By Lola Augustine Brown
Fans of guitar god Eric Clapton are in for a treat: a new documentary chronicling his life, which recently premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, will hit theatres later this year and air on Showtime in February 2018.
Featuring previously unseen archival footage and photos from throughout the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s life, Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars takes us from Slowhand’s childhood, before he ever picked up a guitar, to where he is now. The film delves deeply into Clapton’s life, covering the bands he made history with—including the Yardbirds, Cream, and Derek and the Dominos—the messiness of his failed relationships, alcoholism, and drug addiction, and the tragic death of his four-year-old son, Conor. There is also, of course, the story behind the iconic song “Layla,” about Clapton’s infatuation with George Harrison’s wife, Pattie Boyd. The 133-minute film “constantly reminds you of the old chestnut about needing to have the blues in order to play the blues,” writes David Fear in his review in Rolling Stone.
You can get a taste of what’s to come in the official trailer—you can find it on YouTube—which opens with Clapton’s friend BB King heaping praise on the man Rolling Stone ranked No. 2 on its 2015 list of the 100 greatest guitarists (Jimi Hendrix was No. 1). Many other voices come in to talk about Clapton—the director, Lili Fini Zanuck, has been quoted as saying she decided early on that she didn‘t want the film to be full of “talking heads”—including Hendrix and George Harrison. To say that this intimate look at Clapton’s life is star-studded is an understatement.
Photo: Dreamstime/Randy Miramontez.