Saturday, March 28, 1992

Eric Clapton reached #2 with “Tears in Heaven”

First posted 1/28/2021; last updated 2/27/2021.

Tears in Heaven

Eric Clapton

Writer(s): Eric Clapton, Will Jennings (see lyrics here)

Released: January 8, 1992

First Charted: January 11, 1992

Peak: 2 US, 11 CB, 3 RR, 13 AC, 9 AR, 5 UK, 12 CN, 37 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 3.3 US, 0.4 UK, 4.91 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 4.0 radio, 198.95 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

Eric Clapton launched his career in the 1960s, making a name for himself with the Yardbirds, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Cream, and Blind Faith before launching his solo career in the ‘70s (and making an album under the Derek + the Dominoes banner). On the charts, he reached #1 in 1974 with his version of Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff.” His biggest selling song, however, came nearly two decades later with 1992’s “Tears in Heaven.” WK

The song peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and won Grammys for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. It was originally featured on the Rush soundtrack, but then appeared on Clapton’s Unplugged album. The later is the best-selling album of Clapton’s career, selling over 25 million worldwide and winning the Grammy for Album of the Year.

Clapton had seen plenty of tragedy in his life, but the one-two punch of late 1990 and early 1991 might have been the most devastating. In August 1990, his friend and fellow musician Stevie Ray Vaughan and Clapton’s manager and two of his roadies were killed in a helipcoter accident. On March 20, 1991, his four-year-old son Conor died when he fell from a 53rd-floor window of a New York City apartment. WK

Clapton poured his grief into “Tears in Heaven.” The song was ambiguous enough that it worked in the context of the score he was crafting for the movie Rush about a narcotics agent who becomes an addict. He asked Will Jennings for help on the song. Jennings had worked with Steve Winwood and written the #1 movie songs “Up Where We Belong” for An Officer and a Gentleman and “My Heart Will Go On” for Titanitc. Jennings thought it was too personal and that Clapton should write it alone, but he relented. Clapton wasn’t sure he wanted to release the song, but was convinced by the Lili Zanuck, the director of Rush, that the song might help others cope with grief. SF

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Tuesday, March 24, 1992

Arrested Development released their debut album

First posted 4/2/2008; updated 9/8/2020.

3 Years, 5 Months, & 2 Days in the Life

Arrested Development

Released: March 24, 1992

Peak: 7 US, 3 UK, -- CN, 4 AU

Sales (in millions): 4.0 US, 0.3 UK, 5.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: rap

Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. Man’s Final Frontier
  2. Mama’s Always on Stage
  3. People Everyday (8/15/92, 8 US, 2 UK, 2 RB, sales: ½ million)
  4. Blues Happy
  5. Mr. Wendal (12/19/92, 6 US, 4 UK, 6 RB, sales: ½ million)
  6. Children Play with Earth
  7. Raining Revolution
  8. Fishin’ 4 Religion
  9. Give a Man a Fish
  10. U
  11. Eve of Reality
  12. Natural (4/4/92, 90 RB)
  13. Dawn of the Dreads
  14. Tennessee (4/4/92, 6 US, 18 UK, 1 RB, sales: ½ million)
  15. Washed Away
  16. People Everyday (Metamorphosis Mix)


4.200 out of 5.00 (average of 9 ratings)


About the Album:

“Arrested Development was one of the genre’s most promising groups when it released” JD 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life of..., named for “the amount of time that it took to secure a recording contract.” JD Critically, “its positive messages” AMG about “pleas for black unity and brotherly compassion, as well as a devotion to the struggle for equality” AMG “were the chief selling point for many rock critics” AMG and the band “claimed an armful of Grammy Awards, including best new artist and best rap group, in 1993.” JD

On a commercial level “the band, shot to the top of the Billboard charts [and] sold 5 million albums worldwide.” JD “But it was pegged as…‘alternative hip-hop’ – rap’s equivalent to the alternative explosion then dominating the rock world – and that tag would come to haunt the outfit.” JD

“Though the group successfully toured as part of Lollapalooza ‘93, rock radio turned a deaf ear. It was branded as ‘too black’ for the white music media, and ‘not black enough’ for many hip-hop outlets” JD due to the band’s “outspoken opposition to the glorification of drug dealing and the violent gangsta pose.” JD Instead, the band “addressed prejudice, the need for African-American unity, safe sex and the role of religion in bringing about social change. Speech advocated a revolution, but one that started not with guns, but changing the way that African-Americans think about themselves and their community.” JD “The issues the group was addressing had much more common in many African-Americans’ lives than the tales of violence delivered by other rappers.” JD

“The group’s instrumental backings were fluid, grooving, absurdly catchy and grounded in a long tradition of soul, funk, R&B, gospel and rock ‘n’ roll.” JD “It’s determinedly down to earth, and that aesthetic informs the group’s music as well. Their sound is a laid-back, southern-fried groove informed by rural blues, African percussion, funk, and melodic R&B.” AMG “The artful craftsmanship of the backing tracks was well suited to Speech’s smooth, laid-back rapping – a mellow style that belied the potent urgency of his lyrics.” JD

“All of it comes together on the classic single Tennessee, which takes lead rapper Speech on a spiritual quest to reclaim his heritage in a south still haunted by its history.” AMG The song, “which celebrates familial roots, is based on his teenage experiences visiting his grandparents in the town of Henning, Tenn.” (DeRegotis).

Mr. Wendal is a moving portrait of a homeless man encountered on the street, and Give a Man a Fish is a call for positive thinking as the road out of the ghetto.” JD

People Everyday was a sharp rewrite of Sly and the Family Stone's ‘Everyday People,’ and other tracks sampled Earth, Wind & Fire, Minnie Riperton, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells and Bob Dylan (a snippet of ‘Mighty Quinn’ appears in Arrested Development’s U).” JD

“In retrospect, 3 Years... isn’t quite as revolutionary as it first seemed.” AMG “There’s a distinct political correctness – even naïveté – in the lyrics, which places the record firmly in the early ‘90s; it's also a bit self-consciously profound at times.” AMG Nonetheless, 3 Years... is “still a fine record that often crosses the line into excellence.” AMG

In addition, the album “was a major influence on a new breed of alternative southern hip-hop, including Goodie Mob, OutKast, and Nappy Roots, and it still stands as one of the better albums of its kind.” AMG Also, “the influence of its music and its positive lyrical message live on in artists such as Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, Jill Scott, the Roots and Common, many of whom are part of the so-called neo-soul or natural R&B movement.” JD

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