With the new decade kicking off, it’s been now 28 years since one of the best pieces of contemporary music was created. We’re talking here about “Tears in Heaven”, one of those immortal songs full of emotion only the greatest creators can give birth to. One of those masterpieces that combine simplicity and emotion, beauty and serenity.
This sober and intimate song, was created by Eric Clapton nine months after a terrible personal event took place. His son Conor, who was only 4 years old , died on the 20th of march of 1991 in New York after falling from a 53rd floor of a Manhattan skyscraper. One of those events that leave a mark forever in anyone’s life.
Playing along with his acoustic guitar, Clapton wonders “Would you know my name if I saw you in heaven?”, “Would you hold my hand?”, “Would you help me stand”, and gives testimony of his summoned strength… “I must be strong and carry on”, to end up wishing “Beyond the door there’s peace, I’m sure”, despite knowing that a loss like such is to remain in his soul for the rest of his life.
Even though he’s been awarded up to 17 times in his career with a Grammy, 1993 is the year that stands out with 5 of them: best rock song for “Layla”, best album for his “Unplugged”, and 3 Grammy Awards for “Tears in Heaven” only – record of the year, best solo artist, and song of the year. Besides, “Tears in Heaven” was ranked 353 in the top 500 best songs of all time by the prestigious music magazine Rolling Stone, although, surely, the most of us we think, it should be even higher in this huge ranking.
Eric Patrick Clapton (Ripley, Surrey, United Kingdom, born on the 30th of march 1945) amazed the world with his exceptional electric guitar playing, and in 1967, during his time in the band CREAM, he was considered the best British guitarist. Clapton, ironically known as “Slow Hand”, was and still is one of the most influential musical artists since the mid-sixties of the past century up until today. Even other worldwide-known musicians of his time asked him to collaborate. For instance, The Beatles, who invited him to record their song “While my Guitar Gently Weeps”. And that’s right what he did: through a masterful guitar solo, he made his guitar weep as his friend George Harrison had intended. By the way, the link between him and the Beatle doesn’t end there… one of Clapton’s best-known songs, “Layla”, was inspired by George Harrison’s wife at the time, of whom Clapton fell madly in love. The title of the song “Layla” is also inspired by the tale of Layla and Majnun (ليلى والمجنون), written by the classic poet Nezami.
Nonetheless, above all the prizes Clapton may have received, he would like to be remembered as a blues guitarist. He said himself that of all the Grammy Awards he’s ever received, the one he’s most pleased with is the “best contemporary blues album” award he got for “Road to Escondido”.
And that’s how it shall be: Eric Patrick Clapton will be remembered, among many other things, as one of the most influential and innovative blues guitarists of all times… and for “Tears in Heaven”!
“Beyond the door/ There’s peace I’m sure/ And I know there’ll be no more/Tears in heaven”