The legendary guitarist and singer Eric Clapton was born in Ripley, Surrey, England in 1945, starting his musical career at an early age in 1962. Before having a very successful solo career after the 70s, he was part of many important groups such as The Yardbirds, John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, Cream and Blind Faith.
Although his main inspiration is the Blues, the musician was always seeing the evolution of Rock and Pop music up-close, since he was in the music business since the 60s, when everything was taken to another level. He even mentioned a musician who he thinks that is a real “Pop Genius”.
The musician that Eric Clapton said is a Pop genius
It’s certainly not easy to be a very successful musician like Eric Clapton had the chance to be in almost every band he was part of, what made him even be called a “God” in the early days. Only during his solo career, he has sold an estimated amount of more than 280 million records worldwide. Which makes him one of the best-selling musicians of all time.
But some say it might be even harder to compose simple but brilliant pop songs that became part of the pop culture. That’s what made Clapton say that the legendary Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson is a “Pop Genius”.
In a quote from Brian Wilson’ website, the guitarist said: “I consider ‘Pet Sounds’ to be one of the greatest pop LPs to ever be released. It encompasses everything that’s ever knocked me out and rolled it all into one. Brian Wilson is, without a doubt, a pop genius.”
Clapton didn’t came to that conclusion recently, he had been saying that since 1966, when he was aksed by Melody Maker magazine (Made available by Yesterday’s Papers), to rate the groundbreaking Beach Boys album “Pet Sounds”.
“All of us, Ginger, Jack and I, are absolutely and completely knocked out with Pet Sounds. I consider it to be one of the greatest Pop LPs to ever be released. It encompasses everything that’s ever knocked me out, and rolled it all into one. We’re all gassed by it. Brian Wilson is without doubt, a pop genius,” Eric Clapton said.
Eric Clapton said that “Pet Sounds” inspired Cream’s songwriting
After being a member of The Yarbirds and John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, Eric Clapton co-created Cream, the band that is often called “Rock and Roll’s first supergroup”. Also with the drummer Ginger Baker and bassist/singer Jack Bruce, Cream became one of the greatest bands that appeared in the 60s. They showed that Rock and Roll could be heavier and louder.
In an interview for the 1998 Documentary “Imagination” (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage), Clapton revealed that the “Pet Sounds” album was curiously one of the main inspirations for Cream’s songwriting in the early days.
“‘I Get Around’, I was playing a gig with The Yardbirds or John Mayall, maybe. The DJ had got that, there was a DJ playing records. Even then believe it or not, we had a DJ. He played ‘I Get Around’.”
“It was like “It’s over’. We were forming Cream when ‘Pet Sounds’ came out. Actually that became the primarly influence for a lot of the songwriting. We couldn’t get it, but we would listen to that album non-stop,” Eric Clapton said.
Clapton and Brian Wilson already recorded and performed together live
Over the decades, the British and the American musician had the chance to meet each other and also record together. Clapton was a special guest on Wilson’s 2004 solo album “Gettin’ In over My Head”. He played lead guitar on the track “City Blues”.
They had already performed together live two years before, in 2002. The meeting happened at the “Party at The Palace” in Buckingham Palace in London. The event was made to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. During that presentation, Clapton joined Wilson on stage to perform The Beach Boys track “The Warmth Of The Sun”. That song was first released as a single in 1964.