Today in Music History: Eric Clapton becomes the first person to be inducted three times


In his lengthy career, guitarist and singer Eric Clapton has had a number of accolades bestowed upon him. Among them Britain’s best blues player. But in 2000, he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for the third time. He has been the only person to attain that distinction. The induction in 2000 was for Clapton’s solo work. Previously, he had been inducted as part of The Yardbirds and Cream.

A host of other artists, including Michael Jackson, Curtis Mayfield, Lou Reed, Paul Simon, and Clapton’s fellow Yardbirds, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page, among others have all been in twice. Clapton’s three-time induction made him stand out a little bit. The noteworthy accomplishment has not been broken in 20 years.

Clapton’s style

If for nothing else, Clapton should be appreciated for his style. Even the projects that didn’t get him into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame are worth examining. There is the growling and searing guitar work that marked his Derek and the Dominoes era, and brought the world the classic, “Layla.” Clapton would reprise this song in the 1990s as part of Music Television’s “Unplugged” series, and his subsequent acoustic treatment, plus the harmonic sounds of background singers, all made Clapton a musical hero to many.

Of course, his work with The Yardbirds and Cream is legendary. Much has been written about Cream lately, with the somewhat recent passing of Ginger Baker. However, the twisting and dark sounds of songs like “Strange Brew” and “White Room,” cannot be discontinued.

Also noteworthy is Clapton’s contribution to “The Color of Money” (1986) soundtrack. “It’s In the Way That You Use It” features fantastic wordplay that also harnesses universal truths, while treating listeners to the guitar groove that Clapton is known for.

In the 1970s, Clapton had a string of hits, some of which were covers, that helped to reintroduce him to people who had perhaps not known about his earlier career. Covers such as “I Shot the Sheriff” and “Cocaine” re-positioned Clapton as a household name if he had not been before.

Clapton’s list of collaborative works, his best singles, and even the songs best-loved by diehard fans, all make the case for his inclusion in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. That he has been in three times and no one else has, is noteworthy.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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