‘Clapton is God’? Well, he’s 70

Eric Clapton performs at Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013 at Madison Square Garden in New York, April 14, 2013. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — It’s been 50 years since someone first said, “Clapton is God.” If that’s true, God is now 70.

Eric Clapton, arguably one of the most influential guitarists over the past half-century, was born March 30, 1945. The “Clapton is God” phrase first happened when he was a member of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers in 1965 when it was spray painted on an underground train station wall.

Members of Cream, from left, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton, perform during the 8th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Los Angeles, Jan. 13, 1993. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)
Members of Cream, from left, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton, perform during the 8th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Los Angeles, Jan. 13, 1993. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)

He never bought into it, and over these decades has created a discography that is among the best in rock, blues and acoustic.

“I am and always will be a blues guitarist,” he once said. “If you hand me a guitar, I’ll play the blues. That’s the place I automatically go.”

His religion, he said, is music.

“I have always been resistant to doctrine, and any spirituality I had experienced thus far in my life had been much more abstract and not aligned with any recognized religion. For me, the most trustworthy vehicle for spirituality had always proven to be music. It cannot be manipulated, or politicized, and when it is, that becomes immediately obvious.”

Members of Cream, from left, Jack Bruce, unidentified woman, drummer Ginger Baker, and Eric Clapton. depart from Heathrow Airport in London, Aug. 20, 1967 (AP Photo/Peter Kemp)
Members of Cream, from left, Jack Bruce, unidentified woman, drummer Ginger Baker, and Eric Clapton. depart from Heathrow Airport in London, Aug. 20, 1967 (AP Photo/Peter Kemp)

In his autobiography, he touched on reincarnation.

“In terms of scale or stature, I believe that if Robert Johnson was reincarnated, he is probably BB King. Maybe it would be worth investigating the appropriate dates to see if this is even a remote possibility.”

He has a new album coming out, “Foreverman,” and will play shows at Madison Square Garden in May. He remains musically adventurous, continually searching. And he remains strongly opinionated.

“The music scene as I look at it today is a little different from when I was growing up. The percentages are roughly the same – 95 percent rubbish, 5 percent pure.”

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