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The tragedy behind Eric Clapton’s Tears in Heaven

Eric Clapton's iconic song Tears in Heaven has a heartbreaking story behind it.

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If you’re a Classic Rock or Blues fan, there is no chance you haven’t heard of Eric Clapton. He did things with his guitar that most musicians can only dream of. He, along with the late B.B. King dominated the Blues and changed rock for all times to come. Moreover, his relationship with the Beatles, especially George Harrison also resulted in some iconic songs. The Rolling Stones Magazine also ranked him as the 2nd most influential guitarist of all time, right after Hendrix. These credentials mean that he needs no introduction. But one of his songs stands out because of the raw sadness he shows in it. In this article, we will see the tragedy that inspired Eric Clapton to write Tears in Heaven.

Tears in Heaven – one of the saddest songs of all time

Tears in Heaven first appeared in the public in 1991, as a part of the soundtrack of the movie “Rush”. The song instantly caught the ear of many Soft Rock fans and ended up bagging 3 Grammy Awards in 1993. Moreover, the Rolling Stones Magazine’s Reader’s Poll ranked it as the saddest song of all time in their reader’s poll. However, once we get to see the inspiration behind this song, we can barely imagine the pain Eric Clapton went through while writing this song.

Eric’s son Conor Clapton – The tragedy behind it

The tragedy behind Eric Clapton's Tears in Heaven
Eric Clapton | Twitter

The real story that inspired Clapton to write this song was his son Conor’s death. On the 20th of March 1991, Eric’s son Conor fell to his death from the 53rd floor of a New York City Apartment Building. What hurts, even more, is that he was barely 4 years old at the time. After that, Eric went into months of isolation after this tragedy and eventually returned to compose the soundtrack of “Rush”. In it, he included this song as a memorial for his beloved son. For years, Clapton used his music to deal with the emotional pain he felt with his son’s death.

Every verse of this song breaks your heart.

“Would you know my name,
if I saw you in Heaven?”

“Would you help me stand,
If I saw you in heaven?”

These are heartfelt words from the aching heart of a father for his deceased son.

“Beyond the door, there’s peace I’m sure,
and I know there’ll be no more tears in heaven”

These verses indicated that time in Eric Clapton’s life when he’ll finally be able to move on from the pain, and that time came for him in 2004. After that, he stopped performing this song, saying that he has moved past the emotional distress.

Tears in Heaven can move anyone’s soul into tears. However, once you understand the context and the pain Eric Clapton went through, it gains a whole different meaning. We hope Conor rests in peace and his father has moved on from the unimaginable pain.

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