10 Of Eric Clapton’s Greatest Guitar Solos
This list of Top 10 Eric Clapton Guitar Solos proves why “Clapton is God.”
10. “Sunshine of Your Love”
From: Disraeli Gears (1967)
This song is no doubt the best example of Clapton delivering his famous ‘woman tone. ‘ His soulful solo in the middle of this song that was both distorted and precise has driven many a guitarist insane, but Slowhand amazingly achieved the tone using only his “the Fool” SG, a Marshall amp and a wah-wah pedal.
From: Goodbye (1969)
Clapton co-wrote “Badge” with The Beatles’ George Harrison, who played the rhythm guitar on the track and was credited as ‘L’Angelo Misterioso’. Clapton’s 30-second solo is his simple and short contribution to Cream’s final album 1969 Goodbye, but ultimately one of his greatest solos as well. The title of the song was decided after Clapton misread the word ‘Bridge’ when Harrison wrote it down. “Eric read it upside down and cracked up laughing – ‘What’s ‘Badge’?” Harrison said.
From: Fresh Cream (1966)
On this 17-minute-long version of the song, EC can be heard ripping out solo after solo. Clapton starts his solo at the 2:23 mark with a playful sound, then bringing a sudden drama at 2:46, and at 3:31, he launched into a completely new melody, taking Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker along for the ride. Recorded at San Francisco’s Winterland, Cream’s “Spoonful” introduced Willie Dixon, who wrote the song, and Howlin’ Wolf, who originally recorded it in 1960, to a new generation of blues listeners.
07. “Let it Rain”
From: Eric Clapton (1970)
During this time, Clapton is all focus on his solo projects, which created an opportunity for him to add flavor to his tunes without saying goodbye to his ’60s signature play. Although Clapton isn’t the only one doing the solo on this classic as Stephen Stills took the mellow lead line in the middle, Slowhand shines and stole the show on the last minute using Brownie, his beloved Fender Stratocaster.
06. “Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad”
Derek & the Dominos
From: Live at the Fillmore (1994)
Performed and recorded in 1970 with an audience blown away by one of Clapton’s brilliant solos out there. In this 15-minute concert rendition, Clapton appears to take up more than half of the song on a three-minute solo that could be a song itself.
Derek & the Dominos
From: Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (1970)
This seven-minute track is one of the greatest guitar songs of all time. From beginning to end, you will hear what Clapton and Duane Allman has built with their guitars. The duo has laid down six guitar tracks on this single; one is Clapton playing rhythm, three of Clapton harmonizing with the main riff, one of Allman playing bottleneck and lastly, the dual solo between Clapton and Allman. This unrequited love song is what Clapton wrote for Pattie Boyd, who was Harrison’s wife at the time, but would later leave Harrison for Clapton in the ’70s.
04. “Have You Heard”
John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers
From: Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton (1966)
Clapton was only 21 at the time this was recorded, and perhaps Mayall and the band already knew that Clapton would just disappear after the release of the album, giving him more than a minute to let himself ripped with his solo starting at the 3:25 mark. With his 1960 sunburst Gibson Les Paul (that would later on be missing), Clapton was certainly ahead of his time and unaware that he would influence players for the rest of the ’60s and decades to come.
03. “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”
From: The Beatles (1968)
On this Beatles’ track, Harrison felt like the song required the talents of his good friend Clapton. Coming to the studio unprepared while the Fab Four is recording, Clapton had to borrow Harrison’s Les Paul to lay down his solo on the song. Being the only ‘outside’ guitarist to ever play on a Beatles studio track, Clapton offered a distinct sound on his part.
02. “White Room”
From: Wheels of Fire (1968)
It’s all about the wah-wahing form here. Taken from the band’s third album, this Cream’s psychedelic classic contains some of Clapton’s finest wah-pedal artistry. It has an amazing guitar solo in the middle of the song and finishes with an outro fading into a blues-wah frenzy.
From: Wheels of Fire (1968)
Undeniably, this was Clapton’s best Cream-era guitar solo performance. Using his 1964 Gibson SG Standard and stacks of 100-watt Marshall amps, Clapton’s offbeat and unstoppable rawness makes the original Robert Johnson’s “Cross Roads Blues” more interesting. Recorded live at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom, Clapton has certainly made this song his own. In 2004, Clapton even began the Crossroads Guitar Festival, a series of all-star guitar benefit concerts which have kept the blues spirit alive.