The Three Musicians Eric Clapton Wished To Collaborate With

No matter how far and wide artists reach in their careers, and no matter how much praise they receive from fans, peers, and critics, some musicians still seem inaccessible to their eyes. These artists become the pinnacle of their genre, or some would refer to them as the crème de la crème of the industry.

It is no different for Eric Clapton; although he is a rocker at heart, the guitarist has a thing for the blues. When anybody says blues, the three legends, B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, and Ray Charles, immediately come to mind. Clapton wished to collaborate more with the three faces of the blues genre than anyone else.

In a 1998 interview with Larry King, Eric Clapton shared his three all-time favorite performers and singers with whom he would want to collaborate if he ever got the opportunity. When Larry asked him anything he would like to achieve in his career, the singer and guitarist replied, “I would like to make a whole record with B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, and Ray Charles. There’s a lot of stuff I haven’t done, a lot of stuff.”

Although Clapton slightly differed from the icons he mentioned, the guitarist had a soft spot for them and wanted to make a whole record and see how it turned out. When the host asked to understand how someone from Britain could pick a quintessentially American soulful artist like B.B. King to collaborate with, Clapton said, “I just think he has the greatest touch, and there are not many people that — and he’s, he’s not a spring chicken. This guy is working, flat out, still the same as he was in his 20s. Actually, I think he sounds better.”

It didn’t take long for his all-time dream to come true for Clapton as he got the chance to work on a collaborative album with B.B. King. The duo released their album ‘Riding with the King,’ which peaked at number 1 on the Billboard Top Blues Albums in 2000 and was certified 2× multi-platinum in the United States. The album became an instant hit with the fans. Not just for the iconic duo but also for fans who knew the album’s importance for Clapton as he had made his goal of working with the King of the Blues a reality.

‘Riding With The King’ was re-released in 2020 to mark its 20th anniversary. The 12-track album has been remastered from the original tapes and expanded to include two unreleased bonus tracks recorded during the initial sessions. ‘Rollin’ and Tumblin,’ and a cover of Willie Dixon’s song ‘Let Me Love You Baby,’ met the listeners in the 20th-anniversary edition of the album.