LAST year more than 18,000 projects were successfully funded on Kickstarter, the largest crowdfunding website. A total of $320m was pledged by 2.2m people, making possible creative projects including a documentary on fracking, a home aquaponics kit and a community centre for circus arts. Games, a category which includes video, board and card games, received the most support, with $83m pledged to more than 900 projects. Given their high development costs and passionate fans, video games are a good match for crowdfunding, particularly as established publishers churn out ever more sequels, leaving a long tail of unmet demand (see next article). In all, 44% of the projects launched last year managed to raise the money they requested, but the success rate ranged from a threadbare 26% in fashion to a sprightly 74% in dance.
Seventeen projects raised more than $1m apiece in 2012. Technology projects received the highest average pledge by category, at $107 per backer. The biggest Kickstarter project to date is Pebble, a watch that connects to a smartphone via Bluetooth, which received almost $150 per backer to raise $10.3m in May. (The first finished products are due to be delivered to backers next week.) According to Kickstarter, the total amount raised last year increased by more than 200% compared with 2011. Having opened itself to British-based projects in October, the site expects to see further growth in 2013.
The Dauer 962 Le Mans is a sports car based on the Porsche 962 racing car. Built by German Jochen Dauer’s Dauer Racing, a racing version of this car went on to win the 1994 24 Hours of Le Mans with the support of Porsche through the use of regulation loopholes.
Dauer Racing (now Dauer Sportwagen) produced the 962 Le Mans from Porsche 962 chassis stripped down for modification. Components of the bodywork were replaced with slightly revisedcarbon fibre and kevlar panels. The under tray was replaced with a flat version for better stability at high speeds. A second seat and leather upholstery were the cramped cockpit, as well as a video screen for DVD playback in later years.
A small compartment was added to the front of the car to carry luggage. A hydraulic suspension system was also added to meet German ride height requirements for street cars.
The 962 Le Mans uses nearly the same engine as the racing 962: Porsche’s water-cooled Type-935 2994 cc Flat-6 with two Kühnle, Kopp und Kausch AG turbochargers. Since the road car did not have to meet racing regulations, the air restrictor was removed allowing for an output of approximately 730 hp (544 kW). The 5-speed racing gearbox was also retained.
The first production car debuted at the 1993 Frankfurt Auto Show. While orders for the cars were taken, Dauer worked with Porsche to develop the two racing cars for the following years’ 24 Hours of Le Mans. After Dauer’s victory, attention returned to the road cars with at least twelve more were built over the years.
Following rule changes in the World Sportscar Championship in 1992 which saw Porsche 962 numbers dwindle in Europe, including at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Porsche was looking for ways to continue their sports car efforts. Although 962s were still legal at Le Mans, the class in which they ran no longer was capable of competing for overall wins against the top C1 class.
With the re-introduction of production-based grand tourer-style cars in 1993, Porsche saw an opportunity to exploit a loophole which existed in this new class. Rules set by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) which ran Le Mans stated that GT-class cars merely required a road going example, with no specific quantity of road cars specified to meet homologation rules. With Dauer’s success in modifying a Porsche 962 into a street-legal car in 1993, Porsche saw an opportunity to bring the 962 back into competition.
With the first production car shown to the public in 1993, Porsche had already met that requirement. Another rule in place at the time was the requirement that production-based cars have storage space for a typical suitcase, something which Dauer had been able to do since the road car was able to carry luggage. The flat bottom of the 962 Le Mans also fit with GT rules.
Three more modifications were necessary to fully comply: Narrower tires than the 962 had run inGroup C, a larger fuel tank (now up to 120 litres), and the reinstallation of a restrictor for the engine, although this one would be larger than the one they had run in Group C.
The flat bottom and narrow tires of the 962 Le Mans would hinder the performance of the car over the long laps at Le Mans even with the increased power from the GT-class air restrictor. However Porsche believed that the larger fuel tank they were allowed in the GT-class would allow them to overcome this lack of speed by spending less time in the pits than the Group C cars, something which is key for an endurance race.
A total of two Dauer 962 Le Mans racing cars were built. Arriving at Le Mans with the support of Porsche’s factory racing team, Joest Racing . Dauer’s two cars showed that they lacked the overall pace of the top Group C cars by qualifying fifth and seventh. However their pace in their class was shattering as the next closest GT1-class car could only muster 12th.
The race saw Porsche’s plan pan out, as the Dauer 962 Le Mans were able to gradually make their way to the top of the standings while their competitors spent time in the pits or succumbed to mechanical woes.
In the end, only a lone Toyota 94C-V in the Group C class could contend with the Dauers, taking second place overall. The Dauer 962 Le Mans of Yannick Dalmas, Hurley Haywood, and Mauro Baldi would take the overall win while the second team car would finish one lap behind in third place overall.
Soon after this event the ACO attempted to fix the loophole in the GT regulations by setting a minimum requirement for production cars to meet homologation standards. With this, the Dauer 962s would never race again, nor would the normal Porsche 962s as the Group C class was finally abandoned.
The Dauer 962 LM was introduced to the public in September of 1993 at the Frankfurt Motor Show and was accompanied by a price tag of $853,000. Not the most expensive exotic car on the market, but well worth the money. The Sultan of Brunei has added six of these machines to his 5000+ vehicle collection. On average, between one and two Dauers are produced per year.
The Porsche 962 had been successfully campaigned in many FIA and IMSA championships since its inception in 1984. The Porsche 962 was basically a 956 that had been stretched, increasing its size to accommodate new rules and regulations imposed by the sanctioning bodies. During its life-span nearly 150 examples had been sold.
Jochen Dauer, a German citizen and privateer was the 1988 European Sports Car Champion who had created Dauer Sportwagen GmbH to build and sell road-worth 962’s. He was approached by Alvin Singer, head of the Porsche North American racing program, with a proposition. According to LeMans rules, a racecar could be entered in the GT category as long as one street legal example had been created and registered. In the spring of 1994, the street car example was created. During that same year it was entered in the grueling 24 Hours of LeMans race by Dauer with factory support from Porsche. The 962 LM Sport was successful at capturing the overall victory and was later banned from participation in 1995.
Over 12 have been created each based on the original Porsche 962. The suspension is replaced with a double wishbones with adjustable anti-roll bars and dampers. Special hydraulics make the vehicle suitable for the road by giving the driver the ability to raise and lower the vehicle depending on the road conditions. At 50 miles-per-hour, the vehicle automatically adjusts the height of the vehicle to make it safer and more aerodynamic.
Excellent stopping power is compliments of massive 330mm Brembo cross-drilled, ventilated discs and four-piston calibers. Ten inch wide front wheels and eleven inch rear wheels provide excellent handling through turns.
The vehicle is powered by a Porsche water-cooled 3-liter engine, mounted mid-longitudinally and powering the rear wheels. Two intercooler KKK turbochargers with three alternative levels of boost is available. The 2994 cc engine produced 730 horsepower at 7400 rpm.
The transmission utilizes the 962’s gearbox and clutch but is controlled through Tiptonic buttons on the steering wheel. The steering wheel is detachable, allowing the driver ease of entry and exit from the carbon fiber seats. The exterior of the Porsche 962 is discarded in favor of a Kevlar body designed by Achim Storz. Custom-made carbon-fiber luggage can be placed in the luggage compartment built into the left-hand door sill. Air conditioning is another amenity adding to the allure of the vehicle.
The vehicles are customizable with most options available upon request. The Porsche 962 weighs 900 kg while the Dauer 962 tips the scale at around 1030 through 1185kg. The weight of the vehicle is dependent on the number of options, such as DVD or rear-view cameras, selected by the buyer.
At the Volkswagen’s Ehra-Leissen test track, the Dauer 962 was able to race from zero-through-sixty mph in just 2.6 seconds and achieve a top speed of 252 miles-per-hour.
Eric Patrick Clapton CBE (born 30 March 1945) is an English guitarist and singer-songwriter. Clapton is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist, and separately as a member of The Yardbirds and Cream. Clapton has been referred to as one of the most important and influential guitarists of all time. Clapton ranked second in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” and fourth in Gibson’s Top 50 Guitarists of All Time.
In the mid 1960s, Clapton departed from the Yardbirds to play blues with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. In his one-year stay with Mayall, Clapton gained the nickname “Slowhand”. Immediately after leaving Mayall, Clapton formed Cream, a power trio with drummer Ginger Baker and bassist Jack Bruce in which Clapton played sustained blues improvisations and “arty, blues-based psychedelic pop.”
For most of the 1970s, Clapton’s output bore the influence of the mellow style of J.J. Cale and the reggae of Bob Marley. His version of Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff” helped reggae reach a mass market. Two of his most popular recordings were “Layla”, recorded by Derek and the Dominos, another band he formed and Robert Johnson’s “Crossroads”, recorded by Cream. A recipient of seventeen Grammy Awards, in 2004 Clapton was awarded a CBE at Buckingham Palace for services to music. In 1998, Clapton, a recovering alcoholic anddrug addict, founded the Crossroads Centre on Antigua, a medical facility for recovering substance abusers.
Eric Patrick Clapton was born in Ripley, Surrey, England, the son of 16-year-old Patricia Molly Clapton (b. 7 January 1929 d. March 1999) and Edward Walter Fryer (21 March 1920 – 15 May 1985), a 25-year-old soldier from Montreal, Quebec. Fryer shipped off to war prior to Clapton’s birth and then returned to Canada. Clapton grew up with his grandmother, Rose, and her second husband, Jack Clapp, who was stepfather to Patricia Clapton and her brother Adrian, believing they were his parents and that his mother was actually his older sister. The similarity in surnames gave rise to the erroneous belief that Clapton’s real surname is Clapp (Reginald Cecil Clapton was the name of Rose’s first husband, Eric Clapton’s maternal grandfather). Years later, his mother married another Canadian soldier and moved to Germany, leaving young Eric with his grandparents in Surrey.
Clapton received an acoustic Hoyer guitar, made in Germany, for his thirteenth birthday, but the inexpensive steel-stringed instrument was difficult to play and he briefly lost interest. Two years later Clapton picked it up again and started playing consistently. Clapton was influenced by the blues from an early age, and practised long hours to learn the chords of blues music by playing along to the records. He preserved his practice sessions using his portable Grundig reel-to-reel tape recorder, listening to them over and over until he felt he’d got it right.
After leaving Hollyfield School, in Surbiton, in 1961, Clapton studied at the Kingston College of Art but was dismissed at the end of the academic year because his focus remained on music rather than art. His guitar playing was so advanced that by the age of 16 he was getting noticed. Around this time Clapton began busking around Kingston, Richmond, and the West End. In 1962, Clapton started performing as a duo with fellow blues enthusiast David Brock in pubs around Surrey. When he was seventeen years old Clapton joined his first band, an early British R&B group, “The Roosters”, whose other guitarist was Tom McGuinness. He stayed with this band from January through August 1963. ] In October of that year, Clapton did a seven-gig stint with Casey Jones & The Engineers.
1960s; The Yardbirds and the Bluesbreakers
In October 1963 Clapton joined The Yardbirds, a blues-influenced rock and roll band, and stayed with them until March 1965.
Synthesising influences from Chicago blues and leading blues guitarists such as Buddy Guy, Freddie King, and B. B. King, Clapton forged a distinctive style and rapidly became one of the most talked-about guitarists in the British music scene. The band initially played Chess/Checker/Vee-Jay blues numbers and began to attract a large cult following when they took over the Rolling Stones’ residency at the Crawdaddy Club in Richmond. They toured England with American bluesman Sonny Boy Williamson II; a joint LP album, recorded in December 1963, was issued in 1965.
Since appearing at the Royal Albert Hallfor the first time in 1964, Clapton has performed at the venue almost 200 times.
It was during this time period that Clapton’s Yardbirds rhythm guitarist, Chris Dreja, recalled that whenever Clapton broke a guitar string during a concert, he would stay on stage and replace it. The English audiences would wait out the delay by doing what is called a “slow handclap”. Clapton told his official biographer, Ray Coleman, that, “My nickname of ‘Slowhand’ came from Giorgio Gomelsky. He coined it as a good pun. He kept saying I was a fast player, so he put together the slow handclap phrase into Slowhand as a play on words”. In December 1964, Clapton made his first appearance at the Royal Albert Hall, London with The Yardbirds. Since then, Clapton has performed at the Hall almost 200 times, and has stated that performing at the venue is like “playing in my front room”.
In March 1965 the Yardbirds had their first major hit, “For Your Love”, on which Clapton played guitar. The Yardbirds elected to move toward a pop-oriented sound, in part because of the success of “For Your Love”, written by pop songwriter-for-hire Graham Gouldman, who had also written hit songs for Herman’s Hermits and The Hollies. Still musically devoted to the blues, Clapton was opposed to the move, and left the band. He recommended fellow guitarist Jimmy Page as his replacement, but Page was at that time unwilling to relinquish his lucrative career as a freelance studio musician, so Page in turn recommended Clapton’s successor, Jeff Beck. While Beck and Page played together in the Yardbirds, the trio of Beck, Page, and Clapton were never in the group together. However, the trio did appear on the 12-date benefit tour for Action for Research into Multiple Sclerosis in 1983, as well as on the album Guitar Boogie.
Clapton joined John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers in April 1965, only to quit a few months later. In the summer of 1965 he left for Greece with a band called The Glands, which included his old friend Ben Palmer on piano.
In November 1965 he rejoined John Mayall. During his second Bluesbreakers stint, Clapton gained a reputation as the best blues guitarist on the club circuit. Although Clapton gained world fame for his playing on the influential album, Blues Breakers – John Mayall – With Eric Clapton, this album was not released until Clapton had left the Bluesbreakers for the last time. Having swapped his Fender Telecaster and Vox AC30 amplifier for a 1960 Gibson Les Paul Standard guitar and Marshall amplifier, Clapton’s sound and playing inspired a well-publicised graffiti that deified him with the famous slogan “Clapton is God”. The phrase was spray-painted by an admirer on a wall in an Islington Underground station in the autumn of 1967. The graffiti was captured in a now-famous photograph, in which a dog is urinating on the wall. Clapton is reported to have been embarrassed by the slogan, saying in his The South Bank Show profile in 1987, “I never accepted that I was the greatest guitar player in the world. I always wanted to be the greatest guitar player in the world, but that’s an ideal, and I accept it as an ideal”. The phrase began to appear in other areas of Islington throughout the mid 1960s.
Clapton (right) with Cream
Clapton left the Bluesbreakers in July 1966 (to be replaced by Peter Green) and was invited by drummer Ginger Baker to play in his newly formed band Cream, one of the earliest supergroups, with Jack Bruce on bass (also of Manfred Mann, the Bluesbreakers, and the Graham Bond Organisation). Before the formation of Cream, Clapton was not well known in the United States; he left the Yardbirds before “For Your Love” hit the American Top Ten, and had yet to perform there. During his time with Cream, Clapton began to develop as a singer, songwriter, and guitarist, though Bruce took most of the lead vocals and wrote the majority of the material with lyricist Pete Brown. Cream’s first gig was an unofficial performance at the Twisted Wheel Club in Manchester on 29 July 1966 before their full debut two nights later at the National Jazz and Blues Festival in Windsor. Cream established its enduring legend with the high-volume blues jamming and extended solos of their live shows.
In early 1967 Clapton’s status as Britain’s top guitarist was rivalled by the emergence of Jimi Hendrix, an acid rock-infused guitarist who used wailing feedback and effects pedals to create new sounds for the instrument. Hendrix attended a performance of the newly-formed Cream at the Central London Polytechnic on 1 October 1966, during which Hendrix sat in on a double-timed version of “Killing Floor”. Top UK stars including Clapton, Pete Townshend, and members of The Rolling Stones and The Beatles avidly attended Hendrix’s early club performances. Hendrix’s arrival had an immediate and major effect on the next phase of Clapton’s career, although Clapton continued to be recognised in UK music polls as the premier guitarist.
Clapton first visited the United States while touring with Cream. In March 1967, Cream performed a nine-show stand at the RKO Theater in New York. They recorded Disraeli Gears in New York from 11–15 May 1967. Cream’s repertoire varied from hard rock (“I Feel Free”) to lengthy blues-based instrumental jams (“Spoonful”). Disraeli Gears featured Clapton’s searing guitar lines, Bruce’s soaring vocals and prominent, fluid bass playing, and Baker’s powerful, polyrhythmic jazz-influenced drumming. Together, Cream’s talents secured them as an influential power trio.
Clapton’s The Fool guitar (replica shown), with its bright artwork and famous “woman tone”, was symbolic of the 1960s psychedelic rock era.
In 28 months, Cream had become a commercial success, selling millions of records and playing throughout the U.S. and Europe. They redefined the instrumentalist’s role in rock and were one of the first blues-rock bands to emphasise musical virtuosity and lengthy jazz-style improvisation sessions. Their U.S. hit singles include “Sunshine of Your Love” (#5, 1968), “White Room” (#6, 1968) and “Crossroads” (#28, 1969) – a live version of Robert Johnson’s “Cross Road Blues”. Though Cream was hailed as one of the greatest groups of its day, and the adulation of Clapton as a guitar hero reached new heights, the supergroup was short-lived. Drug and alcohol use escalated tension between the three members, and conflicts between Bruce and Baker eventually led to Cream’s demise. A strongly critical Rolling Stone review of a concert of the group’s second headlining U.S. tour was another significant factor in the trio’s demise, and it affected Clapton profoundly.
Cream’s farewell album, Goodbye, featuring live performances recorded at The Forum, Los Angeles,19 October 1968, was released shortly after Cream disbanded; it also featured the studio single “Badge”, co-written by Clapton and George Harrison. Clapton met Harrison and became friends with him after the Beatles shared a bill with the Clapton-era Yardbirds at the London Palladium. The close friendship between Clapton and Harrison resulted in Clapton’s playing on Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” from the Beatles’White Album (1968). Harrison also released his solo debut album, Wonderwall Music, in 1968. It became the first of many Harrison solo records to feature Clapton on guitar. Clapton would go largely uncredited for his contributions to Harrison’s albums due to contractual restraints. The pair would often play live together as each other’s guest.
A year after Harrison’s death in 2001, Clapton helped organise a tribute concert, for which he was musical director. In 1969, when The Beatles were recording/filming what became Let It Be, tensions became so acute that Harrison quit the group for several days, prompting the others to consider replacing him with Clapton, an idea that particularly appealed to John Lennon, who was captured on tape saying that if: “George doesn’t come back by Monday or Tuesday, we ask Eric Clapton to play”, and that this would be congenial to Clapton in that The Beatles, unlike Cream, “would give him full scope to play his guitar.” Years later, Clapton commented on the absurdity of this idea: “There may have been [a suggestion that I would be asked to join The Beatles in January 1969]. The problem with that was I had bonded or was developing a relationship with George, exclusive of them. I think it fitted a need of his and mine, that he could elevate himself by having this guy that could be like a gunslinger to them. Lennon would use my name every now and then for clout, as if I was the fastest gun. So, I don’t think I could have been brought into the whole thing because I was too much a mate of George’s.”
In 2012 a letter from Lennon to Clapton was put up for auction. In the letter, penned in September 1971, Lennon asked Clapton if he would like to form a new band.
Cream briefly reunited in 1993 to perform at the ceremony inducting them into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; a full reunion took place in May 2005, with Clapton, Bruce, and Baker playing four sold-out concerts at London’s Royal Albert Hall, and three shows at New York’s Madison Square Garden that October. Recordings from the London shows, Royal Albert Hall London May 2-3-5-6, 2005, were released on CD, LP, and DVD in September/December 2005.
Blind Faith and Delaney and Bonnie and Friends
Clapton’s next group, Blind Faith (1969), was composed of Cream drummer Ginger Baker, Steve Winwood of Traffic, and Ric Grech of Family, and yielded one LP and one arena-circuit tour. The supergroup debuted before 100,000 fans in London’s Hyde Park on 7 June1969. They performed several dates in Scandinavia and began a sold-out American tour in July before their only album was released. The LP Blind Faith consisted of just six songs, one of them a 15-minute jam entitled “Do What You Like”. The album’s jacket image of a topless pubescent girl was deemed controversial in the United States and was replaced by a photograph of the band. Blind Faith dissolved after less than seven months.
Clapton subsequently toured as a sideman for an act that had opened for Blind Faith, Delaney and Bonnie and Friends. He also played two dates as a member of The Plastic Ono Band that autumn, including a recorded performance at the Toronto Rock and Roll Revival in September 1969 released as the album Live Peace in Toronto 1969. On 15 December 1969 Clapton performed with John Lennon, George Harrison, and others as the Plastic Ono Band at a fundraiser for UNICEF in London.
Delaney Bramlett encouraged Clapton in his singing and writing. During the summer of 1969, Clapton and Bramlett contributed to the Music From Free Creek “supersession” project. Clapton, appearing as “King Cool” for contractual reasons, played with Dr. John on three songs, joined by Bramlett on two tracks.
Using the Bramletts’ backing group and an all-star cast of session players (including Leon Russell and Stephen Stills), Clapton recorded his first solo album during two brief tour hiatuses, fittingly named Eric Clapton. Delaney Bramlett co-wrote six of the songs with Clapton, and Bonnie Bramlett co-wrote “Let It Rain”. The album yielded the unexpected U.S. No. 18 hit, J. J. Cale’s “After Midnight”. Clapton went with Delaney and Bonnie from the stage to the studio with the Dominos to record George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass in spring 1970. During this busy period, Clapton also recorded with other artists including Dr. John, Leon Russell, Plastic Ono Band, Billy Preston, and Ringo Starr.
Derek and the Dominos
With the intention to counteract the “star” cult faction that had begun to form around him, Clapton assembled a new band composed of Delaney and Bonnie’s former rhythm section, Bobby Whitlock as keyboardist and vocalist, Carl Radleas the bassist, and drummer Jim Gordon, with Clapton playing guitar. It was his intention to show that he need not fill a starring role, and functioned well as a member of an ensemble. During this period, Clapton was increasingly influenced by The Band and their album Music from Big Pink, saying, “What I appreciated about The Band was that they were more concerned with songs and singing. They would have three- and four-part harmonies, and the guitar was put back into perspective as being accompaniment. That suited me well, because I had gotten so tired of the virtuosity—or pseudo-virtuosity—thing of long, boring guitar solos just because they were expected. The Band brought things back into perspective. The priority was the song.” Firstly naming the band, “Eric Clapton and Friends”, the name “Derek and the Dominos” was a fluke. It occurred when the band’s provisional name of “Del and the Dynamos” was misread as Derek and the Dominos. Clapton’s biography states that Tony Ashton of Ashton, Gardner and Dyke told Clapton to call the band “Del and the Dominos”, since “Del” was his nickname for Eric Clapton. Del and Eric were combined and the final name became “Derek and the Dominos”.
Clapton’s close friendship with George Harrison brought him into contact with Harrison’s wife, Pattie Boyd, with whom he became deeply infatuated. When she spurned his advances, Clapton’s unrequited affections prompted most of the material for the Dominos’ album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (1970). Heavily blues-influenced, the album features the twin lead guitars of Duane Allman and Clapton, with Allman’s slide guitar as a key ingredient of the sound. Working at Criteria Studios in Miami with Atlantic Records producer Tom Dowd, who had worked with Clapton on Cream’s Disraeli Gears, the band recorded a double album.
The album features the hit love song “Layla”, inspired by the classical poet of Persian literature, Nizami Ganjavi’s The Story of Layla and Majnun, a copy of which Ian Dallas had given to Clapton. The book moved Clapton profoundly, as it was the tale of a young man who fell hopelessly in love with a beautiful, unavailable woman and who went crazy because he could not marry her. The two parts of “Layla” were recorded in separate sessions: the opening guitar section was recorded first, and for the second section, laid down several months later, drummer Jim Gordon composed and played the piano part.
The Layla LP was actually recorded by a five-piece version of the group, thanks to the unforeseen inclusion of guitarist Duane Allman of The Allman Brothers Band. A few days into the Layla sessions, Dowd—who was also producing the Allmans—invited Clapton to an Allman Brothers outdoor concert in Miami. The two guitarists met first on stage, then played all night in the studio, and became friends. Duane first added his slide guitar to “Tell the Truth” and “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out”. In four days, the five-piece Dominos recorded “Key to the Highway”, “Have You Ever Loved a Woman” (a blues standard popularised by Freddie King and others), and “Why Does Love Got to be So Sad”. In September, Duane briefly left the sessions for gigs with his own band, and the four-piece Dominos recorded “I Looked Away”, “Bell Bottom Blues”, and “Keep on Growing”. Duane returned to record “I am Yours”, “Anyday”, and “It’s Too Late”. On 9 September, they recorded Hendrix’s “Little Wing” and the title track. The following day, the final track, “It’s Too Late”, was recorded.
Eric Clapton in Barcelona, 1974
Tragedy dogged the group throughout its brief career. During the sessions, Clapton was devastated by news of the death of Jimi Hendrix; eight days previously the band had cut a cover of “Little Wing” as a tribute to Hendrix. On 17 September 1970, one day before Hendrix’s death, Clapton had purchased a left-handed Fender Stratocaster that he had planned to give to Hendrix as a birthday gift. Adding to Clapton’s woes, the Layla album received only lukewarm reviews upon release. The shaken group undertook a U.S. tour without Allman, who had returned to the Allman Brothers Band. Despite Clapton’s later admission that the tour took place amidst a veritable blizzard of drugs and alcohol, it resulted in the live double album In Concert. The band had recorded several tracks for a second album in London during the spring of 1971 (five of which were released on the Eric Clapton box-set Crossroads), but the results were mediocre.
A second record was in the works when a clashing of egos took place and Clapton walked, thus disbanding the group. Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident on 29 October 1971. Clapton wrote later in his autobiography that he and Allman were inseparable during the sessions in Florida; he talked about Allman as the “musical brother I’d never had but wished I did.” Although Radle would remain Clapton’s bass player until the summer of 1979 (Radle died in May 1980 from the effects of alcohol and narcotics), it would be 2003 before Clapton and Whitlock appeared together again (Clapton guested on Whitlock’s appearance on the Later with Jools Holland show). Another tragic footnote to the Dominos story was the fate of drummer Jim Gordon, who was an undiagnosed schizophrenic and years later murdered his mother during a psychotic episode. Gordon was confined to 16-years-to-life imprisonment, later being moved to a mental institution, where he remains today.
Clapton’s career successes in the 1970s were in stark contrast with his personal life, which was troubled by romantic longings and drug and alcohol addiction. While suffering his (temporarily) unrequited and intense attraction to Pattie Boyd, he withdrew from recording and touring to isolation in his Surrey, England, residence. There he nursed his heroin addiction, which resulted in a career hiatus interrupted only by the Concert for Bangladesh in August 1971 (where he passed out on stage, was revived, and continued his performance). In January 1973, The Who’s Pete Townshend organised a comeback concert for Clapton at London’s Rainbow Theatre, aptly titled the “Rainbow Concert”, to help Clapton kick his addiction. Clapton would return the favour by playing ‘The Preacher’ in Ken Russell’s film version of The Who’s Tommy in 1975; his appearance in the film (performing “Eyesight to the Blind”) is notable as he is clearly wearing a fake beard in some shots, the result of deciding to shave off his real beard after the initial takes in an attempt to force the director to remove his earlier scene from the movie and leave the set.
Yvonne Elliman with Clapton promoting 461 Ocean Boulevard in 1975
In 1974, now partnered with Pattie (they would not actually marry until 1979) and no longer using heroin (although starting to drink heavily), Clapton put together a more low-key touring band that included Radle, Miami guitarist George Terry, keyboardist Dick Sims (who died in 2011 ), drummer Jamie Oldaker, and vocalists Yvonne Elliman and Marcy Levy (also known as Marcella Detroit). With this band Clapton recorded 461 Ocean Boulevard (1974), an album with an emphasis on more compact songs and fewer guitar solos; the cover version of “I Shot The Sheriff” was Clapton’s first No. 1 hit and was important in bringing reggae and the music of Bob Marley to a wider audience. The 1975 album There’s One in Every Crowd continued this trend. The album’s original title, The World’s Greatest Guitar Player (There’s One In Every Crowd), was changed before pressing, as it was felt its ironic intention would be misunderstood. The band toured the world and subsequently released the 1975 live LP, E.C. Was Here. Clapton continued to release albums and toured regularly. Highlights of the period include No Reason to Cry (a collaboration with Bob Dylan and The Band); Slowhand, which featured “Wonderful Tonight” (another song inspired by Boyd); and a second J.J. Cale cover, “Cocaine”. In 1976 he performed, alongside a string of notable guests, to pay tribute to the farewell performance of The Band, filmed in a Martin Scorsese documentary called The Last Waltz.
In 1981 Clapton was invited by producer Martin Lewis to appear at the Amnesty International benefit The Secret Policeman’s Other Ball. Clapton accepted the invitation and teamed up with Jeff Beck to perform a series of duets—reportedly their first-ever billed stage collaboration. Three of the performances were released on the album of the show, and one of the songs was featured in the film. The performances heralded a return to form and prominence for Clapton in the new decade. Many factors had influenced Clapton’s comeback, including his “deepening commitment to Christianity”, to which he had converted prior to his heroin addiction.
After an embarrassing fishing incident, Clapton finally called his manager and admitted he was an alcoholic. In January 1982 Roger and Clapton flew to Minneapolis – St. Paul; Clapton would be checked in at Hazelden Treatment Center, located in Center City, Minnesota. On the flight over, Clapton indulged in a large number of drinks, for fear he would never be able to drink again. Clapton is quoted as saying from his autobiography, “In the lowest moments of my life, the only reason I didn’t commit suicide was that I knew I wouldn’t be able to drink any more if I was dead. It was the only thing I thought was worth living for, and the idea that people were about to try and remove me from alcohol was so terrible that I drank and drank and drank, and they had to practically carry me into the clinic.”
After being discharged, it was recommended by doctors of Hazelden that Clapton not partake in any activities that would act as triggers for his alcoholism or stress, until he was fully situated back at Hurtwood. A few months after his discharge, Clapton began working on his next album, against the Hazelden doctors’ orders. Working with Tom Dowd, Clapton produced what he thought as his “most forced” album to date, Money and Cigarettes.
In 1984 he performed on Pink Floyd member Roger Waters’ solo album, The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking, and went on tour with Waters following the release of the album. Since then Waters and Clapton have had a close relationship. In 2005 they performed together for the Tsunami Relief Fund. In 2006 they performed at the Highclere Castle, in aid of the Countryside Alliance, playing two set pieces of “Wish You Were Here” and “Comfortably Numb”. Clapton, now a seasoned charity performer, played at the Live Aid concert on 13 July 1985. When offered a slot close to peak viewing hours, he was apparently flattered. As Clapton recovered from his addictions, his album output continued in the 1980s, including two produced with Phil Collins, 1985’s Behind the Sun, which produced the hits “Forever Man” and “She’s Waiting”, and 1986’s August.
Tina Turner and Eric Clapton at Wembley Arena, 18 June 1987
August was suffused with Collins’s trademark drum and horn sound, and became Clapton’s biggest seller in the UK to date, matching his highest chart position, number 3. The album’s first track, the hit “It’s In The Way That You Use It”, was featured in the Tom Cruise – Paul Newman movie The Color of Money. The horn-peppered “Run” echoed Collins’ “Sussudio” and rest of the producer’s Genesis/solo output, while “Tearing Us Apart” (with Tina Turner) and the unimpressed “Miss You” echoed Clapton’s angry sound. This rebound kicked off Clapton’s two-year period of touring with Collins and their August collaborates, bassist Nathan East and keyboard player/songwriter Greg Phillinganes. While on tour for August, two concert videos were recorded of the four-man band, Eric Clapton Live from Montreux and Eric Clapton and Friends. Clapton later remade “After Midnight” as a single and a promotional track for theMichelob beer brand, which had also marketed earlier songs by Collins and Steve Winwood. Clapton won a British Academy Television Award for his collaboration with Michael Kamen on the score for the 1985 BBC Television thriller serial Edge of Darkness. In 1989, Clapton released Journeyman, an album which covered a wide range of styles including blues, jazz, soul and pop. Collaborators included George Harrison, Phil Collins, Daryl Hall, Chaka Khan,Mick Jones, David Sanborn and Robert Cray.
George Harrison and Clapton at thePrince’s Trust Concert, Wembley Arena, 1987
In 1984, while still married to Pattie Boyd, Clapton began a year-long relationship with Yvonne Kelly. The two had a daughter, Ruth, who was born in January 1985, but her existence was kept a secret by her parents. She was not publicly revealed as his child until 1991. Boyd criticised Clapton because he had not revealed the child’s existence.
At the 1987 Brit Awards in London, Clapton picked up the prize for Outstanding Contribution to Music. Hurricane Hugo hit Montserrat in 1989, and this resulted in the closure of SirGeorge Martin and John Burgess’s recording studio AIR Montserrat, where Kelly was Managing Director. Kelly and Ruth moved back to England, and stories about Eric’s secret daughter began as a result of newspaper articles published at the time. Clapton and Boyd divorced in 1988 following his affair with Italian model Lory Del Santo, who gave birth to their son, Conor, on 21 August 1986. Boyd was never able to conceive children, despite attempts at in vitro fertilisation. Their divorce was granted on grounds of “infidelity and unreasonable behaviour.”
Clapton was known to date a host of beautiful women, including Krissy Wood (ex-wife of Ron Wood), actress Charlotte Martin, socialite Alice Ormsby-Gore, Paula Boyd (the younger sister of his future wife Pattie), singer Janis Joplin, singer Marianne Faithfull, rock muses Catherine James, Cyrinda Fox, and Geraldine Edwards, the inspiration for Penny Lane in Almost Famous, singer Rosanne Cash, the former First Lady of France and former model Carla Bruni, and actresses Patsy Kensit, Sharon Stone, and Alicia Witt.
The 1990s brought a series of 32 concerts to the Royal Albert Hall, such as the 24 Nights series of concerts that took place around January through February 1990, and February through March 1991. On 27 August 1990, fellow blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan, who was touring with Clapton, and three members of their road crew were killed in a helicopter crash between concerts. Then, on 20 March1991, Clapton’s four-year-old son, Conor, died after falling from the 53rd-floor window of his mother’s friend’s New York City apartment at 117 East 57th Street. Conor’s funeral took place on 28 March at St Mary Magdelene’s Church in Clapton’s home village in Ripley, Surrey. Clapton’s grief was expressed in the song “Tears in Heaven”, which was co-written by Will Jennings., At the 35th Grammy Awards, Clapton received six Grammy Awards for the single “Tears in Heaven” and his Unplugged album. The album reached number one on the Billboard 200, and has since been certified Diamond by the RIAA for selling over 10 million copies in the United States. On 9 September 1992, Clapton performed “Tears in Heaven” at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles, and won the award for Best Male Video.
In October 1992 Clapton was among the dozens of artists performing at Bob Dylan’s 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration. Recorded atMadison Square Garden in New York City, the live two-disk CD/DVD captured a show full of celebrities performing classic Dylan songs, before ending with a few performances from Dylan himself. Despite the presence of 10 other guitarists on stage, including George Harrison, Neil Young, Roger McGuinn, Steve Cropper, Tom Petty, and Dylan, Clapton played the lead on a nearly 7-minute version of Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” as part of the finale.
While Unplugged featured Clapton playing acoustic guitar, his 1994 album From the Cradle contained new versions of old blues standards, highlighted by his electric guitar playing. Clapton’s 1996 recording of the Wayne Kirkpatrick/Gordon Kennedy/Tommy Simstune “Change the World” (featured in the soundtrack of the movie Phenomenon) won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 1997, the same year he recorded Retail Therapy (an album of electronic music with Simon Climie under the pseudonym TDF). The following year, Clapton released the album Pilgrim, the first record featuring new material for almost a decade. Clapton finished the twentieth century with collaborations with Carlos Santana and B. B. King.
In 1996 Clapton had a relationship with singer/songwriter Sheryl Crow. They remain friends, and Clapton appeared as a guest on Crow’s Central Park Concert. The duo performed a Cream hit single, “White Room”. Later, Clapton and Crow performed an alternate version of “Tulsa Time” with other guitar legends at the Crossroads Guitar Festival in June 2007.
In 1998 Clapton, then 53, met 22-year-old administrative assistant Melia McEnery in Columbus, Ohio, at a party given for him after a performance. He quietly dated her for a year, and went public with the relationship in 1999. They married on 1 January 2002 at St Mary Magdalene church in Clapton’s birthplace, Ripley. As of 2005 they have three daughters, Julie Rose (13 June 2001), Ella May (14 January2003), and Sophie Belle (1 February 2005).
At the 41st Grammy Awards on 24 February 1999, Clapton received his third Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, for his song “My Father’s Eyes”. ] In October 1999, the compilation album, Clapton Chronicles: The Best of Eric Clapton, was released, which contained a new song, “Blue Eyes Blue”, that also appears in soundtrack for the film, Runaway Bride.
Performance for Tsunami Relief Cardiff in 2005
Following the release of the 2001 record Reptile, in June 2002, Clapton performed “Layla” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” at the Party at the Palace concert in the grounds of Buckingham Palace. On 29 November 2002, the Concert for George was held at the Royal Albert Hall, a tribute to George Harrison, who had died a year earlier of cancer. Clapton was a performer and the musical director. The concert featured Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Ravi Shankar, Gary Brooker, Billy Preston, Joe Brown and Dhani Harrison. In 2004, Clapton released two albums of covers of songs by bluesman Robert Johnson, Me and Mr. Johnson and Sessions for Robert J. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked Clapton No. 53 on their list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”.
Clapton performing at the Ahoy Arena of Rotterdam in 1 June 2006
On 22 January 2005, Clapton performed in the Tsunami Relief Concert held at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, in aid of the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. In May 2005 Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, and Ginger Baker reunited as Cream for a series of concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Concert recordings were released on CD and DVD. Later, Cream performed in New York at Madison Square Garden. Back Home, Clapton’s first album of new original material in nearly five years, was released on Reprise Records on 30 August. In 2006 he invited Derek Trucks and Doyle Bramhall II to join his band for his 2006–2007 world tour. Trucks is the third member of the Allman Brothers Band to tour supporting Clapton, the second being pianist/keyboardist Chuck Leavell, who appeared on the MTV Unplugged album and the 24 Nights performances at the Royal Albert Hall theatre of London in 1990 and 1991, as well as Clapton’s 1992 U.S. tour.
On 20 May 2006, Clapton performed with Queen drummer Roger Taylor and former Pink Floyd bassist/songwriter Roger Waters at the Highclere Castle, Hampshire, in support of the Countryside Alliance. On 13 August 2006, Clapton made a guest appearance at the Bob Dylan concert in Columbus, Ohio, playing guitar on three songs in Jimmie Vaughan’s opening act. A collaboration with guitarist J. J. Cale, titled The Road to Escondido, was released on 7 November 2006, featuring Derek Trucks and Billy Preston. The 14-track CD was produced and recorded by the duo in August 2005 in California. The chemistry between Trucks and Clapton convinced him to invite The Derek Trucks Band to open for Clapton’s set at his 2007 Crossroads Guitar Festival. Trucks remained on set afterward, performed with Clapton’s band throughout his performances, and later embarked on a world tour with him.
The rights to Clapton’s official memoirs, written by Christopher Simon Sykes and published in 2007, were sold at the 2005 Frankfurt Book Fair for US$4 million.
On 26 February 2008, it was reported that North Korean officials had invited Clapton to play a concert in the communist state. Clapton’s management received the invitation and passed it on to the singer, who agreed in principle and suggested it take place sometime in 2009. Kristen Foster, a spokesperson, said, “Eric Clapton receives numerous offers to play in countries around the world,” and “[t]here is no agreement whatsoever for him to play in North Korea.”
Eric Clapton (fourth from left) and his band live in 2007
In 2007 Clapton learned more about his father, a Canadian soldier who left the UK after the war. Although Clapton’s grandparents eventually told him the truth about his parentage, he only knew that his father’s name was Edward Fryer. This was a source of disquiet for Clapton, as witnessed by his 1998 song “My Father’s Eyes”. A Montreal journalist named Michael Woloschuk researched Canadian Armed Forces service records and tracked down members of Fryer’s family, and finally pieced together the story. He learned that Clapton’s father was Edward Walter Fryer, born 21 March 1920, in Montreal and died 15 May 1985 in Newmarket, Ontario. Fryer was a musician (piano and saxophone) and a lifelong drifter who was married several times, had several children, and apparently never knew that he was the father of Eric Clapton. Clapton thanked Woloschuk in an encounter at Macdonald Cartier Airport, in Ottawa, Canada.
In February 2008 Clapton performed with his long-time friend Steve Winwood at Madison Square Garden and guested on his recorded single, “Dirty City”, on Winwood’s album Nine Lives. The two former Blind Faith bandmates met again for a series of 14 concerts throughout the United States in June 2009.
Clapton’s 2008 Summer Tour began on 3 May at the Ford Amphitheatre, Tampa Bay, Florida, and then moved to Canada, Ireland, England, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Poland, Germany, and Monaco. On 28 June 2008, he headlined Saturday night for Hard Rock Calling 2008 in London’s Hyde Park (previously Hyde Park Calling) with support from Sheryl Crow and John Mayer. In September 2008 Clapton performed at a private charity fundraiser for The Countryside Alliance at Floridita in Soho, London, that included such guests as the London Mayor Boris Johnson.
Clapton performing with The Allman Brothers Band at the Beacon Theater, New York City
In March 2009, the Allman Brothers Band (amongst many notable guests) celebrated their 40th year, dedicating their string of concerts to the late Duane Allman on their annual run at the Beacon Theatre. Eric Clapton was one of the performers, with drummerButch Trucks remarking that the performance was not the typical Allman Brothers experience, given the number and musical styles of the guests who were invited to perform. Songs like “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” were punctuated with others, including “The Weight”, with Levon Helm; Johnny Winter sitting in on Hendrix’s “Red House”; and “Layla”. On 4 May 2009 Clapton appeared as a featured guest at the Royal Albert Hall, playing “Further on Up the Road” with Joe Bonamassa.
Clapton was scheduled to be one of the performers at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 25th anniversary concert in Madison Square Garden on 30 October 2009, but cancelled due to gallstone surgery. Van Morrison (who also cancelled) said in an interview that he and Clapton were to do a “couple of songs”, but that they would do something else together at “some other stage of the game”.
Clapton performed a two-night show with Jeff Beck at London’s O2 Arena on 13–14 February 2010. The two former Yardbirds extended their 2010 tour with stops at Madison Square Garden, the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, and the Bell Centre in Montreal. Clapton performed a series of concerts in 11 cities throughout the United States from 25 February to 13 March 2010, including Roger Daltrey as opening act. His third European tour with Steve Winwood began on 18 May and ended 13 June, including Tom Norris as opening act. He then began a short North American tour lasting from 26 June to 3 July, starting with his third Crossroads Guitar Festival on 26 June at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois. Clapton released a new studio album, Clapton, on 27 September 2010 in the United Kingdom and 28 September 2010 in the United States. On 17 November 2010, Clapton performed as guest on the Prince’s Trust rock gala held at the Royal Albert Hall, supported by the house band for the evening, which included Jools Holland, Midge Ure and Mark King.
On 24 June 2011 Clapton was in concert with Pino Daniele in Cava de’ Tirreni stadium, Italy, with an audience of 15,000 people before performing a series of concerts in South America from 6 to 16 October 2011. He spent the November and December 2011 touring Japan with Steve Winwood, playing 13 shows in various cities throughout the country. On 24 February 2012 Clapton, Keith Richards, Gary Clark Jr., Derek Trucks, Doyle Bramhall II, Kim Wilson and other artists performed together in the Howlin’ For Hubert Tribute concert held at the Apollo Theater of NYC honoring blues guitarist Hubert Sumlin who died at age 80 in 4 December, 2011. On 29 November 2012, Clapton joined the Rolling Stones at London’s O2 Arena during the band’s second of five arena dates celebrating their 50th anniversary. He played guitar on Muddy Waters’ Champagne and Reefer. On 12 December 2012, Clapton performed The Concert for Sandy Relief at Madison Square Garden, broadcast live via television, radio, movie theaters and the Internet across six continents.
Clapton is scheduled to perform a series of concerts in the United States and Europe from 14 March to 19 June 2013 to celebrate his 50 years as a professional musician.
Clapton cites Freddie King, B.B. King, Albert King, Buddy Guy, and Hubert Sumlin as guitar playing influences. Clapton stated blues musician Robert Johnson to be his single most important influence. In 2004 Clapton released CDs and DVDs entitled Sessions for Robert Johnson, featuring Clapton covering Robert Johnson songs using electric and acoustic guitars.
Clapton co-authored with others the book Discovering Robert Johnson, in which Clapton said Johnson 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 has been referred to as one of the most important and influential guitarists of all time. Clapton is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist, and separately as a member of The Yardbirds and Cream. He ranked second in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” and fourth in Gibson’s Top 50 Guitarists of All Time.
Guitarists influenced by Clapton include Slash, Allen Collins, Richie Sambora, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Gary Moore, Duane Allman, Derek Trucks, Eddie Van Halen, Brian May, Tony Iommi, Lenny Kravitz, Orianthi, Vince Gill, Brad Paisley, Jonny Buckland, Joe Don Rooney, Alex Lifeson, Jonny Lang, John Mayer, Joe Satriani, Joe Bonamassa, Davy Knowles, Neal Schon, and Mark Knopfler.
Clapton on the There’s One In Every Crowd Tour, with “Blackie” on 15 August 1975
Clapton’s choice of electric guitars has been as notable as the man himself; alongside Hank Marvin,The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix, Clapton exerted a crucial and widespread influence in popularising particular models of electric guitar. With the Yardbirds, Clapton played a Fender Telecaster, aFender Jazzmaster, a double-cutaway Gretsch 6120, and a 1964 Cherry-Red Gibson ES-335. He became exclusively a Gibson player for a period beginning in mid-1965, when he purchased a used sunburst Gibson Les Paul guitar from a guitar store in London. Clapton commented on the slim profile of the neck, which would indicate it was a 1960 model.
Early during his stint in Cream, Clapton’s first Les Paul Standard was stolen. He continued to play Les Pauls exclusively with Cream (one bought from Andy Summers was almost identical to the stolen guitar) until 1967, when he acquired his most famous guitar in this period, a 1964 Gibson SG.Just before Cream’s first U.S. appearance in 1967, Clapton’s SG, Bruce’s Fender VI, and Baker’s drum head were all repainted in psychedelic designs created by the visual art collective known as The Fool. In 1968 Clapton bought a Gibson Firebird and started using the 1964 Cherry-Red Gibson ES-335 again. The aforementioned 1964 ES-335 had a storied career. Clapton used it at the last Cream show in November 1968 as well as with Blind Faith, played it sparingly for slide pieces in the 1970s, used it on “Hard Times” from Journeyman, the Hyde Park live concert of 1996, and the From the Cradlesessions and tour of 1994–95. It was sold for US$847,500 at a 2004 auction. Gibson produced a limited run of 250 “Crossroads 335” replicas. The 335 was only the second electric guitar Clapton bought.
In July 1968 Clapton gave George Harrison a 1957 ‘goldtop’ Gibson Les Paul that been refinished with a red colour. The following September, Clapton played the guitar on the Beatles’ studio recording of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. His SG found its way into the hands of George Harrison’s friend Jackie Lomax, who subsequently sold it to musician Todd Rundgren for US$500 in 1972. Rundgren restored the guitar and nicknamed it “Sunny”, after “Sunshine of Your Love”. He retained it until 2000, when he sold it at an auction for US$150,000. At the 1969 Blind Faith concert in Hyde Park, London Clapton played a Fender Custom Telecaster, which was fitted with “Brownie”‘s neck.
In late 1969 Clapton made the switch to the Fender Stratocaster. “I had a lot of influences when I took up the Strat. First there was Buddy Holly, and Buddy Guy. Hank Marvin was the first well known person over here in England who was using one, but that wasn’t really my kind of music. Steve Winwood had so much credibility, and when he started playing one, I thought, oh, if he can do it, I can do it.” The first—used during the recording of Eric Clapton—was “Brownie”, which in 1974 became the backup to the most famous of all Clapton’s guitars, “Blackie”. In November 1970 Eric bought six Fender Stratocasters from the Sho-bud guitar shop in Nashville, Tennessee while on tour with the Dominos. He gave one each to George Harrison, Steve Winwood, and Pete Townshend.
Clapton with Blackie, while on tour in the Netherlands, 1978
Clapton assembled the best components of the remaining three to create “Blackie”, which was his favourite stage guitar until its retirement in 1985. It was first played live 13 January 1973 at the Rainbow Concert. Clapton called the 1956/57 Strat a “mongrel”.On 24 June 2004, Clapton sold “Blackie” at Christie’s Auction House, New York, for US$959,500 to raise funds for his Crossroads Centre for drug and alcohol addictions. “Brownie” is now on display at the Experience Music Project. The Fender Custom Shop has since produced a limited run of 275 ‘Blackie’ replicas, correct in every detail right down to the ‘Duck Brothers’ flight case, and artificially aged using Fender’s ‘Relic’ process to simulate years of hard wear. One was presented to Eric upon the model’s release and was used for three numbers during a concert at the Royal Albert Hall on 17 May 2006.
In 1981 Clapton gave his signed Fender Lead II guitar to the Hard Rock Cafe to designate his favourite bar stool. Pete Townshend also donated his own Gibson Les Paul guitar, with a note attached: “Mine’s as good as his! Love, Pete.”
In 1988 Fender honoured Clapton with the introduction of his signature Eric Clapton Stratocaster. These were the first two artist models in the Stratocaster range. Since then, the artist series has grown to include models inspired by Clapton’s contemporaries such as Rory Gallagher, Mark Knopfler, Jeff Beck, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, and by those who have influenced him, such as Buddy Guy. Clapton uses Ernie Ball Slinky and Super Slinky strings, gauge .10 to.46. Clapton has been honoured with several signature-model 000-sized acoustic guitars made by the American firm of C.F. Martin & Company. The first, of these, introduced in 1995, was a limited edition 000-42EC Eric Clapton signature model with a production run of 461. As of December 2007, Martin had produced seven EC signature models. His 1939 000-42 Martin that he played on the Unplugged album sold for US$791,500 at auction. Clapton plays a custom 000-ECHF Martin these days.
In 1999, Clapton auctioned off some of his guitar collection to raise more than US$5 million for continuing support of the Crossroads Centre in Antigua, which he founded in 1997. The Crossroads Centre is a treatment base for addictive disorders such as drugs and alcohol. In 2004 Clapton organised and participated in the Crossroads Guitar Festival to benefit the Centre. A second guitar auction, including the “Cream” of Clapton’s collection – as well as guitars donated by famous friends – was held on 24 June 2004. His Lowden acoustic guitar sold for US$41,825. The revenue garnered by this auction at Christie’s was US$7,438,624.
In 2010 Eric Clapton announced that he would be auctioning off over 150 items at a New York auction in 2011. Proceeds will benefit his Crossroads Centre in Antigua. Items include Clapton’s guitar from the Cream reunion tour in 2005, speaker cabinets used in the early 1970s from his days with Derek and the Dominoes, and some guitars from Jeff Beck, J.J. Cale, and Joe Bonamassa. In March 2011 Clapton raised more than US$2.15 million when he auctioned off key items, including a 1984 Gibson hollow body guitar, a Gianni Versace suit from his 1990 concert at the Royal Albert Hall, and a replica of the famous Fender Stratocaster known as “Blackie”, which fetched more than $30,000. All proceeds from the auction were donated to Clapton’s Crossroads drug and rehabilitation centre in Antigua.
The “woman tone” is the informal term used by Clapton to refer to his distinctive mid- to late-1960s electric guitar sound, created using his Gibson SG solid body guitar (with Humbucker pick-ups) and a Marshall tube amplifier. It is an overdriven sound that is articulate yet thick. It is characterised by being quite distorted (or even achieved with a fuzz) but muted, in contrast to the bright and twangy distortion that most guitarists were using at the time. Many players have tried to duplicate it, usually without success, in part because Clapton’s playing technique had a lot to do with the tone.
Among the techniques used to replicate Clapton’s sound is a technique by which the amplifier’s volume is turned up to full, while the guitar’s tone knob is turned down to zero or one.
Perhaps the best example of the “woman tone” is Clapton’s famous riff and solo from Cream’s 1967 hit “Sunshine of Your Love”. Clapton has explained that he obtained the tone with his Gibson’s tone control rolled all the way down, switching to the neck pick-up (closest to the fretboard) and the volume all the way up, with his distortion turned all the way up. The treble, mids and bass controls on the amplifier were also maxed out. Some versions of the “woman tone” may also have involved strategic positioning of Clapton’s wah-wah pedal.
Other media appearances
Clapton frequently appears as a guest on the albums of other musicians. For example, he is credited on Dire Straits’s Brothers in Armsalbum, as he lent Mark Knopfler one of his guitars. He played lead guitar and synthesiser on The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking, Roger Waters’ debut solo album. Other media appearances include the Toots & the Maytals album True Love, where he played guitar on the track “Pressure Drop”. He played on Paul Brady’s 1985 album Back to the Centre on the track “Deep in your Heart”.He can also be heard at the beginning of Frank Zappa’s album, We’re Only in It for the Money, repeating the phrase, “Are you hung up?” over and over again. In 1985, Clapton appeared on the charity concert Live Aid in Philadelphia with Phil Collins, Tim Renwick, Chris Stainton, Jamie Oldaker, Marcy Levy, Shaun Murphy, and Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn. In 1988 he played with Dire Straits and Elton John at the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute at Wembley Stadium and the Prince’s Trust rock gala at the Royal Albert Hall. On 30 June 1990, Dire Straits, Clapton and Elton John made a guest appearance in the Nordoff-Robbins charity show held at Knebworth. In 1991 Clapton was featured on Richie Sambora’s album, Stranger In This Town, in a song dedicated to him, called “Mr. Bluesman”. He contributed guitar and vocals to “Runaway Train”, a duet with Elton John on the latter’s The One album the following year.
On 12 September 1996 Clapton played a party for Armani at New York City’s Lexington Armory with Greg Phillinganes, Nathan East and Steve Gadd. Sheryl Crow appeared on one number, performing “Tearing Us Apart”, a track from August, which was first performed by Tina Turner during the Prince’s Trust All-Star Rock show in 1986. It was Clapton’s sole US appearance that year, following the open-air concert held at Hyde Park. The concert was taped and the footage was released both on VHS video cassette and later, on DVD.
Clapton was featured in the movie version of Tommy, the first full length rock opera, written by The Who. The movie version gave Clapton a cameo appearance as The Preacher, performing Sonny Boy Williamson’s song, “Eyesight to the Blind”. He appeared in Blues Brothers 2000 as one of the Louisiana Gator Boys. In addition to being in the band, he had a small speaking role. Clapton has appeared in an advertisement for the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen. In March 2007 Clapton appeared in an advertisement for Real Network’s Rhapsody online music service. In 2010 Clapton started appearing as a spokesman for T-Mobile, advertising their MyTouch Fender cell phone.
Eric Clapton was compared to God’s image in the episode “Holy Crap!” of season two of That ’70s Show when characters Eric Formanand Steven Hyde are asked by their minister to draw a picture of God.
Political views and advocacy
Clapton is a supporter of the Countryside Alliance, and he has played in concerts to raise funds for the organisation and he publicly opposed the Labour Party’s ban on fox hunting. A spokesperson for Clapton said, “Eric supports the Countryside Alliance. He doesn’t hunt himself, but does enjoy rural pursuits such as fishing and shooting. He supports the Alliance’s pursuit to scrap the ban on the basis that he doesn’t agree with the state’s interference with people’s private pursuits.”
In 2008, he donated a song to Aid Still Required’s CD to assist with the restoration of the devastation done to Southeast Asia from the 2004 Tsunami.
Controversy over remarks on immigration
On 5 August 1976 Clapton provoked an uproar and lingering controversy when he spoke out against increasing immigration during a concert in Birmingham. Visibly intoxicated, Clapton voiced his support of controversial political candidate Enoch Powell, and announced on stage that Britain was in danger of becoming a “black colony”. Clapton was quoted as saying, “I think Enoch’s right … we should send them all back. Throw the wogs out! Keep Britain white!” The latter phrase was at the time a British National Front slogan. Clapton continued:
“I used to be into dope, now I’m into racism. It’s much heavier, man. Fucking wogs, man. Fucking Saudis taking over London. Bastard wogs. Britain is becoming overcrowded and Enoch will stop it and send them all back. The black wogs and coons and Arabs and fucking Jamaicans and fucking [indecipherable] don’t belong here, we don’t want them here. This is England, this is a white country, we don’t want any black wogs and coons living here. We need to make clear to them they are not welcome.
England is for white people, man. We are a white country. I don’t want fucking wogs living next to me with their standards. This is Great Britain, a white country, what is happening to us, for fuck’s sake? We need to vote for Enoch Powell, he’s a great man, speaking truth. Vote for Enoch, he’s our man, he’s on our side, he’ll look after us. I want all of you here to vote for Enoch, support him, he’s on our side. Enoch for Prime Minister! Throw the wogs out! Keep Britain white!”
This incident, along with some explicitly pro-fascism remarks made around the same time by David Bowie as well as uses of Nazi-related imagery by Sid Vicious and Siouxsie Sioux, were the main catalysts for the creation of Rock Against Racism, which occurred on 30 April1978.
In response to the comments, rock photographer Red Saunders and others published an open letter in NME, Melody Maker, Sounds, and the Socialist Worker. It read “Come on Eric… Own up. Half your music is black. You’re rock music’s biggest colonist”. It concluded, “P.S. Who shot the Sheriff, Eric? It sure as hell wasn’t you!”
In an interview from October 1976 with Sounds magazine, Clapton remarked, “I thought it was quite funny actually. I don’t know much about politics. I don’t even know if it would be good or bad for him to get in. I don’t even know who the Prime Minister is now. I just don’t know what came over me that night. It must have been something that happened in the day but it came out in this garbled thing… I thought the whole thing was like Monty Python. There’s this rock group playing on-stage and the singer starts talking about politics. It’s so stupid. Those people who paid their money sittin’ listening to this madman dribbling on and the band meanwhile getting fidgety thinking ‘oh dear’.”
In a 2004 interview with Uncut, Clapton referred to Powell as “outrageously brave”, and stated that his “feeling about this has not changed”, because the UK is still “… inviting people in as cheap labour and then putting them in ghettos.” In 2004 Clapton told an interviewer for Scotland on Sunday, “There’s no way I could be a racist. It would make no sense”. In his 2007 autobiography, Clapton called himself “deliberately oblivious to it all” and wrote, “I had never really understood or been directly affected by racial conflict … when I listened to music, I was disinterested in where the players came from or what colour their skin was. Interesting, then, that 10 years later, I would be labelled a racist … Since then, I have learnt to keep my opinions to myself. Of course, it might also have had something to do with the fact that Pattie had just been leered at by a member of the Saudi royal family.” In a December 2007 interview with Melvyn Bragg on The South Bank Show, Clapton reiterated his support for Enoch Powell and again denied that Powell’s views were “racist”.
Wealth and assets
In 2009 Surrey Life Magazine ranked Eric Clapton as number 17 in their list of richest Surrey residents, estimating Clapton’s fortune at £120 million in assets. This was a compilation of property and income which include a £9 million yacht, “Va Bene” (previously owned by Bernie Ecclestone), his back music catalogue, his touring income, and his Marshbrook holding company, which had earned him £110 million since 1989. In 2003, he purchased a 50 percent share of gentleman’s outfitters Cordings Piccadilly. At the time, owner Noll Uloth was trying to save the shop from closure and thought ‘I will go and talk to my best client”. He is reported to have contacted Clapton and within five minutes he had a reply saying ‘I can’t let this happen.” In 2012, Clapton purchased the custom made Ferrari SP12 EC. It is a car based on the Ferrari 458 Italia with the styling of a Ferrari BB (Clapton’s favorite car). It also has the headlights of the legendary Ferrari Enzo.
Awards and honours
Year Award / Recognition
1983 Presented the Silver Clef Award from Princess Michael of Kent for outstanding contribution to British music.
1985 Presented with BAFTA for Best Original Television Music for Score of Edge of Darkness with Michael Kamen.
1993 “Tears In Heaven” won three Grammy awards for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Male Pop Vocal Performance. Clapton also won Album of the Year and Best Rock Vocal Performance for Unplugged and Best Rock Song for “Layla”.
1994 Awarded the OBE for services to music.
2000 Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the third time, this time as a solo artist. He was earlier inducted as a member of the bands Cream and The Yardbirds.
2004 Promoted to CBE, receiving the award from the Princess Royal at Buckingham Palace as part of the New Year’s Honours list.
2006 Awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award as a member of Cream
In 1982 he performed a concert before West Bromwich Albion player John Wile’s testimonial game at The Hawthorns, and it is often reported by various sources that Clapton is an Albion supporter. Credence for this notion can be taken from the cover pictures to the “Backless” solo album, where he is seen on the front cover to be wearing a football scarf; the rear cover photograph reveals the slogan “ALBION” on the scarf. It has been reported that the club rejected his offer to invest cash in the club around this time, and that he has since expressed more of an interest in Chelsea.
Clapton’s music in film and TV
• Mean Streets (1973) – “I Looked Away”
• Private Lessons (1981 film) (1981) – Next Time You See Her
• Purple Haze (1983) – “I Feel Free”
• The Hit (1984) – Score
• Miami Vice (1984–1989) – Four songs over the course of the show’s five seasons: “Wonderful Tonight”, “Knock On Wood”, “She’s Waiting”, and “Layla”
• Back to the Future (1985) – “Heaven Is One Step Away”
• Edge of Darkness (1985) – Soundtrack
• The Color of Money (1986) – “It’s In The Way That You Use It”
• SpaceCamp (1986 film) – “Forever Man” plays when Tate Donovan’s character arrives at the Space Camp
• The German car manufacturer Opel and Vauxhall in the UK used the guitar riff of Clapton’s “Layla” in its advertising campaign throughout in 1987–95.
• Lethal Weapon (1987) – Soundtrack with Michael Kamen.
• 1969 (film) (1988) – “White Room”.
• Lethal Weapon 2 (1989) – “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door”
• Communion (1989) – Clapton wrote the score
• Goodfellas (1990) – “Layla” and “Sunshine of Your Love”
• Rush (1991) – Clapton wrote the score
• Wayne’s World (1992) – “Loving your Loving”
• Peter’s Friends (1992) – “Give Me Strength”
• Lethal Weapon 3 (1992) – Clapton contributed to the score and co-wrote and co-performed the song “It’s Probably Me” with Sting and “Runaway Train” with Elton John.
• True Lies (1994) – “Sunshine of Your Love”
• The Simpsons episode “Mother Simpson” (1995) – “Sunshine of Your Love”
• Twister (1996) – “Motherless Child”
• Phenomenon (1996) – “Change the World”
• The Van (1996) – Soundtrack
• Happy Gilmore (1996) – “Wonderful Tonight”
• Nil By Mouth (1997) – Clapton wrote the score
• Patch Adams (1998) – “Let It Rain”
• Lethal Weapon 4 (1998) – “Pilgrim”
• City of Angels (1998) – “Further On Up The Road”
• Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes “Band Candy” and “Forever” (1998) – “Tales of Brave Ulysses”
• Runaway Bride (1999) – “Blue Eyes Blue”
• The Story of Us (1999) – “(I) Get Lost” (featured multiple times)
• Friends episode “The One with the Proposal, Part 2” (2000) – “Wonderful Tonight”
• Dancing At The Blue Iguana (2000) – “River of Tears”
• A Knight’s Tale (2001) – “Further On Up The Road”
• Blow (2001) – “Strange Brew”
• Friends episode “The One Where Rachel Has a Baby, Part Two” (2002) – “River of Tears”
• Futurama episode “The 30% Iron Chef” (2002) – “Sunshine of Your Love”
• The Sopranos episode “Whitecaps” (2002) – Tony Soprano is seen listening to “Layla” in his Suburban.
• School of Rock (2003) – “Sunshine of Your Love”
• Starsky & Hutch (2004) – “Cocaine”
• Anger Management (2004) – “Strange Brew”
• Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) – “Cocaine”
• Bad News Bears (2005) – “Cocaine”
• Lords of Dogtown (2005) – “Strange Brew”
• Lord of War (2005) – “Cocaine”
• United States of Tara episode – “Cocaine”
• Community episode – “Layla”
• The Good Guys Episode Silvio’s Way – “Layla”
• Due Date (2010) – “White Room”
• Shameless (U.S. TV series) (2011) – “White Room”
• Men in Black III (2012) – “Strange Brew”
with The Yardbirds (1963–1965)
1963 London 1963: The First Recordings!
1964 Five Live Yardbirds (live)
1965 For Your Love (studio)
Having a Rave Up (compilation)
Sonny Boy Williamson and The Yardbirds (live)
2003 Blueswailing July ’64 (Live) (live)
with Jimmy Page and the Immediate All-Stars (1965)
1968 Blues Anytime Vol. 1 (compilation)
Blues Anytime Vol. 2 (compilation)
Blues Anytime Vol. 3 (compilation)
1971 Guitar Boogie (compilation)
2000 Hip Young Guitar Slinger (compilation)
2006 Blues Anytime I: An Anthology of British Blues(compilation)
Blues Anytime II: An Anthology of British Blues(compilation)
with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers (1965–1966)
1966 Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton (studio)
with Powerhouse (1966)
1966 What’s Shakin’ (compilation)
with Cream (1966–1968, reunion 2005)
1966 Fresh Cream (studio)
1967 Disraeli Gears (studio)
1968 Wheels of Fire (studio)
1969 Goodbye (studio)
Best of Cream (compilation)
1970 Live Cream (live)
1972 Live Cream Volume II (live)
Heavy Cream (compilation)
1983 Strange Brew (compilation)
1995 The Very Best of Cream (compilation)
1997 Those Were the Days (box set)
2000 20th Century Masters (compilation)
2003 BBC Sessions (compilation)
2005 Cream Gold (compilation)
I Feel Free Ultimate Cream (compilation)
Royal Albert Hall London May 2-3-5-6, 2005 (live)
2011 Icon (compilation)
with Blind Faith (1968–1969)
1969 Blind Faith (studio)
with John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band (1969)
1969 Live Peace in Toronto 1969 (live)
with Delaney & Bonnie & Friends (1969–1970)
1970 On Tour with Eric Clapton (live)
with Vivian Stanshall and the Sean Head Showband (1970)
1974 The History of the Bonzos (compilation)
1992 Cornology (compilation)
2000 New Tricks (compilation)
with Derek and the Dominos (1970–1971, new released 2011)
1970 Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (studio)
1973 In Concert (live)
1990 The Layla Sessions: 20th Anniversary Edition (box set)
1994 Live at the Fillmore (live)
Solo studio albums
• Eric Clapton (1970)
• 461 Ocean Boulevard (1974)
• There’s One in Every Crowd (1975)
• No Reason to Cry (1976)
• Slowhand (1977)
• Backless (1978)
• Another Ticket (1981)
• Money and Cigarettes (1983)
• Behind the Sun (1985)
• August (1986)
• Journeyman (1989)
• From the Cradle (1994)
• Pilgrim (1998)
• Riding with the King (with B.B. King) (2000)
• Reptile (2001)
• Me and Mr. Johnson (2004)
• Sessions for Robert J (2004)
• Back Home (2005)
• The Road to Escondido (with JJ Cale) (2006)
• Clapton (2010)
Jeremy Bentham 15 February 1748 OS – 6 June 1832) was a British philosopher, jurist and social reformer. He is regarded as the founder of modern utilitarianism.
Bentham became a leading theorist in Anglo-American philosophy of law, and a political radical whose ideas influenced the development of welfarism. He advocated individual and economic freedom, the separation of church and state, freedom of expression, equal rights for women, the right to divorce, and the decriminalising of homosexual acts. He called for the abolition of slavery and the death penalty, and for the abolition of physical punishment, including that of children. Though strongly in favour of the extension of individual legal rights, he opposed the idea of natural law and natural rights, calling them “nonsense upon stilts”.
Bentham’s students included his secretary and collaborator James Mill, the latter’s son, John Stuart Mill, the legal philosopher John Austin, as well as influential political figures such asRobert Owen, one of the founders of modern socialism. Bentham has been described as the “spiritual founder” of University College London, though he played little direct part in its foundation. In recent years he has become known as an early advocate of animal rights.
Bentham was born in Houndsditch, London, into a wealthy family that supported the Tory party. He was reportedly a child prodigy: he was found as a toddler sitting at his father’s desk reading a multi-volume history of England, and he began to study Latin at the age of three. He had one surviving sibling, Samuel Bentham, with whom he shared a close bond.
Portrait of Bentham by the studio of Thomas Frye, 1760–1762
He attended Westminster School and, in 1760, at age 12, was sent by his father to The Queen’s College, Oxford, where he completed his Bachelor’s degree in 1763 and his Master’s degree in 1766. He trained as a lawyer and, though he never practised, was called to the bar in 1769. He became deeply frustrated with the complexity of the English legal code, which he termed the “Demon of Chicane”.
When the American colonies published their Declaration of Independence in July 1776, the British government did not issue any official response but instead secretly commissioned London lawyer and pamphleteer John Lind to publish a rebuttal. His 130-page tract was distributed in the colonies and contained an essay titled “Short Review of the Declaration” authored by Bentham, a friend of Lind’s, which attacked and mocked the Americans’ political philosophy.
Among his many proposals for legal and social reform was a design for a prison building he called the Panopticon. He spent some sixteen years of his life developing and refining his ideas for the building, and hoped that the government would adopt the plan for a National Penitentiary, and appoint him as contractor-governor. Although the prison was never built, the concept had an important influence on later generations of thinkers. Twentieth-century French philosopher Michel Foucault argued that the Panopticon was paradigmatic of several 19th-century “disciplinary” institutions.
Bentham became convinced that his plans for the Panopticon had been thwarted by the King and an aristocratic elite acting in their own interests. It was largely because of his brooding sense of injustice that he developed his ideas of “sinister interest” – that is, of the vested interests of the powerful conspiring against a wider public interest – which underpinned many of his broader arguments for reform.
More successful was his cooperation with Patrick Colquhoun in tackling the corruption in the pool of London which led to the Thames Police Bill of 1798 which was eventually passed in 1800, leading to the formation of the Thames River Police, which was the first preventive police force in the country and was a precedent for Robert Peel’s reforms 30 years later.
Bentham was in correspondence with many influential people. Adam Smith, for example, opposed free interest rates before he was made aware of Bentham’s arguments on the subject. As a result of his correspondence with Mirabeau and other leaders of the French Revolution, he was declared an honorary citizen of France. Bentham was an outspoken critic of the revolutionary discourse ofnatural rights and of the violence that arose after the Jacobins took power (1792). Between 1808 and 1810, he held a personal friendship with Latin American Independence Precursor Francisco de Miranda and paid visits to Miranda’s Grafton Way house in London.
In 1823, he co-founded the Westminster Review with James Mill as a journal for the “Philosophical Radicals” – a group of younger disciples through whom Bentham exerted considerable influence in British public life. One such young writer was Edwin Chadwick, who wrote on hygiene, sanitation and policing and was a major contributor to the Poor Law Amendment Act. Bentham employed him as a secretary and bequeathed him a large legacy.
An insight into his character is given in Michael St. John Packe’s The Life of John Stuart Mill:
During his youthful visits to Bowood House, the country seat of his patron Lord Lansdowne, he had passed his time at falling unsuccessfully in love with all the ladies of the house, whom he courted with a clumsy jocularity, while playing chess with them or giving them lessons on the harpsichord. Hopeful to the last, at the age of eighty he wrote again to one of them, recalling to her memory the far-off days when she had “presented him, in ceremony, with the flower in the green lane” [citing Bentham’s memoirs]. To the end of his life he could not hear of Bowood without tears swimming in his eyes, and he was forced to exclaim, “Take me forward, I entreat you, to the future – do not let me go back to the past.”
A psychobiographical study by Philip Lucas and Anne Sheeran, which takes into account Bentham’s eccentricities, egocentricity, obsessive and narrow preoccupations, and apparently diminished imaginative and emotional capacity, concludes that he may have had Asperger’s syndrome.
Bentham’s ambition in life was to create a “Pannomion”, a complete utilitarian code of law. He not only proposed many legal and social reforms, but also expounded an underlying moral principle on which they should be based. This philosophy of utilitarianism took for its “fundamental axiom, it is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong”. Bentham claimed to have borrowed this concept from the writings of Joseph Priestley, although the closest that Priestley in fact came to expressing it was in the form “the good and happiness of the members, that is the majority of the members of any state, is the great standard by which every thing relating to that state must finally be determined”.
The “greatest happiness principle”, or the principle of utility, forms the cornerstone of all Bentham’s thought. By “happiness”, he understood a predominance of “pleasure” over “pain”. He wrote in The Principles of Morals and Legislation:
Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do. On the one hand the standard of right and wrong, on the other the chain of causes and effects, are fastened to their throne. They govern us in all we do, in all we say, in all we think .
He also suggested a procedure for estimating the moral status of any action, which he called the Hedonistic or felicific calculus. Utilitarianism was revised and expanded by Bentham’s student John Stuart Mill. In Mill’s hands, “Benthamism” became a major element in the liberal conception of state policy objectives.
In his exposition of the felicific calculus, Bentham proposed a classification of 12 pains and 14 pleasures, by which we might test the ‘happiness factor’ of any action. Nonetheless, it should not be overlooked that Bentham’s ‘hedonistic’ theory (a term from J.J.C. Smart), unlike Mill’s, is often criticized for lacking a principle of fairness embodied in a conception of justice. In “Bentham and the Common Law Tradition”, Gerald J. Postema states, “No moral concept suffers more at Bentham’s hand than the concept of justice. There is no sustained, mature analysis of the notion …” Thus, some critics object, it would be acceptable to torture one person if this would produce an amount of happiness in other people outweighing the unhappiness of the tortured individual. However, as P.J. Kelly argued in his book, Utilitarianism and Distributive Justice: Jeremy Bentham and the Civil Law, Bentham had a theory of justice that prevented such consequences. According to Kelly, for Bentham the law “provides the basic framework of social interaction by delimiting spheres of personal inviolability within which individuals can form and pursue their own conceptions of well-being.” It provides security, a precondition for the formation of expectations. As the hedonic calculus shows “expectation utilities” to be much higher than natural ones, it follows that Bentham does not favour the sacrifice of a few to the benefit of the many.
Bentham’s Principles of Legislation focuses on the principle of utility and how this view of morality ties into legislative practices. His principle of utility regards “good” as that which produces the greatest amount of pleasure and the minimum amount of pain and “evil” as that which produces the most pain without the pleasure. This concept of pleasure and pain is defined by Bentham as physical as well as spiritual. Bentham writes about this principle as it manifests itself within the legislation of a society. He lays down a set of criteria for measuring the extent of pain or pleasure that a certain decision will create.
The criteria are divided into the categories of intensity, duration, certainty, proximity, productiveness, purity, and extent. Using these measurements, he reviews the concept of punishment and when it should be used as far as whether a punishment will create more pleasure or more pain for a society. He calls for legislators to determine whether punishment creates an even more evil offence. Instead of suppressing the evil acts, Bentham is arguing that certain unnecessary laws and punishments could ultimately lead to new and more dangerous vices than those being punished to begin with. Bentham follows these statements with explanations on how antiquity, religion, reproach of innovation, metaphor, fiction, fancy, antipathy and sympathy, begging the question, and imaginary law are not justification for the creation of legislature. Instead, Bentham is calling upon legislators to measure the pleasures and pains associated with any legislation and to form laws in order to create the greatest good for the greatest number. He argues that the concept of the individual pursuing his or her own happiness cannot be necessarily declared “right”, because often these individual pursuits can lead to greater pain and less pleasure for the society as a whole. Therefore, the legislation of a society is vital to maintaining a society with optimum pleasure and the minimum degree of pain for the greatest amount of people.
Bentham’s opinions about monetary economics were completely different from those of David Ricardo; however, they had some similarities to those of Thornton. He focused on monetary expansion as a means of helping to create full employment. He was also aware of the relevance of forced saving, propensity to consume, the saving-investment relationship, and other matters that form the content of modern income and employment analysis. His monetary view was close to the fundamental concepts employed in his model of utilitarian decision making. His work is widely regarded to be at the forefront of modern welfare economics.
Bentham stated that pleasures and pains can be ranked according to their value or “dimension” such as intensity, duration, certainty of a pleasure or a pain. He was concerned with maxima and minima of pleasures and pains; and they set a precedent for the future employment of the maximisation principle in the economics of the consumer, the firm and the search for an optimum in welfare economics.
Bentham is widely regarded as one of the earliest proponents of animal rights, and has even been hailed as “the first patron saint of animal rights”. He argued that the ability to suffer, not the ability to reason, should be the benchmark, or what he called the “insuperable line”. If reason alone were the criterion by which we judge who ought to have rights, human infants and adults with certain forms of disability might fall short, too.
In 1789, alluding to the limited degree of legal protection afforded to slaves in the French West Indies by the Code Noir, he wrote:
The day has been, I am sad to say in many places it is not yet past, in which the greater part of the species, under the denomination of slaves, have been treated by the law exactly upon the same footing, as, in England for example, the inferior races of animals are still. The day may come when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been witholden from them but by the hand of tyranny. The French have already discovered that the blackness of the skin is no reason a human being should be abandoned without redress to the caprice of a tormentor. It may one day come to be recognised that the number of the legs, thevillosity of the skin, or the termination of the os sacrum are reasons equally insufficient for abandoning a sensitive being to the same fate. What else is it that should trace the insuperable line? Is it the faculty of reason or perhaps the faculty of discourse? But a full-grown horse or dog, is beyond comparison a more rational, as well as a more conversable animal, than an infant of a day or a week or even a month, old. But suppose the case were otherwise, what would it avail? The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?
Earlier in that paragraph, Bentham makes clear that he accepted that animals could be killed for food, or in defence of human life, provided that the animal was not made to suffer unnecessarily. Nor did Bentham object to medical experiments on animals, providing that the experiments had in mind a particular goal of benefit to humanity and had a reasonable chance of achieving that goal. He wrote that otherwise he had a “decided and insuperable objection” to causing pain to animals, in part because of the harmful effects such practices might have on human beings. In a letter to the editor of the Morning Chronicle in March 1825, he wrote:
I never have seen, nor ever can see, any objection to the putting of dogs and other inferior animals to pain, in the way of medical experiment, when that experiment has a determinate object, beneficial to mankind, accompanied with a fair prospect of the accomplishment of it. But I have a decided and insuperable objection to the putting of them to pain without any such view. To my apprehension, every act by which, without prospect of preponderant good, pain is knowingly and willingly produced in any being whatsoever, is an act of cruelty; and, like other bad habits, the more the correspondent habit is indulged in, the stronger it grows, and the more frequently productive of its bad fruit. I am unable to comprehend how it should be, that to him to whom it is a matter of amusement to see a dog or a horse suffer, it should not be matter of like amusement to see a man suffer; seeing, as I do, how much more morality as well as intelligence, an adult quadruped of those and many other species has in him, than any biped has for some months after he has been brought into existence; nor does it appear to me how it should be, that a person to whom the production of pain, either in the one or in the other instance, is a source of amusement, would scruple to give himself that amusement when he could do so under an assurance of impunity.
Gender and sexuality
Bentham said that it was the placing of women in a legally inferior position that made him choose, at the age of eleven, the career of a reformist. Bentham spoke for a complete equality between sexes.
The essay Offences Against One’s Self, argued for the liberalisation of laws prohibiting homosexual sex. The essay remained unpublished during his lifetime for fear of offending public morality. It was published for the first time in 1931. While Bentham clearly is not condoning homosexual activities, he does not believe them to be unnatural, describing them as “irregularities of the venereal appetite.” The essay chastises the society of the time for making a disproportionate response to what Bentham appears to consider a largely private offence – public displays or forced acts being dealt with rightly by other laws.
Bentham and University College London
Bentham is widely associated with the foundation in 1826 of the University of London (the institution which in 1836 became University College London), though he was 78 years old when the University opened and played only an indirect role in its establishment. His direct involvement was limited to his buying a single £100 share in the new University, making him just one of over a thousand shareholders.
The Flaxman Gallery at University College London, showing Henry Tonks’s imaginary scene of Bentham approving the plans of the university buildings.
Bentham and his ideas can nonetheless be seen as having inspired several of the actual founders of the University. He strongly believed that education should be more widely available, particularly to those who were not wealthy or who did not belong to the established church, both of which were required of students by Oxford and Cambridge. As the University of London was the first in England to admit all, regardless of race, creed or political belief, it was largely consistent with Bentham’s vision. There is some evidence that, from the sidelines, he played a “more than passive part” in the planning discussions for the new institution, although it is also apparent that “his interest was greater than his influence”. He failed in his efforts to see his discipleJohn Bowring appointed professor of English or History, but he did oversee the appointment of another pupil, John Austin, as the first professor of Jurisprudence in 1829.
The more direct associations between Bentham and UCL – the College’s custody of his Auto-icon (see below) and of the majority of his surviving papers – postdate his death by some years: the papers were donated in 1849, and the Auto-icon in 1850. A large painting by Henry Tonks hanging in UCL’s Flaxman Gallery depicts Bentham approving the plans of the new university, but it was executed in 1922 and the scene is entirely imaginary. Since 1959 (when the Bentham Committee was first established) UCL has hosted the Bentham Project, which is progressively publishing a definitive edition of Bentham’s writings.
UCL now endeavours to acknowledge Bentham’s influence on its foundation, while avoiding any suggestion of direct involvement, by describing him as its “spiritual founder”.
As requested in his will, Bentham’s body was dissected as part of a public anatomy lecture. Afterward, the skeleton and head were preserved and stored in a wooden cabinet called the “Auto-icon”, with the skeleton padded out with hay and dressed in Bentham’s clothes. Originally kept by his disciple Thomas Southwood Smith, it was acquired by University College London in 1850. It is normally kept on public display at the end of the South Cloisters in the main building of the college, but for the 100th and 150th anniversaries of the college, it was brought to the meeting of the College Council, where it was listed as “present but not voting”.
Bentham had intended the Auto-icon to incorporate his actual head, mummified to resemble its appearance in life. However, Southwood Smith’s experimental efforts at mummification, although technically successful, left the head looking distastefully macabre, with dried and darkened skin stretched tautly over the skull. The Auto-icon was therefore given a wax head, fitted with some of Bentham’s own hair. The real head was displayed in the same case as the Auto-icon for many years, but became the target of repeated student pranks. It is now locked away securely.
A 360-degree rotatable, high-resolution ‘Virtual Auto-Icon’ is available at the UCL Bentham Project’s website.
Jeremy Bentham House in Bethnal Green,East London; a modernist apartment block named after the famous philosopher.
Bentham was an obsessive writer and reviser, but was constitutionally incapable, except on rare occasions, of bringing his work to completion and publication. Most of what appeared in print in his lifetime (see this list of published works) was prepared for publication by others. Several of his works first appeared in French translation, prepared for the press by Étienne Dumont. Some made their first appearance in English in the 1820s as a result of back-translation from Dumont’s 1802 collection (and redaction) of Bentham’s writing on civil and penal legislation.
Works published in Bentham’s lifetime include:
• “Short Review of the Declaration” (1776). An attack on America’s Declaration of Independence.
• Fragment on Government (1776). This was an unsparing criticism of some introductory passages relating to political theory in William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England. The book, published anonymously, was well received and credited to some of the greatest minds of the time. Bentham disagreed with Blackstone’s defence of judge-made law, his defence of legal fictions, his theological formulation of the doctrine of mixed government, his appeal to a social contract and his use of the vocabulary of natural law. Bentham’s “Fragment” was only a small part of a “Commentary on the Commentaries”, which remained unpublished until the twentieth century.
• Introduction to Principles of Morals and Legislation (printed for publication 1780, published 1789).
• Defence of Usury (1787). Jeremy Bentham wrote a series of thirteen “Letters” addressed to Adam Smith, published in 1787 as Defence of Usury. Bentham’s main argument against the restriction is that “projectors” generate positive externalities. G.K. Chesterton identified Bentham’s essay on usury as the very beginning of the ‘modern world.’ Bentham’s arguments were very influential. “Writers of eminence” moved to abolish the restriction, and repeal was achieved in stages and fully achieved in England in 1854. There is little evidence as to Smith’s reaction. He did not revise the offending passages in The Wealth of Nations, but Smith made little or no substantial revisions after the third edition of 1784.
• Panopticon (1787, 1791).
• Essay on Political Tactics (1791)
• Emancipate your Colonies (1793)
• Traité de Législation Civile et Penale (1802, edited by Étienne Dumont. 3 vols)
• Punishments and Rewards (1811)
• A Table of the Springs of Action (1815)
• Parliamentary Reform Catechism (1817)
• Church-of-Englandism (printed 1817, published 1818)
• Elements of the Art of Packing (1821)
• The Influence of Natural Religion upon the Temporal Happiness of Mankind (1822, written with George Grote and published under the pseudonym Philip Beauchamp)
• Not Paul But Jesus (1823, published under the pseudonym Gamaliel Smith)
• Book of Fallacies (1824)
• A Treatise on Judicial Evidence (1825)
• Rationale of Judicial Evidence (1827)
On his death, Bentham left manuscripts amounting to an estimated 30,000,000 words, which are now largely held by UCL’s Special Collections (c.60,000 manuscript folios), and the British Library (c.15,000 folios). John Bowring, a British politician who had been Bentham’s trusted friend, was appointed his literary executor and charged with the task of preparing a collected edition of his works. This appeared in 11 volumes in 1838–1843: Bowring based his edition on previously published editions (including those of Dumont) rather than Bentham’s own manuscripts, and he did not reprint Bentham’s works on religion at all. Bowring’s work has been criticised, although it includes such interesting writings on international relations as Bentham’s A Plan for an Universal and Perpetual Peace written 1786–89, which forms part IV of the Principles of International Law.
In 1952–54, Werner Stark published a three-volume set, Jeremy Bentham’s Economic Writings, in which he attempted to bring together all of Bentham’s writings on economic matters, including both published and unpublished material. Although a significant achievement, the work is considered by scholars to be flawed in many points of detail, and a new edition of the economic writings is currently in preparation by the Bentham Project.
In 1959, the Bentham Committee was established under the auspices of University College London with the aim of producing a definitive edition of Bentham’s writings. It set up the Bentham Project to undertake the task, and the first volume in The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham was published in 1968. To date, 30 volumes have appeared; the complete edition is projected to run to around seventy. The Project is currently attempting to digitise the Bentham papers and crowdsource their transcription: see below.
Transcribe Bentham is an award-winning crowdsourced manuscript transcription project, run by University College London’s Bentham Project, in partnership with UCL’s UCL Centre for Digital Humanities, UCL Library Services, UCL Learning and Media Services, the University of London Computer Centre, and the online community. The project was launched in September 2010 and is making freely available, via a specially designed transcription interface, digital images of UCL’s vast Bentham Papers collection – which runs to some 60,000 manuscript folios – in order to engage the public and recruit volunteers to assist in transcribing the material. Volunteer-produced transcripts will contribute to the Bentham Project’s production of the new edition of The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham, and will be uploaded to UCL’s digital Bentham Papers repository, widening access to the collection for all and ensuring its long-term preservation. Manuscripts can be viewed and transcribed by signing-up for a transcriber account at the Transcription Desk, via the Transcribe Bentham website.
Transcribe Bentham has garnered international attention – such as in a feature article in The New York Times, and a radio broadcast on Deutsche Welle World radio. The project was shortlisted for the 2011 Digital Heritage Award, and received an Award of Distinction in the Digital Communities category of the 2011 Prix Ars Electronica. In November 2012, Transcribe Bentham came second in the Knetworks ‘Platforms for Networked Innovation Competition’, which sought to identify the ‘most innovative web-based platform enabling regional innovation for public, private or research organizations’.
The open-source code for the Transcribe Bentham transcription tool is available for reuse and customisation.