Eric Clapton Tears in Heaven meaning: What is the meaning behind heartbreaking song?

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Eric Clapton’s Tears in Heaven is an iconic rock ballad. The lyrics are full of meaning, and connect to an incredibly sad time in Eric’s life. But what is the meaning behind the song, and who is it about?

Eric Clapton wrote Tears in Heaven about the sad death of his son, Conor.

Before his eventual divorce from Pattie Boyd in 1989, Eric cheated on Pattie with Italian model Lory Del Santo, with whom he had a son, Conor, in 1986.

However, Conor’s story was to be an utterly tragic one, as in 1991 the four-year-old died after falling out of an open bedroom window on the 53rd floor of a Manhattan apartment building.

This was devastating to his father, who wrote the song Tears in Heaven about his son’s death.

In 1999, Eric told 60 Minutes interviewer Ed Bradley he had seen his son the day before his death, as he was in New York at the time.

He said: “When he was born, I was drinking, and he was really the chief reason that I went back to treatment, because I really did love this boy.

“I thought, ‘I know he’s a little baby, but he can see what I’m doing, and I’m tired of this.’”

Eric was not reported to have been in the apartment at the time of Conor’s death, having taken his son to the circus the day before the tragic events.

The incident happened in the home of Conor and his mother, Lory, in New York, on March 20, 1991.

In 2005, Eric spoke again of the incident to Mojo magazine, saying how he spent a great deal of the 1990s in ‘the weirdest relationships’ as a coping mechanism.

He said: “The same could be said about the death of my son in 1991 and me getting into the weirdest relationships for the rest of the ’90s before I met my present wife.

“I never saw a connection until recently. I was lost again. Looking for something.

“Probably for mothering. Now I can see, ‘Yeah, you really didn’t do very well coming out of that’ – although I was able to express it musically.’”

The lyrics for the song show a man grieving and trying to get over the death of his child, which is something too difficult to bear for many.

In the song, he is having a conversation with his son in heaven, though noting how he must “carry on” and “be strong” outside of heaven.

The song is also hopeful in some ways, as it shows a man who knows he must continue to live on as he doesn’t “belong here in heaven.”

Here are the full lyrics to the song:

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 you 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

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