top of page

Well Written Rock Songs: Tears in Heaven (Eric Clapton)

Song Name: Tears in Heaven

Artist: Eric Clapton

Written by: Eric Clapton and Will Jennings

Genre: Soft Rock

Release Date: January 8th, 1992

Album: Rush Soundtrack and Single


This song always plays on the radio. It is one of those songs that was written for a movie but when you hear about the story behind it, the eyes start to water at least a little bit. Let us see how this classic song came to be.


This started when Eric Clapton lost some people dear to him in a helicopter accident on August 1990. In the crash he lost his friend Stevie Ray Vaughan. A little after that incident, six months later he lost his 4 year old son (Conor) after he fell from a 53rd floor window in a New York apartment building.

After these two incidents Clapton had not made a lot of public appearances. Then he was asked to write a song for the Rush movie soundtrack. This is where Tears in Heaven came to be.

According to Clapton in an interview:

"There is a song that I’ve written for a movie, but in actual fact it was in the back of my head but it didn’t really have a reason for being until I was scoring this movie which I did a little while ago and then it sort of had a reason to be. And it is a little ambiguous because it could be taken to be about Conor but it also is meant to be part of the film."

Also from co-writer of the song Will Jennings:

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.

Although the last thing that he was looking for was commercial success, it was one of his most popular songs ever. In the US he reached number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. In addition, he won numerous Grammy Awards including Song of the Year and Record or the Year.


Would you know my name If I saw you in heaven? Would it be the same If I saw you in heaven? I must be strong And carry on 'Cause I know I don't belong Here in heaven 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 'Cause I know I just can't stay Here in heaven 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 Would you know my name If I saw you in heaven? Would you be the same If I saw you in heaven? I must be strong And carry on 'Cause I know I don't belong Here in heaven 'Cause I know I don't belong Here in heaven

Tears in Heaven - Eric Clapton


I have never lost a son but I have lost people close to me. Music can sometimes be therapeutic or as Clapton calls it, "a healing agent.".

This is music in its purist form. The subject matter which you know is dear to the heart of the artist. The acoustic guitar is just enough to hold the rhythm and that blues-y voice. The song is perfect on many levels and I think that it will be a classic for generations to come.

The lyrics that I think are the strongest are the following:

I must be strong And carry on 'Cause I know I don't belong Here in heaven

For me, what this means is that although you would want to be with that person, it is just not the time. Until the time comes where they can be reunited, he must carry on with his life. This is not easy to do, but he tries to convince himself that this is the best. It feels like a last farewell before Clapton turns the page and continues with his life.

No matter who listens to this song, they will always have a tear in their eye. That is a sign of a personal and real song. It comes and grabs you. Even if you never lived through something like this, you can feel his pain and you just want to give him a great big hug.

How do you like this song? Is it too sad? is it good? let us know below.

10 views0 comments
bottom of page