Thursday, 10 September 2009


One thing I learned from the sleevenotes to the deluxe CD version of Five Live Yardbirds was the true derivation of Eric Clapton’s nickname. I’d always assumed that ‘Slowhand’ was an ironic reference to the speed with which his fingers moved up and down the guitar when he was playing a solo – in much the same way as tall men sometimes used to be called ‘Titch’.

Not so. According to Yardbirds rhythm guitarist Chris Dreja, Clapton used to use very light strings made for ukuleles, as they were easier to bend. Being so thin, they frequently broke, so Eric would have to restring his guitar between numbers. Frustrated at the delay, the audience would start slow handclapping – hence the nickname ‘Slowhand’ Clapton.

I just thought I’d share that with you.

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