Eric Clapton: his sister – mother – grandmother


eric clapton
by sarasmile – Eric Clapton at a concert in London. (1967) By © Shepard Sherbell/CORBIS SABA


Eric Patrick Clapton, was born on March 30, 1945, in the Surrey village of Ripley.

His real father was a pilot but he didn’t find that out until he was 53. His mother, Patricia Molly Clapton, was only 16 years old when she met Edward Walter Fryer, a Canadian soldier stationed in Britain during the Second World War, who played the piano and sang at clubs to earn extra money.

When she became pregnant, her mother and step father agreed to raise the baby as their own, including telling him he was their son and his mother was his sister.

When Eric was only a few years old, Patricia married another Canadian military man, and moved to Canada and Germany with him as he continued his career in the army. She also decided to go on acting the part of Eric’s sister.

At the age of nine the boy was told the truth by his grandmother, but he remained with his grandparents and he and his real mother continued to play the part of brother and sister. However, he became moody and distant, and turned to the guitar as an outlet for his disordered emotions, developing an affinity for the bittersweet sounds of the Mississippi Delta blues.

Clapton never met his father, who died of leukemia long before Eric found out something about him other than his name, which his grandmother had told him. Edward Walter Fryer died almost penniless: he only owned a sailboat named Jupiter IV. We don’t know if he was aware of the fact that he was the father of one of the greatest guitarists in rock history.


7 thoughts on “Eric Clapton: his sister – mother – grandmother

  1. Similar story to Robbie Robertson, whose real father was only revealed to him in his teens. Who knows whether we would have had the gift of Eric’s gifts, his tap into the “blues”, had he had a normal childhood? Some attribute Joni Mitchell’s use of her wonderful and unique open guitar tuning to her early bout of polio, which made it difficult for her to form bar chords. Life’s strange and cruel, but sometimes for the better.

    Liked by 1 person

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