Song of the Day #3,412: ‘Tears in Heaven (Unplugged)’ – Eric Clapton

Many artists released album version of their MTV Unplugged performances, but none was as successful as Eric Clapton. His 1992 release sold 26 million copies, making it the all-time top-selling live album. It also won three Grammys, including Album of the Year.

Critically, it wasn’t as well-loved. Many critics bemoaned the sleepy treatment given to raging guitar classic ‘Layla,’ while the Chicago Tribune called it a “blues album for yuppies.”

But everybody agreed that ‘Tears of Heaven’ was a heart-wrenching highlight. Inspired in part by the death of Clapton’s 4 year-old son (who fell from the 53rd floor of a New York apartment building), this mournful track won Record of the Year and Song of the Year Grammys and a host of other awards.

Officially, the song was written for the film Rush and picked up a Golden Globe for Best Song as well. Shockingly, it was snubbed by the Oscars, not just for the win but even a nomination.

[Verse 1]
Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven?
Would you feel the same
If I saw you in heaven?
I must be strong and carry on
Because I know I don’t belong here in heaven

[Verse 2]
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
Because I know I just can’t stay here in heaven

[Bridge]
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

[Verse 3]
Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven?
Would you feel the same
If I saw you in heaven?
I must be strong and carry on
Because I know I don’t belong here in heaven

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2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #3,412: ‘Tears in Heaven (Unplugged)’ – Eric Clapton

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Wow, that is a snub! Such a touching tribute to his son.

  2. Amy says:

    I always wondered what it must be like to write a song to express your pain and grief, only to have it become a popular “hit” your fans cheered for you to perform. Must be such a strange experience. This version feels particularly poignant, closer to the intention behind the original, painful reason the song was written at all. Meanwhile, you have Aladdin and The Bodyguard taking four of the five spots, with The Mambo Kings landing the 5th spot. My guess is that Rush didn’t inspire the same desire by members of the academy to recognize the film for its music that the other three films clearly did.

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