No matter how many hits a recording artist may have to their name, there’s always some song - and generally more than one - that didn’t end up making its way as high up the singles chart as it really should’ve...and as you might’ve guessed from the title of this piece, yes, that includes Eric Clapton. Join us as we take a look back through a selection of singles from our man Eric’s ‘80s and ‘90s output that never got their due...and since it’s never too late to appreciate a good tune, why not go ahead and give ‘em a good listen right now?
“Slow Down Linda” (1983)
During the years when he’s earned his most substantial chart success, many hardcore Clapton fans have complained that his material was too poppy and not nearly as bluesy as it ought to be. With this little ditty from the album Money and Cigarettes, Clapton delivered a nice happy medium between the two, earning zero chart action both in the U.S. and in the U.K. So much for trying to meet in the middle.
“Edge of Darkness” (1985)
We’re cheating a little bit with this one by including a live version of the song, which wasn’t a single, but it’s such an amazing performance that we decided to throw caution to the wind. This tune was the theme to the 1985 British TV series of the same name, so well-regarded in the U.K. that it won the Ivor Novello Award for songwriting and composing as well as the 1986 BAFTA Award for Best Music. Meanwhile, here in the U.S., however, it’s barely even known, but now’s your chance to get to know it.
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“Behind the Mask” (1986)
Okay, first of all, no matter what you may hear from the purists, there’s no reason Clapton should have to apologize for that wall of keyboards that kicks off this track. It was ’86, people. The man was playing to the masses with his August album, and he did it well. Extremely well, in fact. With the female backing vocals and his inimitable soloing, it’s a perfect example of what Clapton should’ve been doing at that point in time if he wanted to score a hit...and, in fact, he did score a hit with this track in the U.K., taking it to No. 15. In the U.S., however, it went nowhere.
“Run So Far” (1989)
You don’t have to be a frothing-at-the-mouth Beatlemaniac to be able to identify the guitar stylings of George Harrison on this tune, since the first string-slinging you hear on this track from Clapton’s Journeyman album is unmistakably the work of “The Quiet One.” In fact, this is actually a Harrison-penned song, albeit one that George himself wouldn’t actually release in his lifetime, although it did emerge posthumously on his 2002 album Brainwashed. This version, however, is particularly wonderful, as it features Clapton and Harrison harmonizing throughout. Maybe that’s why it at least managed to make it onto the Hot 100, even if it never got any higher than No. 88. Still, that’s better than it did in the U.K., where it didn’t chart at all.
Read More: How Pattie Boyd Inspired Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight"
“(I) Get Lost” (1999)
No matter how you slice it, this is unquestionably the song on this list that you’re least likely to have heard, because it made its debut not on a Clapton album but on the soundtrack to The Story of Us, a critically-maligned romantic dramedy starring Bruce Willis and Michelle Pfeiffer. Additionally, although Clapton penned the score for the film, this was only one of two Clapton-penned tracks to feature vocals, with the other being a live version of “Wonderful Tonight.” Although released as a single, it failed to chart in either the U.S. or the U.K. (although it did make it into the top 30 in Japan), and that’s even with the song being included as the closing track on the 1999 greatest-hits compilation, Clapton Chronicles: The Best of Eric Clapton. We can’t explain why it wasn’t more popular, but we can at least do our part to remind people that it’s quite a lovely little tune.
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