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A lesser known incident in the life of Eric Clapton

Back in the 1960’s when the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Kinks were taking the international music scene by storm, Greece was also influenced and rock bands and singers started emerging. Some of them simply mimicked with success this kind of music, some wrote songs with greek lyrics, others with English, some others simply translated pop and rock songs from Italy or France while others were just superficially copying. All of them however, were generally considered “modern” musicians. That’s how they were called whether they played “Trelokoritso” (Crazy girl in Greek), “Tropos” (Way), “End of the world”, “Françoise”, “Crazy girl”, “To koritsi tou filou mou” (My friend’s girl-friend).

Juniors was the name of one of those bands. It was an interesting one with good musicians, some hits and lots of bad luck. Their biggest hit was “Babies yanka”, which was based on a Greek nursery rhyme “You can’t pass mrs.Maria”. In the evening they used to play at a club called “Igloo” on the then famous Fokionos Negri street of Athens. The great Alekos Karakantas played the guitar and Mike Rozakis (the man who later made a solo career with pop songs) was singing and playing the guitar. Another member of the group was Thanos Souyioul who played keyboards and was the son of the well-known composer Michael Souyioul (Let your hair down, Children of Greece, 9th day of the month), had played in some Greek movies and was a notorious play-boy.

Here, the Juniors’ story must be temporarily interrupted in order to talk about Great Britain where the dear (not yet so legendary) Eric Clapton was going through hard times. He had just left the Yardbirds, had worked for a while with J. Mayall, and feeling down he decided to visit our sunny country where he stayed for some time. Actually he decided to play at a little club calle Igloo, on Fokionos Negri street.

10 October 1965: during a tragic car crash, Thanos Souyioul, his fiancé, the Juniors’ manager, G.Krassoudis and his wife, all get killed. With them was also Al.Karakantas who was badly injured.

17 October 1965: the remaining members of the group give a concert at the “Terpsithea” hall of Piraeus in order to honour the memory of their beloved Thanos who was also very loved by young people in Greece. They have written a song, “Lost Friend”, dedicated to him. The group appears wearing white shirts and black arm bands. The person who replaces the injured guitarist Karakantas is Eric Clapton!

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  • Φαίδρα Σίμιτσεκ

    Θες τα μουσικά μυστικά του Clapton;

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