Eric Clapton is credited on his own site with 46 records, but that doesn’t begin to account for the fingerprints that Slowhand, as he’s known, has left on rock and roll. Without EC, George Harrison’s guitar never gently weeps, to use just one famous example. Now the “Forever Man” says this next album may be his last, telling the Associated Press: “Just in case I don’t cut another record, this is how I feel. I kind of might be saying goodbye.”
The recent deaths of music legends David Bowie and Prince (whose guitar also famously wept) have put all rock gods and their fans on mortality watch, surely. And no rocker has been called a god more often than Clapton — “Eric Clapton is God” was a very popular strain of graffiti during tagging’s heyday. Clapton is 71, older than both those recent departed stars. But it’s hopeful for fans to remember that Clapton is less pure rock star than bluesman — and that’s a tradition that can see its practitioners work well into old age. Clapton’s new record, the optimistically titled “I Still Do”, will be his 47th by his official count. It drops on May 20.