Slowhand is the fifth studio album released by the British recording artist Eric Clapton. It was released on 25 November in 1977 by RSO Records. The release, titled after Clapton's nickname, is to this date one of his both commericially and musically most successful studio albums. Slowhand produced the two hit singles "Lay Down Sally" and "Wonderful Tonight", reached various international music charts and was honored with numerous awards and recording certifications. In 2012, a deluxe edition was released to celebrate the album's 35th anniversary.
Clapton wanted to work with record producer Glyn Johns, because he thought Johns produced great work with famous groups like The Rolling Stones and The Eagles and understands how to work with both British and American musicians. While in the studio with Johns, Clapton notes that the A-list producer was very disciplined and disliked jamming, because it would kill important recording time. Although Clapton and his band were either drunk or stoned nearly all the time when recording, Johns liked Clapton's work and brought out the best in every musician.
The album was titled after Clapton's nickname, which was given to him by Giorgio Gomelsky. In his 2007 autobiography, Clapton recalled that the name "Slowhand" seemed to be hanging on to his real name, because it seemed to be well received by both his American friends and fans who think of the wild west when hearing the nickname. The album's artwork was done by Clapton himself with the help of Pattie Boyd and Dave Stewart, which in the credits is titles as "El & Nell Ink". Besides choosing various photos for the inner side of the grammophone record packaging are two pictures, Clapton notes, which have deeper importance to him: one picture, in which he kisses Boyd and another photograph showing a demolished Ferrari 365 GTC/4, which Clapton bought after seeing George Harrison turning up with the same model at his Hurtwood Edge Estate. The car, which has been involved with Clapton in a car accident after the British recording artist finished touring in Australia, nearly killed him.
The rock song "Cocaine" was censored and removed from the Argentinan edition of the album in late 1977. The military government of the time claimed that the song Clapton recorded was harmful to young people and inviting them to get high. The ban was finally lifted in 1984. Clapton felt indignation in later years after learning of censorship, since "Cocaine" is a song which is against drugs, and not to please as many people think. The musician once said that it is useless to intentionally write a song that goes against drugs and hope that people grasp the meaning. So it is better that lead to reflection. If the song is heard like a song about cocaine, but if you listen carefully, is ingeniously against cocaine. After several years, Clapton decided to add the lyrics of the phrase: 'that dirty cocaine' in live performances to highlight the message of the song against drugs. In addition, Clapton donated much of their funds to Crossroads Centre, a center where help drug addicts to fight to stop drugs and rehabilitate themselves.
In November of 2012, a remastered two-compact-disc 35th anniversary deluxe edition of Slowhand was released. The first disc consists of the remastered album, with additional bonus tracks and studio jam sessions. The second disc features a previously unreleased live concert, recorded in April 1977 at the Hammersmith Odeon; although the concert is of the same era as the Slowhand sessions, it was performed prior to the album's recording and release, and so does not include any of the album's tracks.
AllMusic critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine notes that the album "doesn't sound schizophrenic because of the band's grasp of the material" and features "laid-back virtuosity". Erlewine goes on in his review stating "although Clapton and his band are never flashy, their playing is masterful and assured. That assurance and the album's eclectic material make Slowhand rank with 461 Ocean Boulevard as Eric Clapton's best albums". For the The Rolling Stone Album Guide, critic J. D. Considine awards the release five out of five possible stars.Q magazine awards the release three out of the five possible stars. Music critic Robert Christgau thinks that "Lay Down Sally" is a "relief [because] it has some soul".
^ ab"Danmarks officielle hitlister". Hitlisten.NU. Retrieved 3 October 2015. Note: "Slowhand" charted at that time at number nineteen but was wrongly labelled here. The cover is correct indicating the "Gold" certification award.