This month Eric Clapton is celebrating the 40th anniversary of "461 Ocean Boulevard," his 1974 "comeback" album that featured his hit version of Bob Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff."
It was Clapton's second release as a solo artist and came after he kicked a crippling heroin addiction and was made with the encouragement of former Derek and the Dominos bassist Carl Radle. Clapton tells us that,
"I'd been in retirement for three, four years with a bad habit, and that was the first thing I did coming out, coming back into the real world...I had some oldies to do. I wanted to do a Robert Johnson song ('Steady Rollin' Man'), and a couple of other things, an Elmore James song ('I Can't Hold Out'). I had things I wanted to do and I had a couple of songs that might work. Then George Terry, who was one of the local guys at the studio, got involved and he started playing on the sessions. He said, 'By the way, there's a nice reggae song you could do,' and we did that."
The album was recorded at Criteria studios in Miami during April and May of 1974, and it took its name from the house where Clapton stayed during the sessions -- which is depicted on the album cover. Clapton adds that it was a very different project from anything he'd done to that point:
"I remember that was one of the quiet, I'd never made a quiet record before. I mean that as quiet, we play everything, I did the whole album with a little Fender Champ (amplifier), about a foot high, and everyone played at the level where we didn't need headphones. I loved it, yeah."
"461 Ocean Boulevard" and outtakes from the sessions are featured on the box set "Give Me the Strength: The '74/'75 Recordings" that came out earlier this year. Clapton will release his latest album, "The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale" on Tuesday (July 29).