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Editors’ Notes

Eric Clapton later revealed that his intention for 1998’s Pilgrim was “to make the saddest record of all time.” The album addresses the two losses that cast a shadow on all of Clapton's post-'80s music: the 1985 death of the father he'd never met and the accidental 1991 death of his four-year-old son. These two tragedies are connected in “My Father’s Eyes,” a confession and elegy disguised in a midtempo gospel pop structure. In “Circus,” the other keystone song here, Clapton recalls the last day he spent with his son and then turns the image of the circus into a metaphor for devastation: “And it's sad, so sad, there ain't no easy way 'round/And it's sad, so sad, all you friends gather 'round/'Cause the circus left town.” Musically, the album leans heavily on the contemporary R&B that Clapton honed after his collaboration with Babyface; it also contains traces of his burgeoning interest in dance music. The modernized programming was a turnoff for some of Clapton’s fans, but even when it’s built on mechanized beats, Pilgrim stands among the most delicate and vulnerable works of his career.

Customer Reviews

This is Eric

This is a great cd , if you have the time which none of us have anymore.To cut it short my favorites are in this order She's Gone,Fall Like Rain,Broken Hearted ,My Father's Eyes,Pilgrim,One Chance,Born in Time, and of coarse a must have or just to hear Sick and Tired.

Underrated album

I've been a Clapton fan for years and appreciate every phase of his career. While I've not been a big fan of his more recent work, Pilgrim is an exception. My Father's Eyes got the airplay and it's a fine recording, but the better tracks include River of Tears and Broken Hearted. River of Tears is classic blues balladry with lyrics and music that make me cry every time I hear them. While I wish Clapton would do more acoustic work like on his Unplugged release, which really highlight his Guitar God reputation, Pilgrim is his best record of the 90's aside from Unplugged.


Brokenhearted is a song that sounds especially compelling when stripped down to just acoustic guitar and Eric's voice as he performed it in the round at the end of a VH1 Behind the Music special some years ago. The studio recording is still great but sounds more restrained compared to the VH1 outro. A sadly overlooked phenomenal song. Brokenhearted was the reason for my purchasing this album. My Father's Eyes is a good song also but the rest of the album was forgettable for me.


Born: March 30, 1945 in Ripley, Surrey, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

By the time Eric Clapton launched his solo career with the release of his self-titled debut album in mid-1970, he was long established as one of the world's major rock stars due to his group affiliations -- the Yardbirds, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Cream, and Blind Faith -- which had demonstrated his claim to being the best rock guitarist of his generation. That it took Clapton so long to go out on his own, however, was evidence of a degree of reticence unusual for one of his stature. And his debut...
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