50 Years Ago: Eric Clapton Released His First Chart-Topping Solo Album in the U.S. With ‘461 Ocean Boulevard’

In July 1974, Eric Clapton released his second solo album, 461 Ocean Boulevard. The album marked Clapton’s return to recording after a three-year period during which he struggled with drug addiction.

Videos by American Songwriter

461 Ocean Boulevard was a follow-up to Clapton’s self-titled solo debut album, which was released in August 1970. Eric Clapton arrived three months before Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, the only studio album Clapton released with his short-lived group Derek and the Dominos.

[Buy Eric Clapton Concert Tickets]

461 Ocean Boulevard was named after the address of the rental home in Golden Beach, Florida, where Clapton stayed while making the album. He recorded the album at Criteria Studios in nearby Miami Beach. 461 Ocean Boulevard was produced by acclaimed producer Tom Dowd, whose long list of credits includes the Layla album.

The album reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 on August 17, 1974, Clapton’s first solo album to accomplish the feat. It spent four consecutive weeks at the top of the chart. Albums by two of Eric’s previous bands, Cream’s Wheels of Fire and Blind Faith’s self-titled release, previously hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200, in 1968 and 1969, respectively.

About Clapton’s Cover of “I Shot the Sheriff”

461 Ocean Boulevard featured Clapton’s classic version of Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff,” which became Eric’s only single to top the Billboard Hot 100, in September of 1974.

According to Clapton’s 2007 autobiography, George Terry, who played guitar and sang backing vocals on 461 Ocean Boulevard, encouraged Eric to record “I Shot the Sheriff,” although Clapton didn’t think the tune’s “hardcore reggae” sound was quite right for him. The members of Clapton’s backing group eventually convinced him to record it and include the track on the album, correctly predicting that his rendition would be a hit.

[RELATED: Eric Clapton Announces 3 California Shows: How To Get Tickets]

In his memoir, Clapton revealed that Marley called him after Eric’s single was released “and seemed pretty happy with it.”

More About 461 Ocean Boulevard

The album was made up mostly of cover tunes, although Clapton contributed two self-penned originals songs, and co-wrote another with singer Yvonne Elliman, “Get Ready.”

Elliman also shared lead vocals on “Get Ready,” and sang backup on five other tracks, including “I Shot the Sheriff.” Other musicians featured on the album included Terry, Derek and the Dominos member Carl Radle on bass, keyboardist Albhy Galuten, organ player Dick Sims, and drummer Jamie Oldaker.

Among the covers on the album is a rendition of Johnny Otis’ chart-topping 1958 R&B hit “Willie and the Hand Jive.” Clapton’s version of the tune peaked at No. 26 on the Hot 100. The record also includes the Clapton-penned love ballad “Let It Grow.”

461 Ocean Boulevard also topped the Canadian album chart, while reaching No. 3 in the U.K. It’s been certified platinum by the RIAA for sales of 1 million in the U.S.

Clapton’s 2024 Tour Plans

Clapton has a series of concerts in Argentina and Brazil lined up in September, followed by an October 3 show in Mexico City. Eric then will play three concerts in Southern California, on October 8 in San Diego, October 10 in Palm Desert, and October 12 at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.

Tickets for Clapton’s shows are available now via various outlets, including StubHub.

461 Ocean Boulevard Track List:

  1. “Motherless Children”
  2. “Give Me Strength”
  3. “Willie and the Hand Jive”
  4. “Get Ready”
  5. “I Shot the Sheriff”
  6. “I Can’t Hold Out”
  7. “Please Be with Me”
  8. “Let It Grow”
  9. “Steady Rollin’ Man”
  10. “Mainline Florida”

When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Leave a Reply

Trisha Yearwood performs onstage during the 2024 CMT Music Awards at Moody Center on April 07, 2024 in Austin, Texas.

On This Day in 1991, Trisha Yearwood Burst onto the Country Scene With Her Self-Titled Debut Album

One Very Underrated Track from Each of The Rolling Stones’ 1970s Albums