Happy Birthday Eric Clapton | Slowhand Collaborations

Today marks the 70th birthday of legendary guitarist Eric Clapton. Slowhand made his name coming up with bands like The Yardbirds and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers before rocketing to fame with Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce in the groundbreaking power trio Cream. After going solo, including leading projects like Derek & The Dominos, Clapton continued to churn out hit songs and even more memorable licks on one of the many guitars he had in his arsenal. Whether in a band or on his own, Clapton has always found himself in the company of the world’s most top notch musicians. Clapton will celebrate his 70th birthday in May with concerts at Madison Square Garden in New York City and at Royal Albert Hall in London.   

[Photo by Lester Cohen]

To celebrate Clapton’s seven decades of life we put together seven video capturing him on stage in various lineups with other stellar musicians. A true testament to his prowess with six strings, Clapton consistently finds his way on stage going toe to toe with best in the business, expertly holding his own in each instance. Watch the clips below to see Slowhand playing with the likes of B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Albert King, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Steve Winwood

Clapton was joined by his Blind Faith bandmate Steve Winwood in this performance of Traffic’s “Dear Mr. Fantasy” from Madison Square Garden in 2009.

Chicago blues guitarist and an early inspiration of Clapton’s, Buddy Guy trades riffs again at MSG, this time from 2001.

 In 1969 Clapton appeared on the BBC alongside Delaney & Bonnie, Bobby Whitlock and Traffic’s Dave Mason for this acoustic Delaney & Bonnie and Friends performance.

Clapton took the lead on George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” at the Concert for George at London’s Royal Albert Hall in 2002, sharing the stage with Harrison’s son Dhani, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston and many others.

Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festivals always bring about dream collaborations and this clip of a jammed out “The Thrill Is Gone” featuring Jimmy Vaughan, Robert Cray, B.B. King and Slowhand from 2010 is a perfect example of a wildly talented collection of artists.

Taken at Royal Albert Hall at the 1983 Action into Research for Multiple Sclerosis (ARMS) charity concert, this video captures the encore where Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Steve Winwood, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts were among those sharing the stage with Clapton.

Clapton held his own as part of this ridiculously talented lineup of musicians all performing together including B.B. King, Etta James, Albert King, Phil Collins, Gladys Knight, Paul Butterfield, Dr. John, Chaka Khan, Billy Ocean and Stevie Ray Vaughan at Los Angeles’ Ebony Theater in 1987.