19 Feb 15
The Blues Foundation has announced the 2015 selection of three living performers to be inducted into its Blues Hall of Fame: Eric Clapton, Tommy Brown and Little Richard. Eric Clapton is the first British musician to be inducted. The foundation said he was tapped for “for his many musical achievements as well as for his role as a popularizer of the entire genre. He brought the blues to audiences in his native Britain and throughout the world, illuminating the work of the original blues artists who inspired him.”
The Blues Foundation also noted that “Clapton identified with the power and uplifting spirit of the blues from his early days as a guitarist, and amidst forays into other genres has always remained a blues devotee. At the age of 18, as a member of the Yardbirds, he played guitar on a Sonny Boy Williamson LP, and soon did sessions with bluesmen Otis Spann and Champion Jack Dupree, not to mention the influential work he did with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Cream and Blind Faith. In between his many subsequent albums and world tours, he played on Howlin’ Wolf’s London Sessions and recorded with several of his early guitar heroes, including B.B. King, Freddie King, Buddy Guy, Chuck Berry, John Lee Hooker and Otis Rush.
Clapton topped the Billboard charts with an album of blues standards, From the Cradle, in 1994, and with the blues-laden Unplugged album in 1992, and hit the top ten with his Robert Johnson tribute, Me and Mr. Johnson in 2004 and his collaboration with B.B. King, Riding With the King, in 2000. Clapton’s battle with drug and alcohol addiction led him to found the Crossroads Centre rehab facility in Antigua in 1998. His Crossroads Guitar Festival is both a showcase for many of the world’s leading guitarists and a fundraiser for the Crossroads Centre.”
The induction ceremony is held annually in Memphis, Tennessee. Since 1980, The Blues Foundation has inducted 350 performers, industry professionals, recordings and literature into its Blues Hall of Fame.
This year’s ceremony will be held in conjunction with three days of events surrounding the 36th Blues Music Awards on 7 May and the public Grand Opening of the bricks and mortar Blues Hall of Fame on 8 May. Eric will be unable to attend as he will be in England preparing for his run of concerts at the Royal Albert Hall.
Learn more about The Blues Foundation and the Blues Hall of Fame Museum at blues.org.