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Eric Clapton – 461 Ocean Boulevard (1974)

February 8, 2018


Exemplary 2017 Artist of the Week logo by Sarca @ caughtmegaming


[Album 597/1001]

A few years ago, I announced a vision for a new side venture.

The grand entrepreneurial vision?

Own/operate a Music location tour guide business, offering all-inclusive packages to name-checked locations.

Beginning with the trip idea that started it all, the U2/Peter Gabriel/Fats Domino inspired ‘Hill’ getaway, with stops at:

One Tree Hill (Auckland, New Zealand)

Solsbury Hill (Somerset, England)

Blueberry Hill (supposedly in New Mexico?)

Unfortunately, I may need to modify this package; when I put the locations into Bing Maps, it displayed the message “The route distance is too long to calculate a route.”


hill tour1


Alternatively, and more attainable in terms of logistics, perhaps there’s a market for the Go-Betweens/Vanilla Ice/Eric Clapton ‘Street Address’ vacation, passing by:

16 Lovers Lane (wherever such a street address can be found, ideally one in Florida)

– “A1A/Beachfront Avenue!” (a coastal highway in Miami)

461 Ocean Boulevard

And conveniently for my travelers, it appears that north of Miami, in the town of Golden Beach, ‘Ocean Boulevard’ is what the ‘A1A’ state road is called.

Who knew Vanilla Ice & Eric Clapton had such similar taste in streets?!


Vanilla Eric


If the side-venture-tour-guide-operator-scheme gets off the ground, chances are, Clapton’s 461 Ocean Boulevard will get a lot more airtime than Ice’s To The Extreme.

Even though I still know all the words to Ice, Ice, Baby (and I will inevitably irritate my paying passengers by singing all those words on any & all bus tours along A1A/Beachfront Avenue), To The Extreme doesn’t have nearly enough Eric Clapton guitar.

Now normally, I’m adamant that a successful record boils down to songwriting, the songs will make/break an album.

Curiously, I didn’t find that was the case with 461.

The tunes are mostly subdued; on their own, I can’t see the songs repelling or attracting the masses.

However, the slide guitar.

The slide guitar!

I could listen to Slowhand slide all day.

Or all the way down the A1A.


Verbalize the Positive

His solo on the acoustic version of Layla would be in my all-time Top 5 solos!

From → 1970s

  1. Geoff, I’m finding your drift from the music to your own creative context very entertaining.

    Oddly, only last weekend I dragged out and played 461 O B, and wondered why I don’t post more about albums I loved in earlier times. Maybe I should dash off a companion post.

    • I’d like to read your thoughts on this one…

    • My thanks for the kind words Bruce!
      And please do dash off a companion post – I’d be keen to hear the perspective of a fan that’s not just hearing it for the first time in 2018.
      Not to mention I’m always keen to read posts about beloved albums!

  2. I think the ultimate Go-Betweens destination would be The Go-Betweens’ bridge in Brisbane, Australia. Would make a nice package holiday with One Tree Hill.

  3. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Bing Maps employed in a music review before. Well done!

    • Haha, my thanks!
      In the interest of full disclosure, it was actually my 3rd choice – I was struggling to add a 3rd destination with google, mapquest couldn’t find one of them, so the 3rd time was the charm with Bing!

  4. I’m with Bruce; I’m enjoying your creative sub-plots… I’d also sign up for one of these uncalculatable (?) music themed tours.

    As for the album in question, it’s one that’s grown on me a fair bit over the last few years. I remember being fairly surprised when I first got the ‘this is really pretty good’ tingle after being unmoved by it during initial listens.

    • Much appreciated J – or my uncalculatable thanks!
      I’ve had 3 spins so far of 461, I’ll be interested if I hit that stage with the songs after a few more.
      The slide guitar won me over right away!

  5. Count me in as a customer! That would be one heck of a nice journey. I have always wanted to take road trip down Nat King Cole’s “Route 66”. I have been on it before, but to take the road the whole way would be awesome.

    • I would be happy to get my kicks on that 2000 mile highway journey – and consider your seat on the hill tour reserved!

  6. Is 22 Acacia Avenue on Bing Maps?

    • That it may be! My street actually intersects with a Street named ‘Acadia” – sadly no house #22, but I was still quite excited when I heard the iron maiden tune for the first time!

  7. Or Eddy Grant’s “Electric Avenue”. There’s one in Orlando Florida, so travelling is still interstate.

    • That would be a nice addition to the Florida itinerary, increased value for the musical tourists!

  8. I see there is a Clapton biography coming out this weekend on Showtime called “Life in 12 Bars”
    Looks interesting….

  9. What album is the acoustic version of Layla on? The Clapton solo albums from the 60s and 70s are on my to-do list. I’ve listened to his Cream work and there are some great guitar moments, although I think I admire them for the technical ability first and foremost. Wheels of Fire (1968) is the only one of the four Cream albums I connected to emotionally.

    • I believe the album is just named ‘unplugged’ from ’92 – the only cream one I know is Disraeli gears, I’ll have to check out wheels of fire!

  10. 461 has been visited.

  11. I think Clapton went downhill after Cream. The “extended solos and maestro bullshit” were great! Clapton disbanded Cream (when he was 23 or whatever, at which point he was already God) because Rolling Stone called him “the master of the cliche” and also because he had heard The Band’s Music From Big Pink and said “That’s what I want to play, not extended solos and maestro bullshit, but just good funky songs”. When he heard that he had led to the breakup of Cream, Robbie Robertson said “What a bummer; I’m a huge Cream fan”. 😦

    • I hadn’t ever thought of Cream in those terms…I guess I’m a fan of extended solos and maestro bullshit!

  12. YES to the slide. I think I have this one on LP here somewhere… get yourself Journeyman to go with it. I don’t think there are any addresses in the song titles, but it’s a corker of a record. Buy with confidence!

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