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October 28

Get Your Tissues Ready For Eric Clapton’s “Tears In Heaven” Debut in MTV Unplugged

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Eric Clapton’s “Tears In Heaven” is definitely one of the most emotional songs in music history.

Back in 1992, Clapton debuted the song in front of three-hundred music fans at Bray Studios, Berkshire, England for MTV Unplugged – little did they know a music history would be made that night.

Not only it became the series’ highest-rated show, but the performance was made into a very successful album, Unplugged, which topped numerous charts, including the US, Japan, and Australia. “Tears In Heaven,” on the other hand, became Clapton’s best-selling single in the United States, reaching No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. 

In his home country in the United Kingdom, the song peaked at No. 5 on the UK Singles Chart while charting Top 10 in over twenty nations worldwide. It went on winning three Grammy Awards for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year. Clapton was nominated for a total of nine Grammys that year, and he took home six of it.

This Is Probably The Most Emotional Song You’ll Ever Hear 

Written by Eric Clapton himself with the help of Will Jennings, “Tears In Heaven” is a song in memory of Clapton’s four-year-old son, who died following a tragic incident. Conor Clapton accidentally fell from the 53rd floor of an apartment where his mother and Clapton’s then-wife, Lory Del Santo, stayed in New York City.

After isolating himself for a period to deal with the grief of his son’s death, Clapton started working again and was enlisted to write a song for the 1991 film Rush.

“Eric and I were engaged to write a song for a movie called Rush. We wrote a song called ‘Help Me Up’ for the end of the movie… then Eric saw another place in the movie for a song, and he said to me, ‘I want to write a song about my boy,'” Jennings recalled.

Though Clapton already had the song’s first verse, he wanted Jennings to write the rest of the verse lines. Jennings told him “that it was so personal he should write everything himself,” but being the caliber songwriter Jennings is, Clapton insisted. 

“Finally, there was nothing else but to do as he requested, despite the sensitivity of the subject. This is a song so personal and so sad that it is unique in my experience of writing songs,” Jennings said.

When the song was finally done, Clapton got a little confused if he should release the song at all, but the director of Rush convinced him to use it in the film. “Her argument was that it might in some way help somebody, and that got my vote,” Clapton said. The song can be heard playing near the end of the film.

When Eric Clapton Decided To Stop Playing The Song

In 2004, Clapton decided to stop playing “Tears In Heaven” as well as “My Father’s Eyes.” While he was touring Japan a year before that, Clapton discovered he could no longer perform these songs.

“I didn’t feel the loss anymore, which is so much a part of performing those songs. I really have to connect with the feelings that were there when I wrote them. They’re kind of gone, and I really don’t want them to come back, particularly,” he said. “My life is different now. They probably just need a rest, and maybe I’ll introduce them for a much more detached point of view.”

Without a doubt, the death of his son was perhaps the darkest moment in Clapton’s life, yet it led to one of his best pieces of work. Tune in and watch Eric Clapton’s heart-tugging performance of “Tears In Heaven,” but make sure you keep your tissues nearby.


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Eric Clapton


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