Eric Clapton

Behind the Sun

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Although he is universally considered among the most important figures in rock & roll, Eric Clapton has not had consistent success in translating his stature into record sales, partially because he is, in essence, a great blues guitarist rather than a great pop/rock singer/songwriter. Clapton's career was in decline in the early '80s when he switched record labels from Polydor to Warner Bros., and his debut Warner album, Money and Cigarettes, became his first to fall below gold record status in more than six years. As a result, Warner looked critically at his follow-up, the Phil Collins-produced Behind the Sun, in the fall of 1984 and rejected the first version submitted, insisting that he record several new songs written by Jerry Williams, backed by Los Angeles session players under the auspices of company producers Lenny Waronker and Ted Templeman. Warner then emphasized the new tracks, releasing two of them, "Forever Man" (which reached the Top 40) and "See What Love Can Do," as singles. The resulting album, not surprisingly, was somewhat schizophrenic. It was hard to believe that Warner could have heard the leadoff track, "She's Waiting," and not realized its potential to be a hit single, though the company may have been correct in thinking that the album as a whole was competent without being very exciting. The added tracks were not bad (and, in fact, Clapton later would add session players Nathan East and Greg Phillinganes to his band), but they were not the sure-fire hits they were supposed to be. As usual, there was some effective guitar soloing (notably on "Same Old Blues"), but despite the tinkering, Behind the Sun was not among Clapton's best -- although it went gold after nearly two years in release.

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