Guest Author - Chris Curtis
Best known for his Blues style, Eric Clapton’s most moving song is a ballad co-written with song writer Will Jennings. This song, filled with raw emotion, was dedicated to Eric’s 4 year old son, Conor. Conor died on March 20th, 1991 from injuries suffered when he fell from an open window on the 53rd floor of his mother’s Manhattan apartment.
The song was written in a period of deep grief felt from the loss of his son and close friends Stevie Ray Vaughn, Colin Smythe and Nigel Browne, all who had died in a helicopter crash a few months earlier. Tears in Heaven was in its early stage of development when Eric was approached to contribute a song about loss for the movie Rush. A topic he seemed to know far too much about at the time. He completed the song for the movie. It was released in January, 1992.
The song rose quickly in the charts as fans related to the raw personal emotions conveyed by the words of the song. In the early days, weeks, and months following the song’s release, Eric would be overcome by emotion when playing it. He’d anger over the fan’s enthusiastic applause that would seemingly overwhelm his performance. His feelings were so raw with vulnerability and an inability to make sense of the tragedy in his life. He did not realize that the fan’s reactions were a way of showing support for the sadness he was feeling. Instead, fan’s chanting, yelling, applauding, and whistling seemed irreverent to an inconsolable Clapton as he struggled to get past the pain and grief.
Blues as a genre, conveys raw emotions. A good blues song, sung by a talented blues artist can raise emotions of pain, grief, anger and of course, joy and happiness. Blues are meant to make you feel. Clapton has been admired for his ability to sing and play the blues like no one before him. You can literally feel his emotion when he is performing the blues. The emotion is inherent in his talent and contributes to his greatness as a blues performer. Without it, Clapton would simply be just another blues artist. Although Tears in Heaven is a ballad, it too hits an emotional cord especially when sung from the heart as no one else but Clapton can do.
Here are the Lyrics to this powerful and most beautiful song.
Tears in Heaven