Eric Clapton is an English Rock and blues guitarist, songwriter and singer. He is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – once as a solo artist and twice while being a member of the bands “the Yardbirds” and “cream”. Clapton has also been referred to as one of the most important and influential guitarists of all time, ranking second in the “Rolling Stone” magazine’s most important and influential guitarists of all time. He has also sold over 130 million records worldwide, and won 18 Grammy awards throughout his musical career.
“Tears in Heaven” is one of the Clapton’s most heartbreaking songs, based on the tragic death of his Conor, who was only four when he died after accidentally falling from a 54 story apartment. The track was written during Clapton’s 6-month hiatus from music after this devastating event and has three verses and a bridge. The first verse is Clapton singing to his son about whether if he would recognise or know him if he saw him in heaven, and whether it would be the same if he was in heaven too – but he knows that he has to “be strong and carry on”, because he can’t “stay here in heaven”, meaning he can’t spend his whole life mourning over the loss of his son or just focusing on that, he has to move on. The second verse is Clapton asking his son if he would still “hold his hand” and “help him stand” if he saw him heaven, maybe alluding to Clapton seeking forgiveness from his son. Again, Clapton reiterates that he’ll get through night and day as he cannot “stay here in heaven”. The bridge focuses on the concept of time, and how it can break your heart and have you begging for time to progress quicker for you to heal through the pain. He knows that “beyond the door there’s peace I’m sure”, meaning he is aware that after this painful time (“the door”) he’ll be fine. The song ends with Clapton repeating the first verse.
There is no official music video for the song, but there is a video of Clapton performing it live on a TV show for the first time in 1992.
Read the lyrics to “Tears in Heaven” here.
*All information accurate at the time of publishing.