really show just how important Clapton was. He was often surrounded by sheer musical legends and it is not difficult to say he was a musical legend himself.
As an extra the documentary comes with an interview between Jools Holland and Director Lili Fini Zanuck and Eric Clapton. I expected this to be a little thing, but it is a good twenty plus minutes and really does accompany the film well. Both answer indepth as to how the documentary was made and it was fascinating to see how humble Clapton is as if even he doesn't realise how important he actually is.
This documentary is amazing. I am not even a huge fan of Clapton, but after watching this documentary I was surprised by the number of songs I heard which I didn't even realise were his, but which I loved. His work has won countless awards, sold millions of records and no doubt inspired many people to pick up a guitar and play. If you want to experience the highs and lows and highs of an amazing career then this is the ones to watch.