Ian Anderson’s Insecurity About Eric Clapton

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Ian Anderson realized that his greatest passion was music when he was very young, and he was enchanted by this form of art, thanks to his father. He listened to James Anderson’s record collection, which consisted of several jazz musicians’ works, but he was also into Elvis Presley’s rock and roll records. These musicians influenced Jethro Tull’s sound, which could be described as blues rock and jazz fusion, featuring elements from English folk, hard rock, and classical music.

Even though Anderson is generally famous for his unique way of playing the flute as a part of Jethro Tull, he is a multi-instrumentalist who can play keyboards, electric guitar, bass guitar, saxophone, harmonica, whistles, and guitar. However, Jethro Tull’s Anderson gave up focusing on one of them because of famous guitarist Eric Clapton.

How Did Eric Clapton Affect Ian Anderson’s Career?

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Like almost every teenager interested in music, Anderson’s first choice was to learn how to play guitar and become a famous guitarist. Undoubtedly, the ’70s and ’80s were a very competitive era as the most talented guitarists started to hit the rock stage. Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen, Tony Iommi, Jeff Beck, Ritchie Blackmore, and Eric Clapton were both young people’s influences and rivals simultaneously.

Many young musicians wanted to follow their steps and become even more famous and successful, but it wasn’t that easy to achieve because their legacies were set in stone. As one of them, Ian Anderson revealed a life-changing moment that occurred at the beginning of his career in one of his previous interviews with Fox News. The musician stated that playing guitar was fancier and sexier, but there was a problem.

That was Eric Clapton, who had already proved his unmatchable talent as the member of John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers and Cream. The guitar player made Anderson think he would never be as great as Clapton. The Jethro Tull icon highlighted that he was good at solos and improvising, but it wasn’t enough. Thus, after realizing that he could have Slowhand’s fluidity and rhythm, Ian Anderson decided to learn another instrument, the flute.

In Anderson’s words, he said:

“Some guy was banging the drums at the back or playing the bass, no — guitar, lead guitar. That always seemed to be the racy and sexy thing to do. I had just one little problem when I was a teenager beginning to play, one little problem by the name of Eric Clapton.

When I first heard him play, I thought, I’m not going to be that great. It’s going to be a step too far for me. I could play solos and improvise, but I  didn’t have that fluidity and that wonderful sense of rhythmic ease that Clapton had and still has.”

As a result, Ian Anderson decided to play flute along with other instruments and created unique sounds. Anderson’s insecurity about the Cream icon changed his musical journey for good. In addition, the decision to play the flute contributed significantly to Jethro Tull’s success and popularity.