Eric Clapton - Slowhand

Eric Clapton - Slowhand

For this edition of Classic Cuts, we're back to the '70s with Eric Clapton's Slowhand.

Released in 1977, the album is one of Clapton's defining works, featuring the likes of 'Cocaine', 'Wonderful Tonight' and 'May You Never'.

As with any artist held in such high regard, there are those who criticise the legendary guitarist and vocalist.

However, you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who denies the diversity of this subtle, blues-heavy rock album.

Slowhand's beauty as a record is in its understated simplicity, every moment of every song conjuring up an emotion.

There are hundreds of songs that inspire guitarists to first pick up the instrument, from 'Smoke On The Water' and 'Whole Lotta Love' to 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' and 'Paranoid'.

For this writer, one of those songs was 'Wonderful Tonight', a sublime, innocent and honest love song of the highest calibre.

The gorgeous riff and Clapton's smooth but slightly strained vocals create a moving atmosphere for one of the best love ballads of all time.

In the context of Slowhand, 'Wonderful Tonight' (an ode to his then-wife Pattie Boyd) provides an odd, but fitting, stop-gap between the bluesy rock tracks 'Cocaine' and 'Lay Down Sally'.

Much more than its opening trio of hit singles, Clapton wanders between genres effortlessly, whilst retaining a blues tone throughout.

The likes of 'We're All The Way' are beautiful and heart-felt, whilst 'The Core' ensures that Slowhand is, at its heart, still very much a rock album.

There's even a nice country/folk influence on 'May You Never', which Clapton tackles with ease.

It's been 34 years, but Eric Clapton's music - and, specifically, Slowhand - had stood the test of time, stacking up amongst the best in history.

Female First - Alistair McGeorge