Eric Clapton has inspired two songs: “Savoy Truffle” by George Harrison and “Mr. Bluesman” by Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi.
“Savoy Truffle” can be found on “The Beatles” (a.k.a. “the White Album”) released in 1968. George Harrison recalled, “Savoy Truffle is a funny one written while hanging out with Eric Clapton in the ’60s. At that time he had a lot of cavities in his teeth and needed dental work. He always had a toothache but he ate a lot of chocolates — he couldn’t resist them. Once he saw a box, he had to eat them all. He was over at my house and I had a box of Good News chocolates on the table and wrote the song from the names inside the lid.” (From “I Me Mine” by George Harrison. Published by Simon and Schuster / New York 1980).
In the early 1990s, Richie Sambora, lead guitarist with the pop metal band, Bon Jovi, met Eric Clapton at the International Rock Awards. Richie told Eric how he had been a huge part of his own musical development. When Sambora began work on his first solo album, “Stranger In This Town”, his partner encouraged him to contact Eric Clapton about playing on the track “Mr. Bluesman” as the song was about a young boy wanting to be a guitar player … about Richie wanting to be like Eric. Richie wrote a heartfelt letter to Eric and enclosed a demo of the song.
Richie Sambora’s letter to Eric Clapton read in part, “I had to ask you to be on my first solo record because if you had the chance to ask Robert Johnson to be on your first record, I’m sure you would have.” When Eric showed up in the studio to play on the track, Richie said, “It was like my teacher telling me I done good.”
Eric Clapton later told Rolling Stone that, “Richie really put me on the spot. It was a nightmare. I got a very sweet, dedicated letter from him, and I was deeply touched, my ego was pumped up. I thought, ‘Of course, I have to do this.’ I never actually listened to the song; I never acquainted myself with it. I just went in on this little fantasy about how easy it was going to be. And then Richie came to London with the tape, and I showed up at the studio. He gave me a gift, which was a massive 12-string Taylor guitar with my name on it. It was magnificent. Then he put the tape on, and I realized instantly that I was completely out of my depth. The song wasn’t what I expected it to be, and I had to sit down and go down to the bottom of my socks and pull up whatever I had to make it work. It took hours, and I sweated buckets. He was sitting there, watching me go through this. It was the kind of thing you would like to go off and do in private, because you’re going to make all your worst mistakes right there in front of everybody. So, there goes your reputation out the window. Reality comes in the door.” (From Rolling Stone 17 October 1991)