Eric Clapton’s Beloved “Wonderful Tonight” Guitar to Hit the Auction Block at Bonhams London

Alice Lange
Wonderful Tonight

In a momentous event for music enthusiasts and collectors worldwide, Bonhams London is set to auction a piece of musical history that resonates with deep cultural significance – Eric Clapton’s 1974 000-28 Martin acoustic guitar. This revered instrument is not just any guitar; it’s the creative fountain from which flowed the timeless love song, “Wonderful Tonight.” The auction forms a part of the anticipated Rock, Pop & Film sale, scheduled for 12 June at Bonhams Knightsbridge, London, and carries an estimate of £300,000 – 400,000.

The significance of this guitar transcends its association with one of rock’s most venerated guitarists. It served as Clapton’s primary tool during the pinnacle of his songwriting and performance career in the seventies. “That guitar went everywhere with me,” reminisced Clapton. It was his companion in the creative process, contributing to the soundtrack of countless life milestones – from the joy of weddings to the solemnity of farewells.

A notable chapter in the guitar’s history was its contribution to Clapton’s charity efforts. In 1999, he parted ways with it, auctioning it off to benefit his Crossroads Centre. Reflecting on that moment, Clapton shared, “During the auction, the guys were all around me, and I felt myself starting to cry.” It’s a testament to the profound bond musicians often share with their instruments.

The guitar exhibits unique features testifying to Clapton’s personal touch, including a sticker reading “She’s in Love with a Rodeo Man,” a nod to Don Williams, one of Clapton’s musical influences. Furthermore, its headstock bears marks from cigarettes wedged under the strings, hallmarking Clapton’s playing sessions.

Claire Tole-Moir, Head of Bonhams Popular Culture department, notes, “This guitar is a singular collectible of immense cultural and historic value.” She elaborates on the song’s ageless appeal, remarking, “Written in 1976 as Clapton awaited his then-girlfriend (and future wife) Pattie Boyd, ‘Wonderful Tonight’ emerges as an ageless anthem with intergenerational appeal.”

Indeed, the song’s enduring popularity is evidenced by impressive streaming and viewing figures across major platforms, accentuated by heartfelt comments from fans worldwide. These digital engagements underline the profound global impact of Clapton’s work, solidifying “Wonderful Tonight” as a vital piece of the cultural fabric.

This June offers a rare opportunity for aficionados and collectors to own a piece of history imbued with stories of love, creativity, and transformation. The auction not only celebrates Clapton’s musical legacy but also serves as a poignant reminder of the guitar’s role as his steadfast companion through the seasons of his life. Its next chapter promises to be as enchanting as its storied past.

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Alice Lange is passionate about music. She has been part of several groups in the production side and has now decided to bring her experience to the field of journalism. She also reviews movies and television and participates in various events. Contact: music (@) martincid (.) com
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