Why is Eric Clapton known as Slowhand?

Iconic musicians, for whatever reason, seem to create nicknames. Perhaps it’s because their names are so commonly used that people desire an alternative. If the musician is truly a cultural force, they may have two or three nicknames (or, in the case of Frank Sinatra, 50 or more). The exception is Eric Clapton. Despite being a household name all over the world, he is mostly recognized by his given name or the moniker Slowhand. How did Clapton get the nickname Slowhand? Find out more in the video below. Why is Eric Clapton famous? Known as “Slowhand” There are several theories as to why Clapton gained the nickname Slowhand, which have evolved through time. The first comes from Clapton’s chat with biographer Ray Coleman. Clapton obviously knows his way around the fretboard. He is far from a lethargic player. In reality, he smashes through chords with aplomb, unleashing expansive guitar solos with as many notes as he can muster. Clapton told Coleman that the term was given to him as a satirical compliment to his quick playing.

“My nickname of ‘Slowhand’ came from [music manager] Giorgio Gomelsky,” Clapton explained. “He thought it was a clever pun. He kept stating I was a fast player, so he called me ‘Slowhand’ as a word play.” Chris Dreja, Clapton’s fellow Yardbird, offers another probable explanation. Clapton’s bandmate would frequently watch Clapton break a string on stage, replace it, and receive a roaring round of applause from the audience. In England, this type of applause is known as being “given the slowhand.” According to Dreja, Clapton experienced this so frequently that it became his moniker. Regardless of which story is accurate, Clapton and the moniker Slowhand are inextricably linked. Clapton is also known as “God.” His godlike playing and prestige in the world of rock and blues earned him this moniker. Many people credit the term to a Clapton admirer who spray painted the message “Clapton is god” on an Islington, England, subway station.

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