♫ Tears In Heaven ♫

I am not a fan of Eric Clapton, but this one … this one is a song that has depth, has meaning, has staying power, that has that “bring you to tears” capability.

In August 1990, Clapton’s manager, two of his roadies and his friend and fellow musician Stevie Ray Vaughan were killed in a helicopter accident.  Seven months later, in March 1991, Clapton’s 4-year-old son Conor died after falling from the 53rd-floor window of a New York City apartment belonging to Conor’s mother, Italian television personality Lory del Santo.

In a 2005 interview with Mojo, Clapton said Conor’s death “threw me into … a wobble,” and in the immediate aftermath of the accident, he coped by throwing himself into his work — most notably by contributing a trio of new songs to the soundtrack of the 1991 movie Rush, including Tears in Heaven, the Grammy-winning hit ballad inspired by the immense grief of his loss.

Clapton wrote this with Will Jennings, who has written many famous songs from movies, including Up Where We Belong from An Officer And A Gentleman and My Heart Will Go On from Titanic. Jennings wrote the lyrics to many of Steve Winwood’s hits and has also written with B.B. King, Roy Orbison, The Crusaders, Peter Wolf and many others.  According to Jennings …

“Eric and I were engaged to write a song for a movie called Rush. We wrote a song called ‘Help Me Up’ for the end of the movie… then Eric saw another place in the movie for a song and he said to me, ‘I want to write a song about my boy.’ Eric had the first verse of the song written, which, to me, is all the song, but he wanted me to write the rest of the verse lines and the release (‘Time can bring you down, time can bend your knees…’), even though I told him that it was so personal he should write everything himself. He told me that he had admired the work I did with Steve Winwood and finally there was nothing else but do to as he requested, despite the sensitivity of the subject. This is a song so personal and so sad that it is unique in my experience of writing songs.”

Clapton wasn’t sure he wanted this song to be released at all, but the director of Rush, Lili Zanuck, convinced him to use it in the film. “Her argument was that it might in some way help somebody, and that got my vote,” Clapton said.

Tears In Heaven
Eric Clapton

Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same
If I saw you in heaven?
I must be strong and carry on
‘Cause I know I don’t belong here in heaven

Would you hold my hand
If I saw you in heaven?
Would you help me stand
If I saw you in heaven?
I’ll find my way through night and day
‘Cause I know I just can’t stay here in heaven

Time can bring you down, time can bend your knees
Time can break your heart, have you begging please, begging please

Beyond the door there’s peace I’m sure
And I know there’ll be no more tears in heaven

Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same
If I saw you in heaven?
I must be strong and carry on
‘Cause I know I don’t belong here in heaven

Songwriters: Eric Patrick Clapton / Will Jennings
Tears In Heaven lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group, Songtrust Ave, BMG Rights Management

15 thoughts on “♫ Tears In Heaven ♫

  1. I’ve never paid much attention to Eric Clapton, Jill, but this song hits home with me. My babies weren’t lost in such a tragic accident but i know well the feeling of suddenly empty arms with a son that was stillborn followed the next year by the loss of a daughter who lived 17 hours. No one is prepared to come home with empty arms. But I also wonder how a child could have fallen out of a window that far up. Where were the safety measures that should have been in place? And why was the window opened in the first place? Just a few things I have wondered about since it happened.
    How in the world are ya Jill? The big news from here is that I WALKED the length of the hall outside my door and back — all before collapsing in my chair for about 15 minutes recovery time. I WALKED! I love saying that. So now I walk the hall every day and am getting stronger with each step. Have a great day my friend! ❤😇

    Liked by 1 person

    • You have just made my day!!! YOU WALKED the length of the hall, and you’re doing it every day!!! I am so happy I could just dance! What changed? Did they put you on different meds, or are you just gaining strength somehow? I promise I will write this week … I’ve been meaning to forever, and I am a slacker! I’m so so so happy for you, my friend, for in your last letter you sounded like you were almost ready to give up. Keep it up!!! Perhaps next summer I will actually make it down to see you!

      As re Clapton’s son … I don’t know, but one thing that came out of my research last night was that the maid had opened the window, and I guess in a blink of an eye, the child ran through it. So tragic. And yes, you and I both know the pain of losing a child … it is the worst pain imaginable. 😥


  2. Jill, there are very few songs that have meaning deeper than “Tears in Heaven.” As a parent, we know it only takes an instant for something to happen. We have been lucky in a few instances. But, to lose a child is the worst thing that could happen.

    Clapton wrote as powerful and poignant a song as he (or many others) has ever written. Thanks for sharing. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • I read somewhere last night while I was researching it that the maid had opened the window for some reason. Still, I’m with you … why was the child unattended and the window open, 54 stories up? All it takes sometimes is the blink of an eye.

      Liked by 1 person

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