Tuesday, April 25, 2023

"Pretending" by Eric Clapton

Song#:  4110
Date:  11/18/1989
Debut:  83
Peak:  55
Weeks:  11
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Navigating the musical waters of the 80s was a bit difficult for Clapton. Although out of his first four studio LPs of the decade two would go gold and one platinum (thanks in part to a rabid fan base and three #1 Rock track), Pop Top 10 hits eluded him with the exception of the '81 #10 "I Can't Stand It." That streak would continue with this first single from his last studio album of the 80s Journeyman. While the tune would shoot to #1 at Rock, it didn't fully register with Pop listeners and the song stalled short of the halfway mark on the chart. A second single, "Bad Love," would hit #1 at Rock, but stall at a minor #88 at Pop. Another track from the LP, "No Alibis," would reach #4 at Rock. The hits at Rock along with a renewed interest in Clapton thanks to the successful '88 compilation Crossroads (#34) helped the album reach #16 and go double platinum. It would be the start of a career revival for Clapton that would take him to new heights in the 90s.

ReduxReview:  His Journeyman album was considered by many to be a return to form for Clapton after attempting to keep pace with the slick pop sounds of the 80s. While the LP still featured a lot of modern production techniques, the material didn't necessarily pander to the mainstream. Still, it needed a good track for pop and rock radio and this Jerry Lynn Williams tune seemed to fit the bill. Indeed it played well at rock radio and got to #1. The song didn't fully click with a pop audience, but it really didn't matter. Clapton's fans appreciated the back to basics approach and embraced the LP. It was a smart move that set him up well for the 90s. For me, the song was on par with "Forever Man" (#26), another song Williams had written for Clapton.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Clapton's 90s revival period would start off with a huge hit that stemmed from a personal tragedy. In 1991, Clapton's 4- year-old son Conor sadly fell to his death from a window located in a high rise apartment building in NYC. After taking time off to deal with the horrible accident, Clapton eased himself back into music by writing songs for an upcoming crime/drama movie title Rush. For the soundtrack. Clapton would collaborate with Will Jennings on a very personal song inspired by Conor titled "Tears in Heaven." Released as a single early in '92, the ode struck a chord with people and it would go on to reach #1 AC/#2 Pop/#9 Rock and go platinum. Not long after the single was released, Clapton would perform the song live in England in a set he did for the MTV show Unplugged. Thanks to "Tears in Heaven" along with an acoustic rendition of Cream's '71 #10 hit "Layla," which got to #12 Pop/#8 AC/#9 Rock. Unplugged would hit #1 and over time go on to sell over 10 million copies. The two hit singles and the album would end up winning Clapton six Grammys including Album of the Year and Record/Song of the Year for "Tears in Heaven." His '94 studio album From the Cradle would also reach #1 and go triple platinum. Then in '96 Clapton would grab another hit from a film. "Change the World" from the Phenomenon soundtrack would get to #5 Pop/#1 AC/#54 R&B and go gold. It would earn Clapton two more Grammys including Record of the Year. While hit singles slowed after that, Clapton's albums would continue to be successful and earn him four more Grammys in the 2000s. In 2000, Clapton would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist. He had previously been inducted twice as a member of The Yardbirds and Cream. As of this posting date, Clapton is still the only artist to be inducted three separate times.


No comments:

Post a Comment