Eric Clapton Albums Ranked

Eric Patrick Clapton, CBE (born 30 March 1945) is an English rock and blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist and separately as a member of the Yardbirds and of Cream. Clapton has been referred to as one of the most important and influential guitarists of all time. Clapton ranked second in Rolling Stone‘s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” and fourth in Gibson’s “Top 50 Guitarists of All Time”. He was also named number five in Time magazine’s list of “The 10 Best Electric Guitar Players” in 2009. Two of his most popular recordings were “Layla”, recorded with Derek and the Dominos; and Robert Johnson’s “Crossroads”, recorded with Cream. Following the death of his son Conor in 1991, Clapton’s grief was expressed in the song “Tears in Heaven”, which appeared on his Unplugged album. Clapton has been the recipient of 18 Grammy Awards, and the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. In 2004 he was awarded a CBE at Buckingham Palace for services to music. He has received four Ivor Novello Awards from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers, and Authors, including the Lifetime Achievement Award. In his solo career, Clapton has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling musicians of all time. Here are all Eric Clapton albums ranked.

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10. Backless (1978)

“After the incredibly successful “Slowhand” from 1977, Eric Clapton attempted to repeat the laid-back, slightly folky, slightly bluesy rock vibe on this album. Although it was more of the same, it hasn’t had its predecessor’s long-lasting appeal and has become a somewhat forgotten piece of work. It is actually a lot bluesier and rockier than “Slowhand”. It is not a bad album, to be honest. Personally, I much prefer it to “Slowhand”, and indeed to “461 Ocean Boulevard”, “There’s One In Every Crowd and “No Reason To Cry”. “Early In The Morning” is a superb, eight-minute piece of Clapton blues. Killer guitar and harmonica and questionable lyrics about girls coming of age. Great stuff. “Promises” was a minor hit single and is very much in the laid-back, acoustic “Slowhand” mode. “Golden Ring” plows a similar furrow. “Tulsa Time” is back to blues-rock with a lively closer. As I said, it was an album that was out of time, but is not at all bad, taken in isolation.”

9. There’s One in Every Crowd (1975)

“Great stuff here for the open minded fan. I love reggae Clapton and here it is full force. Incredibly subtle album but every song keeps your attention and also a great flow to the album. Highlights include the opener We’ve Been Told, Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Don’t Blame Me, Singin’ The Blues among others. This is not the 17 minute guitar solo live Layla or the Bluesbreakers Guitar God Clapton but outstanding nonetheless. Highly recommended. I was honestly surprised by how great it was (not sure why) when I heard it the first time.”

8.August (1986)

“Eric Clapton continued his middle-age renaissance with 1986’s August, which applies the grit of a ’60s soul album to the crisp ’80s pop-rock sound favored by Phil Collins. Collins not only plays on the album but shares production credit with Tom Dowd, whose presence bridges Clapton’s MTV years with his golden tenure at Atlantic in the ’70s. The album spawned three huge and entirely different hits. “Tearing Us Apart” is a crispy slice of blues-funk featuring Tina Turner, who was experiencing a mid-career resurgence parallel to Clapton’s. “Miss You” falls into a long line of impassioned messages to Clapton’s wife and muse Pattie Boyd, from whom he’d soon be divorced. But most surprising is “Behind the Mask,” originally recorded by the Japanese synth-pop outfit Yellow Magic Orchestra (and later adapted by Michael Jackson). The tune helped establish Clapton as one of the decade’s premier soul men, an older voice showing authenticity and integrity even as he partook in glitzy trends. Among the album’s lost gems are “Hung Up on Your Love” and “Holy Mother,” but nothing compares to “It’s in the Way That You Use It,” a song as stunningly catchy as it is gritty.”

7.Eric Clapton (1970)

“The gold standard of blues/rock includes names like Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Winwood, Stevie Ray Vaughn and, of course, the inimitable Eric Clapton. The Yardbirds, John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, Derek and the Dominoes, Cream, and Blind Faith (among others) is a hellacious warm-up act to a solo career that has rarely been equaled for its output and longevity. Clapton’s eponymous and first solo album builds it’s foundations on something he was always known for – his impressive list of collaborators, including Leon Russell, Bobby Keys, Tex Johnson, Rita Coolidge, Sonny Curtis, and Stephen Stills, to nameless than half. That foundation allows Clapton to top himself and his previous trend-setting work with an album that has solid blues roots, rock and roll power, catchy hooks, and a ton of fun. And considering the upward trajectory of his music after this lofty release, Slowhand has never slowed down.”

6.Money and Cigarettes (1983)

” For Money And Cigarettes, released in 1983, The Guitar God would prove to another generation of listeners that he still had what it takes where he showcase a visceral mixture of laid-back rock and roll and down home blues in which he heralds an appealing low-key effort. Featuring the Top 20 hit I’ve Got A Rock And Roll Heart, many of his blues fans were pleased with his slick covers for Sleepy John Estes’ Everybody Oughta Make A Change, Albert King’s Crosscut Saw and even the Johnny Otis classic Crazy Country Hop, while it features high-powered appearances from some of his old friends such as Ry Cooder, Albert Lee and Donald “Duck” Dunn (of Booker T’ And The M.G’s fame). Even though Money And Cigarettes did received a mixed reception from the critics and the public right upon it’s release, it was eligible to enough to become another success for him and as a result it’s hailed as one of his finest works. Instead of being a empty exercise in studio professionalism, this labour of love is an appealing low key effort that also features some of the smoothest blues and rock and roll performances Clapton had ever played. So, here is another classic album that he will always be remembered for, as this blues-rock tour de force will live on as yet another testament for Clapton’s groundbreaking legacy.

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5.From the Cradle (1994)


“One of Clapton’s best! But I agree with AllMusic, his voice is not up the task. I have always felt that Clapton wisely wrote and chose songs that suited his voice and style; Like most songs on “Backless”, “Slowhand”, “Another Ticket”, and so on… But here the demands are quite higher. I mean: NO growl is better than a forced growl…What he could and should have done, was to “re-interpret” these songs, “made them his own”, and taken a laid back, almost resigned approach, and sung them in his own voice… Anyway, we can hear him loud and clear, and with good help from his guitar, the result is great!”

4.Journeyman (1989)

“One of Clapton’s best solo albums. He hits the right balance between polished production and grit in this great set of songs. Featuring a mix of originals and covers, there are some good rockers (“Pretending” & “Bad Love”), ballads (“Running on Faith” & “Old Love”), and blues (“Before You Accuse Me). His guitar playing is some of his most inspired in years and the album has some of his better vocal performances as well. Highly recommended for any Clapton fan.”

3. 461 Ocean Boulevard (1974)

“Excellent achievement by EC and shows more maturity than his debut album. EC’s music styles are diverse ranging from country, folk, roc, blues, reggae to pop. This record sounds fresh with laid-back feeling but enough to reveal to guitar fans.

Clapton remains a powerful albeit not prolific songwriter. His “Let it grow” with positive and slightly sentimental vibe resonates in my mind long after the song is finished. The emotional extended guitar solo is as awesome as harmony vocals. “I shot the sheriff” might be one of the most surprising directions by EC but why not combine these styles together. Excellent record with no fillers.”

2. Unplugged (1992)

“This was one of my favorite CDs back in the 90s and now having the vinyl on my 2 channel system is just superb. This is one of the best sounding records I have and is truly a joy to just sit back and close your eyes…..I feel like I’m on the front row. The separation of instruments is perfect and placed just as they were on stage. The sound stage is very important to my listening experience and Eric’s voice being off to the right a bit first had me wondering, but when you watch the videos, he was a bit off center. All the instruments are just so natural and live sounding. Some reissue albums are taken from the wrong source and sound flat, but not here. Don’t hesitate, this is a MUST have for any record collection.”

1.Slowhand (1977)

“Smooooooth & Detailed. Clapton’s voice is dead-on warming with Nuances there in their full glory. Crisp Highs are not harsh. Background Voices are beautifully layered. Ultimate clearness of the Audio is a 4 out 5….ultimate quality is still a 5 of 5, because there is no fatigue, no overdone audio processing…just Clapton on stage when you close your eyes.”