Eric Clapton is unquestionably one of the most influential guitarists in the history of blues and rock ’n’ roll. The English guitarist was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame three times—once as a solo musician and also as a member of The Yardbirds and Cream. In addition, he was known for his work with John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, Blind Faith and Derek and the Dominos, and over the years, he’s played with all the big names in rock ’n’ roll like B.B. King, John Lennon, Chuck Berry, Steve Winwood, Buddy Guy, Pete Townsend, Carlos Santana, Keith Richards, Phil Collins and more.
The ’70s marked the start of Clapton’s solo career as he released six full-length albums throughout the decade. In 1976, Clapton had just released his fourth solo album, No Reason to Cry, which featured Bob Dylan along with members of The Band. On this day in 1976, Clapton was touring in support of his latest album and he performed at Houston’s Sam Houston Coliseum. This particular live show was originally recorded for the King Biscuit Flower Hour—an American syndicated radio show—and although we only have two songs from this performance, it’s enough to gauge his mastery of the guitar and American blues music.
These two songs feature lead vocals from longtime collaborator Marcy Levy and Yvonne Elliman. They perform Clapton’s “One Night With You” and “Can’t Find My Way Home” from Blind Faith (the 1969 supergroup featuring Clapton, Steve Winwood, Ginger Baker and Ric Grech). Also performing with Clapton here is his second guitarist George Terry, keyboardist Dick Sims, drummer Jaime Oldacker and the late Carl Radle, who was also the bassist in Derek and the Dominos. “One Night With You” is a seductive slow-tempo blues track with Clapton’s crying licks and Sims’ playful organ flourishes while “Can’t Find My Way Home” opens with mellow acoustic guitar and a passionate harmonica solo until the last minute or so slowly explodes into a melodic, fiery blues climax.
Listen to Eric Clapton perform on this day in 1976 below.