Hy-Notes: Eric Clapton – Life In 12 Bars

5 Of The Coolest Things I Learned:

  1. Clapton left The Yardbirds after “For Your Love,” because he felt he the song was “too pop” and he was becoming a sell out.
  2. Derek And The Dominos unofficially formed while they all played together on George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass.
  3. Played on Aretha Franklin records while recording with Cream in New York City.
  4. One of the ways Clapton was an innovator – wanted mics placed further away from his instrument as opposed to up close as to better emulate a live performance.
  5. The name “Layla” is a character in an Arabian forbidden love story.



Life In 12 Bars is a thorough portrait of pop music’s most famous nomad. Clapton’s downright tragic childhood prevents the requisite “early years” portion from feeling like filler and establishes a gripping pace. There’s a racing through Clapton’s many projects (blink and you may miss The Yardbirds segment) with very little belaboring over their beginnings and ends. As this documentary progresses however it becomes less about the music and more about Clapton’s personal trials and, ultimately, triumph. While it’s convenient to write off nearly 12 years of his solo output as “the alcohol years,” there’s a considerable amount of great music that’s unfortunately left in its wake by being lumped together. Clapton is a very matter-of-fact interview subject which could be seen as a deficiency but it works because he’s positioned as a pseudo off-screen narrator.

Rating: 4.5/5


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