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  • June 2011
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Eric Clapton in Church

Clapton Chronicles: The Best of Eric Clapton

Image via Wikipedia

Today in our Presbyterian Church, the sermon centered around our identity as children, and how necessary Fathers are in the process of establishing these identities.

The Music Pastor/ Choir Director was the preacher so, perhaps not too surprisingly, his sermon featured his favorite song by Eric Clapton, My Father’s Eyes“.

I had never heard of this song, and was glad that he had someone sing it for us. I thought of the tragedy of Clapton’s loss when his son died so suddenly, losing the only link to his past with his Father.

The pastor urged all Fathers in the congregation to soften their hearts toward their children, to restore broken relationships, to see the image of God in their children’s eyes.  The point about Eric Clapton, who had never known his Father, was his discovery that he could look into his son’s eyes to see his own father’s eyes for the first time.

This had never occurred to me, to look into my daughter’s eyes, into the eyes of my grand boys and search for my Father, their Grand Father, and Great Grand Father whom I met once, and they never will.

I see my mom in their eyes and their behavior all the time, but I wonder what it is in them that comes from my Father whom I never knew?

Here are the words to the Eric Clapton Song, and the story behind it:

Title: Eric Clapton – My Father’s Eyes lyrics


Artist: Eric Clapton Lyrics

Sailing down behind the sun,
Waiting for my prince to come.
Praying for the healing rain
To restore my soul again.

Just a toerag on the run.
How did I get here?
What have I done?
When will all my hopes arise?
How will I know him?
When I look in my father’s eyes.
My father’s eyes.
When I look in my father’s eyes.
My father’s eyes.

Then the light begins to shine
And I hear those ancient lullabies.
And as I watch this seedling grow,
Feel my heart start to overflow.

Where do I find the words to say?
How do I teach him?
What do we play?
Bit by bit, I’ve realized
That’s when I need them,
That’s when I need my father’s eyes.
My father’s eyes.
That’s when I need my father’s eyes.
My father’s eyes.

Then the jagged edge appears
Through the distant clouds of tears.
I’m like a bridge that was washed away;
My foundations were made of clay.

As my soul slides down to die.
How could I lose him?
What did I try?
Bit by bit, I’ve realized
That he was here with me;
I looked into my father’s eyes.
My father’s eyes.
I looked into my father’s eyes.
My father’s eyes.

My father’s eyes.
My father’s eyes.
I looked into my father’s eyes.
My father’s eyes.


My Father’s Eyes

Clapton was inspired to write his Grammy-winning song My Father’s Eyes, which appeared on his 1998 album Pilgrim, about the fact that he never met his father, Canadian soldier Edward Fryer, who shipped off to fight in the Second World War before he was born, following a brief relationship with Clapton’s 16-year-old mother Patricia Clapton.

“It’s a very personal matter but I never met my father,” Clapton said in 1985, also revealing that until the age of nine he had been raised to believe his grandparents were his parents and his mother was his older sister. All of which resulted in his mother leaving young Clapton with his grandparents in Surrey, England, when she later married another soldier and moved to Canada. The guitarist admits that the song was also influenced in part by the loss of his son, Connor.

“I realised that the closest I ever came to looking into my father’s eyes was when I looked into my son’s eyes,” Clapton said. “So I wrote this song about that. It’s a strange kind of cycle thing that occurred to me and another thing I felt I would like to share.”

On his initial reluctance to release the track, he added, “This was the hardest song to record on that album. I would veto it each time. I think, subconsciously, I just wasn’t ready to let go, because it meant — on some level — letting go of my son.



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