The present that was to change guitar legend Eric Clapton's life arrived on his thirteenth birthday.

That was when Clapton was given his first guitar, a Hoyer acoustic. It wasn't exactly love at first pluck – he struggled with the steel strings and didn't really take it up in earnest until he was two years older. But when he began to play, he really played. And blues was his passion.

He was thrown out of art college after just a year because his music continued to take centre stage and, two years later, the 18-year-old guitar prodigy joined The Yardbirds.

The rest, as they say, is rock history.

A succession of groups came and went – Cream and Blind Faith perhaps the most notable – all with Clapton driving the sound with his guitar work.

A solo career in the seventies secured his status and produced the hits - Layla (with Derek and the Dominoes), I Shot The Sheriff and Wonderful Tonight - he is still famous for.

But while his career hit the heights, his personal life plumbed the depths. Unrequited infatuations, addictions to heroin and alcohol and the death of his son left Clapton reeling.

It is a tribute to his spirit, as much as his talent, that he overcame these tragedies to become the living legend he is today.

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Eric Clapton