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Extended Audio Sample Clapton: The Autobiography Audiobook, by Eric Clapton Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.45 out of 53.45 out of 53.45 out of 53.45 out of 53.45 out of 5 3.45 (38 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Eric Clapton Narrator: Bill Nighy Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2007 ISBN: 9780739334348
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“I found a pattern in my behavior that had been repeating itself for years, decades even. Bad choices were my specialty, and if something honest and decent came along, I would shun it or run the other way.”

With striking intimacy and candor, Eric Clapton tells the story of his eventful and inspiring life in this poignant and honest autobiography. More than a rock star, he is an icon, a living embodiment of the history of rock music. Well known for his reserve in a profession marked by self-promotion, flamboyance, and spin, he now chronicles, for the first time, his remarkable personal and professional journeys. 

Born illegitimate in 1945 and raised by his grandparents, Eric never knew his father and, until the age of nine, believed his actual mother to be his sister. In his early teens his solace was the guitar, and his incredible talent would make him a cult hero in the clubs of Britain and inspire devoted fans to scrawl “Clapton is God” on the walls of London’s Underground. With the formation of Cream, the world's first supergroup, he became a worldwide superstar, but conflicting personalities tore the band apart within two years. His stints in Blind Faith, in Delaney and Bonnie and Friends, and in Derek and the Dominos were also short-lived but yielded some of the most enduring songs in history, including the classic “Layla.” 

During the late sixties he played as a guest with Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan, as well as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and longtime friend George Harrison. It was while working with the latter that he fell for George’s wife, Pattie Boyd, a seemingly unrequited love that led him to the depths of despair, self-imposed seclusion, and drug addiction. By the early seventies he had overcome his addiction and released the bestselling album 461 Ocean Boulevard, with its massive hit “I Shot the Sheriff.” He followed that with the platinum album Slowhand, which included “Wonderful Tonight,” the touching love song to Pattie, whom he finally married at the end of 1977. A short time later, however, Eric had replaced heroin with alcohol as his preferred vice, following a pattern of behavior that not only was detrimental to his music but contributed to the eventual breakup of his marriage. 
In the eighties he would battle and beat alcoholism and become a father. But just as his life was coming together, he was struck by a terrible blow: His beloved four-year-old son, Conor, died in a freak accident. At an earlier time Eric might have coped with this tragedy by fleeing into a world of addiction. But now a much stronger man, he took refuge in music, responding with the achingly beautiful “Tears in Heaven.”

Clapton is the powerfully written story of a survivor, a man who has achieved the pinnacle of success despite extraordinary demons. It is one of the most compelling memoirs of our time.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “This book does what many rock historians couldn’t: It debunks the legend . . . puts a lie to the glamour of what it means to be a rock star. Greg Kot, Chicago Tribune
  • Strong stuff. Clapton reveals its author’s journey to self-acceptance and manhood. Anyone who cares about the man and his music will want to take the trip with him. Anthony DeCurtis, Rolling Stone
  • “Clapton is honest . . . even searing and often witty, with a hard-won survivor’s humor . . . an honorable badge of a book. Stephen King, New York Times Book Review
  • “Riveting Boston Herald
  • Like the bluesmen who inspired him, Clapton has his share of scars . . . his compelling memoir is . . . a soulful performance. People
  • An absorbing tale of artistry, decadence, and redemption. Los Angeles Times
  • One of the very best rock autobiographies ever. Houston Chronicle
  • A glorious rock history. New York Post
  • An even, unblinking sensibility defines the author’s voice. New York Times

    “An unsparing self-portrait.

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Linda Carter | 2/19/2014

    " I loved it! Gave an inside veiw into his trials, tribulations, loves, and losses. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Beth | 2/13/2014

    " I found the book interesting, but I didn't love the writing style. I felt like I was reading a book written by someone who has had a lot of therapy (probably true)--always analyzing the past, and looking at hidden meanings. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julia | 2/10/2014

    " I enjoyed what I was able to read of it; it was very well written, and extremely informative. (Due to a certain problem I have where I read biographies/autobiographies and then said person "kicks it" fairly soon afterwards, I was not able to read the whole thing....) a group of my musician friends took it away and returned it to the library when I was 3/4ths of the way through, as Eric Clapton had ended up in the hospital with pneumonia....overall, probably a smart move on their part hehe) But I truly enjoyed what I was able to read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jenny | 1/29/2014

    " Very good book. I love Clapton and he did a great job telling his life story. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Colleen | 1/27/2014

    " only eric clapton can make being a junkie/alcoholic celeb be the most boring job on earth. who is interested in him? other than my father...and even he didn't read this. why did i do this to myself? he writes about shopping for belt buckles and building a rehab center (never mentions britney's stay there by the way which is the only reason i know about it) - in other words, it's a serious snoozefest. but you probably already knew that. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bob M. | 1/18/2014

    " I enjoyed this book immensely! Having grown up with his music, all the different genres, it was interesting to get the back-story on not only the music, but his addictions...which are numerous...And with all the celebrities who tell their stories to others and let them sort it out, it was nice to see that Clapton wrote this tome himself. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Landon | 1/16/2014

    " Full of little interesting stories that made up Clapton's life. He talks about how he taught himself to play guitar, starting with folk music and blues, and about playing gigs with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones before they became famous. Tells the stories behind his most famous songs, what experiences and feels went into his music. Like all famous musicians of him time, he struggled with drugs, but mainly with alcohol. A great biography about a guitar legend who played with the Beatles, the Stones, B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix, and many others who shaped American music. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Helena | 1/14/2014

    " This is my first rock and roll biography .Interesting so far Well having finished it sorry it did not impress .Probably me not the book "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Shannon | 1/5/2014

    " This book was just barely ok - actually pretty boring in parts - I wouldn't recommend it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mikki | 12/18/2013

    " yes it has sex, drugs and rock and roll but it an amzing story about a very talented man and how he sought sobriety and god and managed to retain both. it you like the blues this reads like a who's who. i couldnt' put it down "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marika | 12/17/2013

    " Pretty decent read although it made me like him less! It would have been a fun time do be in your day in the 60's and 70's. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dana | 11/29/2013

    " What an egomaniac. Very honest though. Sex, drugs, and rock n' roll and then sober fishing family man. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Clarence Goodman | 11/26/2013

    " Next to "Call Me Lucky," by Bing Crosby, this is the dullest memior I've ever read. Fortunately, it wasn't very long. Groan. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jeanne Simoneau | 11/24/2013

    " Very interesting, but has some long sequences for nothing. Glad to have read it, but I don't plan on reading it again. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gazoscreek | 6/23/2013

    " Great book about an icon of the electric guitar. Eric is very honest about his choices in life, and fills us in on what was going on in his life during some gaps in his musical presence. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kirk Bower | 4/15/2013

    " I might have been hyped up, but I expected more. Wanted more insight into his classic songs, classic guitars, and not so much of his bar hopping. But, it was written in his building a rehab era. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Marvin | 2/24/2013

    " His story is very revealing and he holds no punches. I was satisfied with the book but not much more. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gary | 2/16/2013

    " For anyone with and interest in classic rock music history this is a must read. Following the history of Eric Clapton's life and music career was interesting but the way it was written was not very impressive. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristina Thornton | 2/12/2013

    " Excellently written autobiography, very informative, honest accounting of his life to this point. Some really interesting tidbits about how different bands and songs came about. I really enjoyed reading this! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eric | 2/3/2013

    " clapton seems to be very self-depricating about his guitar accomplishments, but maybe it's because he was strung out for most of the '60s, '70s and part of the '80s. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sioux-z | 1/10/2013

    " Eric Clapton has lived more than nine lives -- He incredibly insightful and talented. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kasia | 3/22/2012

    " Calmed, not too emotional, politically correct confession. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Wally O'carroll | 2/1/2012

    " Amazing that he is still alive given the amount of drugs he took!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debbie Blailock | 10/3/2011

    " It was very interesting - it will give you a completely different view of Slow Hand - and not always in a good way "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Glen | 10/2/2011

    " Really liked it. Through all his troubles, it seems like he has a good heart. I learned a lot about him that I wouldn't have known otherwise. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janet | 5/12/2011

    " Eric, forever my favorite guitarist, but not so much my favorite person after this read. He is honest, which is what you want from a bio, so I appreciated that much. But...I like him a lot less. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Paul | 5/11/2011

    " decent read of a decent guy who was pretty messed up for a long time. a chummy style like the two of you were having coffee. gets a bit repetitious. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brent | 5/10/2011

    " The story of Clapton by EC himself. Great insight on what made him the rock star we all know. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debbie | 5/3/2011

    " Honest and revealing into the life of clapton and his struggle with and recovery from drugs n alcohol. Great read into life of celebrity as humbly written as I have read about a celebrity to date. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elizabeth | 4/23/2011

    " I'm still really curious to know how in the world he did not kill himself. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shawn | 4/18/2011

    " Amazing story. A wonder (as my dad says) that the man survived himself. His writing is practically as good as his guitar playing. I felt like I really got to know "Clapton is god" through this book. Amazing what this man has accomplished and survived and overcome. Excellent read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kendell | 4/17/2011

    " This guy was a real ass.
    Fascinating to read, however. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hunter | 4/10/2011

    " This is the best musician autobiography I have read, and possibly simply the best autobiography. The style is candid, yet written with such wonderful (and decidedly British) diction and restraint that it had the feel of a good book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susie | 4/3/2011

    " Interesting autobiography of an interesting character. What a roller coaster life he had. I like Eric even more now. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jonathan | 3/21/2011

    " Clapton lived an interesting life - and even remembers some of it. Loved reading about the different famous characters from rock music and learning how he became a star "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tracy | 3/15/2011

    " It was ok. Clapton certainly has an interesting story to tell about his own career and the many other rock stars he's crossed paths with. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tim | 2/23/2011

    " I don't love all of Eric Clapton's music, but there is a couple of his albums and songs that are some of my favorites. I would have liked it to touch more on the George Harrison and Patty Boyd triangle. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathleen | 2/21/2011

    " Always loved the music and heard the stories swirling around about the events surrounding it. Really enjoyed reading Clapton's take on his life from top to bottom--not surprising that he can write well. I found this book hard to put down. "

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About the Author
Author Eric ClaptonEric Clapton is married to Melia McEnery and is the father of four daughters. He lives outside London.
About the Narrator

Bill Nighy is a multi-award-winning actor who has appeared in many TV dramas, including State of Play, The Girl in the Café, and Page Eight, for which he received a Golden Globe Best Actor nomination. He won a Best Supporting Actor BAFTA for his role as Billy Mack in Love Actually, while his other films include Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, and the smash hit The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.