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About the Author
Eric Patrick Clapton is an English musician widely revered as rock's premier guitarist, both as a solo artist and as a former member of legendary rock groups including The Yardbirds, Cream, Blind Faith, and Derek and the Dominos.
Born on 30 March 1945 and raised in a musical household, Clapton recieved his first guitar after hearing the electric blues of Freddie King, B.B. King, and Muddy Waters. He spent his early days in music busking around Richmond and Kingston, and in 1963, 17-year-old Eric joined his first band.
Today, with more than 50 years of touring under his belt, Clapton has played in excess of 3,000 concerts. He has performed in 58 countries and played to over 2 billion people. He can be heard on records by Gary Brooker, Bob Dylan, Bob Geldof, Elton John, Carole King, Plastic Ono Band (John Lennon and Yoko Ono), Stephen Stills, Sting, Roger Waters and many more.
Over the course of his career, Eric has received numerous awards and accolades. He has won 18 Grammy Awards, a BAFTA, and is the only triple inductee in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Yardbirds, Cream and as a solo artist. In 1994, Queen Elizabeth II made Eric an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and in 2004, she honoured him further when he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, or CBE.
In 1998, Eric founded the Crossroads Centre, an addiction treatment centre based in Antigua which follows the 12-step model. One of the centres main principles is to provide treatment for some of the poorest people of the Caribbean, using the centre's own foundation.
To raise funds for the Crossroads Centre Foundation, Eric has held a series of Guitar Festivals and Guitar Auctions. In 1999, Clapton auctioned 100 of his guitars, including the guitar on which he recorded "Layla," which netted almost five million dollars for the foundation. A second guitar auction in June 2004 raised $6 million for the foundation and included the sale of Blackie, his legendary Fender Stratocaster. Later, Clapton hosted a concert to benefit the Centre at New York City's Madison Square Garden, as well as planning a second fundraising effort -- the Crossroads Guitar Festival in Dallas. The first festival launched in 2004, and was hosted again by Clapton in 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2019.