Eric Clapton has only had one No. 1 song, and it hit the top spot on this day in 1974.
Hard to believe? Hard to believe that, given his talent and tenure in the business, Clapton's only No. 1 song was a Bob Marley cover. In fact, "I Shot the Sheriff'' probably was responsible for helping usher Marley's music into the mainstream -- where it surely deserved to be.
Clapton had been battling heroin addiction before setting out to record "461 Ocean Boulevard.'' It is a beautiful, lazy, wistful album full of bluesy covers, opening with the traditional "Motherless Children'' and including Elmore James' "I Can't Hold Out'' and Robert Johnson's "Steady Rollin' Man.'' South Florida session guitarist George Terry helps set the tone with "Mainline Florida'' -- the album's closing song.
Not to diminish Clapton's contributions, which are significant. "Please Be With Me'' is the loneliest love song you'll ever need to hear:
I sit here lying in my bed
Wondering what it was I said
That made me think I'd lost my head
When I knew I'd lost my heart instead
So won't you please read my signs, be a gypsy
Tell me what I hope to find deep within me
Because you can find my mind, please be with me
Anybody who's had a tour of life duty in Florida -- especially along the Miami coastline where Clapton was holed up at the time -- will find room for this in the collection. Other than Jimmy Buffett's adventures in Key West, nothing speaks to the Florida inside us like "461 Ocean Boulevard.''
It's a muted sunrise through patchy clouds and light ocean waves lapping at the shoreline. It's music that leaves us unsure exactly why we wound up here, but profoundly grateful for the experience.
It's Personal Six String Sanctuary Tout (PSSST) No. 13.