The Story Of “Forever Man” By Eric Clapton
via Eric Clapton/YouTube
He Was Pressured By His Label
Released in 1985 and featured as the first single of the album “Behind the Sun,” “Forever Man” topped the US Billboard Top Rock Tracks chart and sold over 500,000 copies worldwide. Interestingly, it wasn’t supposed to be included in the LP.
When Clapton completed “Behind the Sun,” the Warner Bros. Records executives were far from impressed. The company initially rejected his studio effort helmed by Phil Collins. Clapton told Edinburgh News, “They said it had no singles and no relevance to anything else that was out there, and I needed to wake up and get with what’s going on. Instead of getting arrogant and outraged, I did the shrewd thing.”
Although the recording sessions were pleasant enough, Clapton’s marriage was crumbling to pieces. It was during this time when Pattie Boyd packed her bags and left after they “decided that we should have a trial separation.” He drew inspiration from his troubled relationship to write several of the songs on the LP.
After the rejection, he was told by the label to record new songs penned by Jerry Williams. They also brought in veteran company producers Lenny Waronker and Ted Templeman. Clapton agreed to Warner Bros.’ terms and he didn’t mind the addition of three more tracks. In fact, he loved them. He said, “They sent me three songs by a Texas songwriter – “Forever Man”, “Something’s Happening” and “See What Love Can Do” – and they were good.”
The sessions included Toto guitarist Steve Lukather and then-drummer Jeff Porcaro, in addition to drummer Jamie Oldaker, bassist Nathan East and keyboardist Greg Phillinganes.
Lukather admitted in 2013 to Classic Rock Revisited that he “talked my way onto that album. I knew the producer on that one and I really wanted to meet Eric because I was a lifelong fan. I was so fucking nervous when I met Eric — I have never been that nervous meeting any star in the world. I played for free on that album because I just wanted to meet him. We played ‘Forever Man’ and I froze up and I didn’t know what to play, and that never happens to me. I would play a little bit, but I didn’t want to play too much.”
With “Forever Man”, Clapton had his first music video directed by Godley and Creme. While he said it was “fun,” he also shared in Crossroads: The Life and Music of Eric Clapton that “it goes against the grain for me.” He added, “It’s a concession to the star-making machinery.”