In 2005, Eric also revisted the past. He, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce re-formed Cream for four very special reunion shows at London’s Royal Albert Hall. The concerts took place at the venue where their farewell shows took place 37 years earlier, in November 1968. In October 2005, the men performed three further concerts at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The London shows were released on CD and DVD in late 2005.
Eric’s next recording project was to be produced by one of the architects of the “Tulsa Sound,” J.J. Cale. Eric had long admired Cale’s work, having recorded cover versions of “After Midnight,” “Cocaine,” and “Travelin’ Light.” After working in the studio a short time, it turned into a collaborative effort. The Road To Escondido was released on 7 November 2006 to critical acclaim. It won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album (Vocal or Instrumental) at the 50th Annual Awards Ceremony in Los Angeles on 10 February 2008.
In his more than 40 year career, Eric Clapton has received many awards. He is the only triple inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame (as a member of both the Yardbirds and Cream and as a solo artist). He has also won or shared in eighteen Grammy Awards.
Eric has also contributed to numerous artists’ albums over the decades. The most well known session occurred in September 1968, when he added guitar to George Harrison’s composition, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” It is on the album, The Beatles (best known as “The White Album”). He can also be heard on albums by Aretha Franklin, Steven Stills, Bob Dylan, Elton John, Plastic Ono Band (John Lennon and Yoko Ono), Ringo Starr, Sting, and Roger Waters.
Eric has always toured extensively performing thousands of concerts around the globe. Recent solo world tours took place in 2001, 2004 and 2006 / 2007 and a 27 date Summer Tour in 2008 which visited the eastern U.S., Canada and Europe. Additionally, in February 2008 Eric performed three concerts with long-time friend Steve Winwood at New York’s Madison Square Garden. In 2009, Eric will again be on the road with his band visiting Japan, New Zealand and Australia before returning home for a 11 night stand at London’s Royal Albert Hall in May.
After conquering his heroin addiction in the early 70s, Eric replaced it with an addiction to alcohol. Throughout the remainder of the decade and into the 1980s, his life and work suffered due to his alcoholism. In January 1982, Eric entered the Hazelden Foundation, a rehabilitation facility in the United States. He did backslide but entered rehab a second time a few years later. He has been sober since 1987 through the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. Since that time, Eric has been committed to working with others who suffer from addictions to drugs and alcohol.
In February 1998, Eric announced the opening of Crossroads Centre, a rehabilitation facility for drug and alcohol abuse on the island of Antigua. One of its principles is to provide subsidized care for some of the poorest people of the Caribbean who can not afford such care on their own. A foundation was established to provide “scholarships” for these individuals. On 24 June 1999, Clapton auctioned 100 of his guitars, including “Brownie” (the guitar on which he recorded “Layla”), at Christie’s Auction House / New York. The 1999 auction netted almost $5 million (US) for the foundation. On 30 June 1999, Clapton hosted a concert to benefit the Centre at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. Proceeds from its airing on America’s VH1 and DVD and video sales benefited the Centre. Five years later, Eric planned the second and final major fundraising effort for the Centre. On 4, 5 and 6 June 2004, he hosted the First Crossroads Guitar Festival in Dallas, Texas. The three day event presented the cream of the world’s guitarists in a benefit event for the Centre. The event was filmed and proceeds from the sale of the DVD also benefit the foundation. Additionally, a second guitar auction took place on 24 June 2004. It raised an additional $6 million for the foundation and included the sale of “Blackie”, his legendary Fender Stratocaster and a cherry red Gibson ES335, known as “The Cream Guitar”. The Second Crossroads Guitar Festival, with proceeds again benefitting the Crossroads Centre Foundation, took place on 28 July 2007 in Chicago, Illinois. The event was filmed and a DVD was released on 6 November 2007.
In October 2007, Eric’s autobiography, Clapton, was published. It is available in twelve languages and topped the best-seller lists around the world.
Eric is married. He and his wife, Melia, have three daughters - Julie Rose (b. June 2001), Ella Mae (b. January 2003) and Sophie (b. February 2005). The couple married on 1 January 2002.
Eric’s eldest child is his daughter, Ruth (b. January 1985).
His son, Conor (b. August 1986), died on 20 March 1991 when he fell from a window in his mother’s New York City apartment. Conor’s mother is Lori del Santo, a film actress / television personality.
Eric married his first wife, Pattie Boyd Harrison on 27 March 1979. They had no children and divorced in 1989.