It’s no secret that alcoholism became a huge problem for Eric Clapton during the 80’s. He was in a rehabilitation center when he realized his life went rock-bottom.
In the Clapton: The Autobiography, he mentions that during this time, he was “in complete despair”. It is in this darkest moment when he realized he had to surrender his life to a higher power.
“At that moment, almost of their own accord, my legs gave way and I fell to my knees. In the privacy of my room I begged for help. I had no notion who I thought I was talking to, I just knew that I had come to the end of my tether, I had nothing left to fight with. Then I remembered what I had heard about surrender, something I thought I could never do, my pride just wouldn’t allow it, but I knew that on my own I wasn’t going to make it, so I asked for help, and, getting down on my knees, I surrendered.”
Eric went on, “Within a few days I realized that something had happened for me. An atheist would probably say it was just a change of attitude, and to a certain extent that’s true, but there was much more to it than that. I had found a place to turn to, a place I’d always known was there but never really wanted, or needed, to believe in. From that day until this, I have never failed to pray in the morning, on my knees, asking for help, and at night, to express gratitude for my life and, most of all, for my sobriety. I choose to kneel because I feel I need to humble myself when I pray, and with my ego, this is the most I can do.” This became the time he became serious with his prayerful life adding, “If you are asking why I do all this, I will tell you: because it works. It’s as simple as that.”
It was around this time that he has also finished working on his idea with Stephen Bishop called “Holy Mother”. Eric recalls that the song was inspired by the genius of the artist Prince when he saw him perform Purple Rain. Eric was in a state of depression in his hotel room surrounded by empty cans of beer when her wrote the lyrics. He later dedicated this song to Richard Manuel, the great keyboard player of The Band, who had hanged himself in March 1986.
“Holy Mother” is a song that bears the image of of a person in agony, not knowing what to do with his pain and where to turn. It has shed light on the life of an addict, struggling for a way out of slavery and misery.
Holy Mother by Eric Clapton
Tonight I feel broken in two.
I’ve seen the stars fall from the sky.
Holy mother, can’t keep from crying.
Get me through this lonely night.
Tell me please which way to turn
To find myself again.
Somehow I know you’re still there.
Send me please some peace of mind;
Take away this pain.
I can’t wait, I can’t wait, I can’t wait for you.
I’ve cursed your name a thousand times.
I’ve felt the anger running through my soul;
All I need is a hand to hold.
No longer my legs will run.
You know I would rather be
In your arms tonight.
My voice is still, I fade away.
Holy mother, then I’ll be
Lying in, safe within your arms.