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Eric Clapton Forging Ahead Despite Impending Deafness



Eric Clapton

One of the greatest aspects of rock n’ roll is the rebellious spirit many have attached to it. Defying the rules, choosing your own path, and living a life against the grain are hallmarks for those who march to the beat of rock music.

Since the 1960s, Eric Clapton has been a guitar-toting rock pioneer, redefining what should, could and can be done with the instrument. With credits including time spent in The Yardbirds, Cream, Derek and the Dominos, and as a decorated solo artist, Clapton has gone on to be widely regarded as one of the greatest guitarists to ever live.

Eric Clapton

In March, Clapton will turn 73. Unfortunately, however, Clapton is wrestling with a number of serious health concerns that threaten his ability to do what he does best. Despite this, the man behind “Layla,” “Wonderful Tonight,” and “Tears in Heaven,” plans to forge ahead. Fitting, you would think, for such a rock n’ roller.

“The only thing I’m concerned with now is being in my seventies and being able to be proficient,” said Clapton in an interview with BBC 2. “I mean, I’m going deaf, I’ve got tinnitus, my hands just about work. I’m hoping that people will come along and see me just because, or maybe more than because I’m a curiosity. I know that is part of it, because it’s amazing to myself I’m still here.”


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Clapton, who was speaking with BBC 2 to promote the documentary “Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars,” previously explained to Rolling Stone that his health has made making music a more challenging endeavor.

“I had eczema from head to foot,” recalled Clapton when asked about his health during the making of 2016’s ‘I Still Do.’” “ The palms of my hand were coming off, and I had just started making this record with [producer] Glyn Johns. It was a catastrophe. I had to wear mittens with Band-Aids around the hands and played a lot of slide [guitar] as a result. My hands are good [now]. It hasn’t gone completely, but I put ointment on. It’s just getting old now. I’m as good now as I’ve been in the last two years.”

Eric Clapton

“That would be alright,” continued Clapton on how he’d feel about health or age stopping him from playing guitar. “I would accept it, because playing is difficult anyway. I have to get on the bottom of the ladder every time I play guitar, just to tune it. Then I have to go through the whole threshold of getting calluses [on the fingers] back, coordination.”

Thus far, Clapton’s lone tour date of 2018 is scheduled for July 8 at Hyde Park in London, England.

-Adam Grant

Eric Clapton

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