"Tears in Heaven
" is a ballad
written by Eric Clapton
and Will Jennings
about the pain Clapton felt following the 1991 death of his four-year-old son, Conor, who fell from a 53rd-story window in his mother's friend's New York City
condominium. By all accounts, the death was simply a tragic accident, and Clapton was distraught for months afterwards. This song is one of Clapton's most successful, reaching #2 on the Billboard Hot 100
singles chart in the U.S.
The song also spent three weeks at #1 on the American adult contemporary chart
Clapton wrote the song with Will Jennings, who was reluctant at first to help him with such a personal song. The song was initially featured on the soundtrack to the film Rush, and it won three Grammy awards for Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Male Pop Vocal Performance in 1993. It was also included on Clapton's Grammy award-winning album, Unplugged. It is #353 on Rolling Stone's Top 500 Songs.
"Eric and I were engaged to write a song for a movie called Rush. We wrote a song called 'Help Me Up' for the end of the movie... then Eric saw another place in the movie for a song and he said to me, 'I want to write a song about my boy.' Eric had the first verse of the song written, which, to me, is all the song, but he wanted me to write the rest of the verse lines and the release ('Time can bring you down, time can bend your knees...'), even though I told him that it was so personal he should write everything himself. He told me that he had admired the work I did with Steve Winwood and finally there was nothing else but to do as he requested, despite the sensitivity of the subject. This is a song so personal and so sad that it is unique in my experience of writing songs." – Will Jennings
Clapton stopped playing it in 2004, as well as the song "My Father's Eyes."
"I didn't feel the loss anymore, which is so much a part of performing those songs. I really have to connect with the feelings that were there when I wrote them. They're kind of gone and I really don't want them to come back, particularly. My life is different now. They probably just need a rest and maybe I'll introduce them for a much more detached point of view."
- Coko of SWV and her mother Clyde "Lady Tibba" Gamble recorded a soulful rendition of the song in 2001 on the Rhythm and Spirit: "Love Can Build a Bridge" album.
- Joshua Redman recorded a jazz rendition on his 1993 album Wish.
- Paul Anka covered the song on Rock Swings.
- Declan Galbraith on his album Thank You.
- Aled Jones has recorded a cover version of the song, which can be found on his album, Whenever God Shines His Light.
- In 2004, several artists recorded a cover together to raise money for the victims of the Tsunami. The song's performers included, but are not limited to, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Steven Tyler, Josh Groban, Ozzy Osbourne, Velvet Revolver, Andrea Bocelli, P!nk, and Gwen Stefani.
- Technology vs Horse recorded a cover version of the song for the opening track of their 2006 album Teddy Jam.
- Tuck & Patti on their album Pure Tuck & Patti released in May 2006.
- The Choirboys on their album "The Choirboys" released in 2005.
- Andrew Johnston, a 13 year old choirboy, performed this live on Britain's Got Talent season 2 semifinals.
- Jourdain, a 13 year old singer from Melbourne, performed this on Australia's Got Talent semifinals.
- Adeaze, A New Zealand R&B group recorded a cover in 2004 for the album "Always and for Real".
- The Zimmers The worlds oldest rock band recorded a cover in 2008 for their debut album "Lust For Life" released in October 2008