Eric Clapton Shares How He Dealt With His Son’s Death
He Isolated Himself From The World
Eric Clapton’s son Conor was only four years old when he accidentally fell to his death from the window of a 53rd-floor apartment in New York City. At the time, Clapton was staying at a hotel nearby and was actually getting ready to pick up Conor for a father-and-son bonding.
That harrowing incident famously inspired one of Clapton’s most critically acclaimed works — the musical masterpiece Tears in Heaven.
In a recent appearance on BBC Radio, Clapton talked about the tragedy and how he coped with Conor’s death.
“I had, I brought him home from New York with the Italian side of his mother’s family, and we went through the process of the funeral, and when they left,” Clapton recalled. “And that I had this little Spanish guitar, I became attached to that. And I went away. I went off to Antigua, and I rented a little cottage there, in a sort of a community.”
“And I just swatted mosquitoes all day and played this guitar and stayed there for almost a whole year without much contact with the outside world,” he continued. “I tried to heal myself, and all I could do was play and write these songs, and I rewrote and re-performed them again and again and again until I felt like I’d made some sort of move towards the surface of my being.”
“And then I was able to come out,” he added. “It was so deep, and I had thought that I had taken care of it until I saw [the 2018 movie] ‘Life in 12 Bars.’ And it’s very disturbing for me, but beautiful at the same time, the way it’s handled in the film. The footage I haven’t seen of him before, which is difficult to watch, with the underlying music.”
Clapton called playing Tears in Heaven “overwhelming.”