Eric Patrick Clapton was born on 30 March 1945 in his grandparents' home in Surrey as his mother Patricia was just 16-years-old and his father, Canadian soldier Edward Walter Fryer, had returned to his wife in his native country before Eric's birth.
He was raised by his grandparents and was told that his mother was his sister. He grew up in a musical household with his grandfather being an accomplished piano player.
When Clapton was nine-years-old he learned the truth of his parentage, which affected him deeply turning him into a moody and distant child. He failed his 11+ and attended St Bede's Secondary Modern School before studying art at Holyfield Road School.
At the age of 13, Clapton turned his hand to learning to play the inexpensive Hoyer guitar but found it too difficult. He then learned to play the Stratocaster guitar for which he is most famous.
Clapton was a guitarist in quite a few bands, before he first found chart success with the Yardbirds in the mid-Sixties. Their single, 'For Your Love', reached number two in the UK chart in 1964. From this point on, his skill as a distinctive guitarist was revered.
He joined John Mayall's Bluebreakers briefly, and then formed Cream in 1966. The unwanted fame that Clapton found in this trio led him to produce work under different names. He and George Harrison worked together under the names Delaney and Bonnie. It was whilst he was part of Derek and the Dominos that he wrote one of his most famous tracks, 'Layla'.
He was a popular guest guitarist and worked with artists such as The Beatles, Aretha Franklin and Frank Zappa. He released his first solo album, entitled 'Eric Clapton', in 1970. This showed the strong influence of JJ Cale on his work.
Throughout the early 1970s he was battling with heroin addiction, which he overcame through acupuncture and a short retirement.
His next solo album of 1974 was entitled '461 Ocean Boulevard' and again showed off his mellow guitar playing. His version of Bob Marley's 'I Shot the Sheriff' was on this album, and reached number one as a single.
Clapton married Pattie Boyd Harrison on 27 March 1979. They had no children together and divorced in 1989. Clapton did, however, have a son called Conor in 1986 with TV personality Lori De Santo.
He continued his solo recordings in the '70s and '80s with albums such as 'No Reason To Cry', 'Backless' and 'Behind The Sun'. Phil Collins produced his 1986 album, 'August', which was said to be his best work in years.
In the early '90s, Clapton was struck by tragedy; three members of his crew were killed in a helicopter crash, and his young son Conor died in another tragic accident within a year.
Clapton announced the opening of the Crossroads Centre in February 1998, which is a rehabilitation centre for drug and alcohol abuse in Antigua, with the aim of helping poor people in the Caribbean.
He has continued to play and record, and his 1998 album, 'Pilgrim', was critically acclaimed. This was followed by 'Riding with the King' in 2000, which saw Clapton return to his blues roots as he recorded the project with BB King. It went gold within three weeks of being released.
On 1 January 2002, Clapton married Melia McEnery. They have three daughters together.
In March 2001, he released his next solo album entitled 'Reptile' before returning to the studio to work on enough songs for his next two albums including covers of Robert Johnson songs for 'Me and Mr Johnson' in 2004. The solo material was released in 2005 on the album 'Back Home'.
The same year, Cream reunited for four shows at the Royal Albert Hall and three at New York's Madison Square Garden.
He released his next album in collaboration with JJ Cale in 2006. It was entitled 'The Road To Escondido'. It won the Best Contemporary Blues Album at the Grammys. He continues to tour the world. His latest albums are 'Clapton' (2010) and 'Old Sock' (2013).
Clapton is the only triple inductee into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, either as an individual or in a group, and has won a total of 18 Grammy awards.