The Best of Eric Clapton – 20th Century Masters / Millennium Collection

[Press Release from Polydor / Universal Music]

THE BEST OF ERIC CLAPTON Features His Greatest Recordings and Biggest Hits of the ’70s, From ‘Layla’ and ‘I Shot The Sheriff’ to ‘Lay Down Sally’

With 16 Grammys to his credit and the only three-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (as a member of Cream, the Yardbirds, and as a solo artist), Eric Clapton is one of the most admired and honored guitarists of the rock generation. Following the release of his new blues album (ME AND MR. JOHNSON, REPRISE/DUCK) and with a new studio CD anticipated next year, THE BEST OF ERIC CLAPTON edition of 20TH CENTURY MASTERS/THE MILLENNIUM COLLECTION (Polydor/UMe), to be released June 15, 2004, revisits the first decade of his solo career (including the short-lived Derek and the Dominos) featuring 11 digitally remastered classics from 1970-1978.

Clapton’s self-titled 1970 solo debut embraced an organic rock / country / R&B / gospel rootsy vibe that grew out of his touring with Delaney & Bonnie & Friends. In fact, Delaney and Bonnie (Bramlett) and friends such as Rita Coolidge and Leon Russell formed the band for his album. THE BEST OF ERIC CLAPTON includes its Top 20 pop cover of J.J. Cale’s “After Midnight” as well as the Clapton-Bramlett-penned “Let It Rain,” which guested Stephen Stills.

Clapton then formed Derek and the Dominos with D&B alums Bobby Whitlock (organ), Carl Radle (bass) and Jim Gordon (drums). Led by one of the all-time great rock songs, the epic seven-minute “Layla” (which hit #10 pop and featured Duane Allman on guitar), the quartet’s lone studio LP, LAYLA AND OTHER ASSORTED LOVE SONGS, was released in late 1970. The Top 20 album also boasted “Bell Bottom Blues.”

In 1974, after years of personal crisis and musical inactivity, Clapton returned to his solo career with 461 OCEAN BOULEVARD. His reading of Bob Marley’s outlaw anthem “I Shot The Sheriff,” which served as many American listeners’ first exposure to reggae, soared to #1 and went gold. Culled from that #1 pop album too is the gentle ballad “Let It Grow.” His 1975 non-LP cover of Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” is also heard on THE BEST OF ERIC CLAPTON. His next Top 10 album, 1977’s SLOWHAND (#2), spawned the tender “Wonderful Tonight” (#16), country-flavored “Lay Down Sally” (#3 and gold) and fiery cover of Cale’s cautionary “Cocaine” (#30). The 1978 follow-up, BACKLESS (#8), spotlighted the Top 10 ballad “Promises.”

Today, 40 years after his recording debut (with the Yardbirds), Clapton is reaping the rewards that come with being one of rock’s most esteemed artists.

The series 20TH CENTURY MASTERS/THE MILLENNIUM COLLECTION, featuring new “best of” albums from the most significant music artists of the past century, is the most successful single artist series in music history.

Track Listings
01. I Shot The Sheriff
02. After Midnight
03. Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door
04. Wonderful Tonight
05. Layla
06. Cocaine
07. Lay Down Sally
08. Bell Bottom Blues
09. Promises
10. Let It Rain
11. Let It Grow

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