Eric Clapton's Unplugged Destinations
To honor music legend Eric Clapton, we’ve put together a list of the most iconic destinations that helped cement the guitar god’s place in rock ’n’ roll history.
A Star Is Born
Born to 16-year-old Patricia Clapton on March 30, 1945, Eric “Slowhand” Clapton grew up in the English town of Ripley, Surrey. Too young to look after Eric on her own after his 24-year-old soldier father defected back to Canada, Patricia turned to her mother, Rose, and Rose’s second husband, Jack Clapp, to raise her son.
Did You Know? Until age 9, Eric believed that his mother was actually his sister.960 1280
London's West End
Intrigued by the blues at an early age after hearing records by B.B. King and Buddy Guy — among others — Eric learned to play guitar as a young teenager, receiving his first instrument at 13. He spent the next couple of years busking around London’s West End and the suburbs of Richmond and Kingston, trying to make a name for himself.
Did You Know? In 2000, Clapton released the certified multiplatinum album Riding With the King with one of his idols, blues legend B.B. King.960 1280
At age 17, after working alongside his grandfather as a bricklayer, Eric turned his full attention to music, earning his reputation by playing with local bands including the Roosters and Casey Jones & the Engineers. However, it wasn’t until October 1963 that Eric cultivated his style and became known as the best R&B guitar player on the English pub circuit, joining Keith Relf, Paul Samwell-Smith, Jim McCarty and Chris Dreja as a member of the Yardbirds.
Did You Know? Eric got the nickname "Slowhand" from the Yardbirds’ manager, because when he would break a string, he would stay on stage to fix it and receive a slow handclap from the crowd.960 1280
Clapton Is God
Eric left the Yardbirds after 18 months because of the group’s increasingly commercial sound and joined John Mayall’s band, the Bluesbreakers. It was during this time that he received his second nickname, “God,” after a superfan wrote “Clapton is God” in graffiti on the wall of London’s Islington Tube station.
Did You Know? Eric Clapton has been a part of 9 different bands in his career: the Roosters, Casey Jones & the Engineers, the Yardbirds, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Cream, Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, Blind Faith, Derek and the Dominos, and Legends.960 1280
Royal Albert Hall
Eric solidified his position as rock’s premier guitarist, elevating himself to superstar status as part of England’s first successful supergroup, Cream, alongside singer/bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker. After touring the US and receiving worldwide acclaim for their albums Fresh Cream, Disraeli Gears and Wheels of Fire, Cream disbanded because of several factors, primarily the members’ egos. Their final show as a band was on Nov. 26, 1968, at Royal Albert Hall in London. To date, Eric has played 198 shows at the world-famous arena, including a reunion show with the members of Cream 37 years after they called it quits.
Did You Know? The blues and psychedelic-rock style performed by Cream exemplified Eric’s distorted yet heavy guitar sound, which would later be dubbed the “woman tone.”960 1280
'Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs'
Shortly after becoming close friends with the Beatles’ George Harrison in the late 1960s, Eric Clapton formed the band Derek and the Dominos, bringing in Jim Gordon, Bobby Whitlock and Carl Radle. It was during this time that Eric fell in love with George’s wife, Pattie Boyd, and created the concept album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. Eric eventually shared the song Layla with Pattie, telling her that she was the inspiration and professing his love for her. It wasn’t until 9 years later, after her divorce from George, that the 2 were married and moved into Clapton’s Hurtwood Edge Estate in Ewhurst, England.
Did You Know? George Harrison was the best man at Eric and Pattie’s wedding.960 1280
Don't Call It a Comeback
Although Eric and Pattie finally married in 1979, his love for her went unrequited for several years beforehand, forcing Eric into seclusion and leading him into a 3-year downward spiral induced by his overuse of heroin. Finally cleaning himself up, Eric returned to the spotlight in 1973, when he played back-to-back concerts, organized by Pete Townshend of the Who, at London’s Rainbow Theatre.
Did You Know? Eric and Pattie’s marriage lasted for just less than 10 years. He married Melia McEnery in 2002, and they have 3 daughters, Julie Rose, Ella Mae and Sophie.960 1280
Known as one of the most iconic shows ever performed by Eric, the short-but-sweet, 4-song Live Aid set — which included White Room, She’s Waiting and Layla — elevated Slowhand’s career to new heights. He took the stage at John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia on July 13, 1985, and found a new audience at the worldwide charity event.
Did You Know? Live Aid was a dual-venue event that took place simultaneously at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia and Wembley Stadium in London.960 1280
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
In the 1990s, Eric Patrick Clapton was honored twice by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland — in 1992 as a member of the Yardbirds, and then again in 1993 as a member of Cream. On March 6, 2000, Clapton was once again brought into the fold by the foundation’s committee, as he was inducted to the hall as a solo artist as well.
Did You Know? Eric is the only musician in history to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 3 times.960 1280
Madison Square Garden
After several years of well-documented substance and alcohol abuse, as well as his courageous effort to get and remain clean, Eric opened Crossroads Centre, a drug-treatment facility on the Caribbean island of Antigua, in 1998 as a safe haven for those experiencing similar addictions. In a very successful attempt to raise funds for the center, Eric held a benefit concert in 1999 at the world-renowned Madison Square Garden in New York City. That event later developed into the Crossroads Guitar Festival.
Did You Know? There have been 5 Crossroads benefit concerts to date, the last occurring in 2013, again at MSG.960 1280
At Buckingham Palace in late 2004, Eric Clapton, now one of Britain’s most beloved rock stars, was honored with one of the United Kingdom’s most prestigious awards, being made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, or CBE, for his incredible services to the music industry. Among the vast amounts of praise heaped upon Eric throughout his career, he ranks second on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.
Did You Know? Eric has won or shared 18 Grammy Awards, including the lifetime-achievement award in 2006.960 1280
Waddesdon ManorThe 12,000-acre estate of Haxby Park in Downton Abbey owes its impressive exterior to Waddesdon Manor. The sprawling country estate in Buckinghamshire, England, was built between 1874 and 1898 for Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild. Downton’s Mary calls the house large and rather vulgar; we call it rather divine. 960 1280
Leeds, EnglandDownton Abbey is set in Yorkshire County, with local cities such as Leeds mentioned in the show. The thriving city is home to more than 750,000 people, and can trace its history back to the 5th century, when the Celtic’s Kingdom of Elmet was covered by the forest of "Loidis," the origin of the name Leeds. 960 1280
Highclere CastleWelcome to the real Downton Abbey. Since 1679, this sprawling, 1,000-acre estate in Hampshire, England, has been home to the aristocratic Carnarvon family. Tours of the castle include the gardens and woodlands, as well as the state rooms, such as the library, which is home to nearly 6,000 books. 960 1280
County of YorkshireThis historic county in Northern England serves as the fictional location for the series. With its gently rolling hills, the countryside has earned the nickname of, “God’s Own County.” That’s no exaggeration; within its borders, the county contains some of the greenest areas in all of England. 960 1280
Rise Hall in AkenhamDownton’s gripping World War I scenes were filmed in Suffolk, near the village of Akenham. While you’re touring this stretch of Eastern England, check out the village: home to just 60 residents, with landmarks such this Georgian building on the site of an ancient manor house. 960 1280
YorkThis city in North Yorkshire, England, was the site of one of the series’ most dramatic moments: John Bates’s trial for the murder of his wife, Vera. (Spoiler alert: a mutual acquaintance later helped to clear Mr. Bates’s name.) Pictured here is a city landmark, York Castle, a fortified complex build up over 9 centuries. 960 1280
Downton Abbey's Must-See Locations 10 Photos
Monte Carlo HarborCheck out these magnificent yachts docked in Monte Carlo Harbor, the rich-and-famous playground that served as a location for the James Bond movie GoldenEye. Take in the impressive sights of rococo buildings and mountains on the Bateau Bus (water taxi) or hop aboard a yacht cruise. 960 1280
Oceanographic MuseumRising from the cliff-side rocks, the Oceanographic Museum is home to a treasure trove of sea life: seahorses, sharks, cuttlefish, sea cucumbers and more. The building itself is a monumental work of art: It took 11 years to build, using 100,000 tons of stone from southeastern France. The museum marked its 100th anniversary in 2010. 960 1280
Prince’s Palace of MonacoTake a tour of the Prince’s Palace. For the past 700 years, these stately grounds have been home to the Grimaldi dynasty -- most notably, the late Prince Rainier III and the glamorous movie star-turned-princess, Grace Kelly. The palace’s state rooms are open to the public during the summer. 960 1280
Hotel de ParisRelax in the heart of Monaco at the Hotel de Paris. This luxury resort hotel opened in 1863; today it’s regularly listed on the annual Conde Nast Traveler Gold List. Strike gold with exceptional dining (3 restaurant choices, showcasing Mediterranean gourmet dishes), along with airy, spacious rooms like this. 960 1280
Opera de Monte CarloTake in a performance at the Opera de Monte Carlo. The opera house opened in 1879, commissioned by the Grimaldi family to showcase Monte Carlo as more than a Riviera playground. Today the opera house presents classical musical performances, ballet and philharmonic acts -- all from the small-yet-luxurious comfort of this 524-seat auditorium. 960 1280
Palace Changing of the GuardsRound the clock, these officers stand guard outside of the Prince’s Palace of Monaco. See the stately Changing of the Guard each day at 11:55 a.m. The guards themselves are composed of an infantry division with 119 officers and sentry. Their motto: “Honor, loyalty, devotion.” 960 1280
Larvotto BeachSoak up the sun on Larvotto Beach. Set against a backdrop of luxury apartment buildings, this glamorous beach is home to high-end restaurants showcasing seasonal local seafood (grilled sardines, mussels and more), as well as jet-ski and sea-kayak rentals to cool off in the refreshing Mediterranean waters. 960 1280
Le Metropole Shopping CenterYou can’t leave Monaco without doing some shopping, so head to the Metropole! This shopping gallery spans 3 floors, with 80 boutiques (and names like Kenzo and Swarovski) that define exclusive. Lest all this proves too pricey for your credit card, there’s always plenty of window-shopping to enjoy, accompanied by glittering period chandeliers. 960 1280
Monte Carlo Casino"Bond, James Bond." It's here, at the Monte Carlo Casino, that our favorite British spy uttered those words. Step into this world of cool, decadent entertainment, and try your hand at blackjack, stud poker and Trente et Quarante, a 17th-century gambling card game that hails from France … you might just win. 960 1280
Monaco Grand PrixTake a supercar test-drive at the Monaco Grand Prix. Held each year on the Circuit de Monaco, the race has attracted a bevy of Hollywood A-listers through the years, including film producer George Lucas and actor Leonardo di Caprio. The first run began in 1929; today the annual race makes up the Triple Crown of the racing world. 960 1280
Helicopter Tour of Monte CarloFeel like James Bond and see Monaco by helicopter! Take in incredible aerial views of Monte Carlo’s most jaw-dropping attractions -- the Prince’s Palace, the Monte Carlo Casino and the Monaco Grand Prix racetrack -- along with the sheer beauty of this stretch of French Riviera coastline. 960 1280
Prince of Monaco’s Vintage Car CollectionA prince needs his cars. See nearly 100 classic cars of all makes and models that make up this high-priced collection. How pricey? When the Prince of Monaco auctioned off 38 cars from his massive collection, the asking price for one of the oldest was about $43,000. See the luxury car collection yourself at the Terraces de Fontvieille, a museum and multipurpose hall. 960 1280
Things to Do in Monte Carlo 12 Photos