Townshend assembled an ad-hoc band to back Clapton for the two shows. Ronnie Wood of Faces (and later of the Rolling Stones) provided support on guitar and vocals, as did Townshend, with Clapton playing lead guitar and (mostly) singing lead.Two recent associates of Clapton also came to his aid for the Rainbow Concert: singer and multi-instrumentalist Steve Winwood and bassist Ric Grech had only recently concluded their time as band mates with Clapton in Blind Faith. And Winwood brought along some of his Traffic band mates, drummer-vocalist Jim Capaldi and Ghanian percussionist Rebop Kwaku Baah (the latter is credited on the original Rainbow Concert LP simply as “Rebop”.)
Slowhand had been mostly absent from the scene for a couple years. Heroine and a pining for Patti Boyd Harrison had him in a bad place. His buddy, Pete Townshend pushed Clapton to return to music and organized a couple of concerts at London’s famed Rainbow Theatre.
The first and only album from the first-ever is released on August 16, 1969. Buzzworthy not only because of Clapton, Winwood, Grech and Baker but also because of the album cover.
Bob Seidemann, who has photographed the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin, is hired to take the cover shot. The band is not yet named and won’t be appearing on the cover, so it has to be abstract. The visual he settles on is that of a young girl holding a spaceship. And oh yeah, she should be naked, a symbol of innocence and Eve in the Garden.
On the tube in London, he spots a 14-year-old girl who has the look he is going for. She won’t do it, but her 11-year-old sister will (with consent of her parents). The girl is Mariora Goschen, who is paid £40 for the session but requests a horse.
The album is first released in the United States, but with an alternate cover showing a picture of the band. In the UK, the Seidemann photo is used, covered with a wrapper displaying the name of the band to obscure the nudity. When the wrapper is removed, the raw photo is revealed.
Seidemann calls the photo “Blind Faith,” and Clapton decides that should be the name of the band. When the record company pushes for a more sensible cover, Clapton pushes back and gets his way.
The band breaks up almost as soon as the album is released, and plays only one show in the UK. It hits #1 there in September and stays at the top for two weeks before it is jettisoned by Abbey Road. Mariora Goschen becomes a massage therapist and an expert on breath work, claiming to develop a respiratory routine that “almost guarantees happiness.”
July 25, 1969 — and a couple weeks before Woodstock and on the closing night of the second-ever Summerfest, a “rival” festival hit State Fair Park in West Allis. A few up-and-comers showed up. (sarcasm mine)
Blind Faith kicks off their maiden US tour at “The Garden” on July 12, 1969. Their debut album isn’t even out yet but that doesn’t matter — it’s a sell-out mainly because of Clapton’s guitar-god star power.
There’s a bit of controversy and legend attached to the event. Near the end of concert, many notice one of Ginger Baker’s drum sticks shatter and fly off the edge of the stage. An eager fan jumps up to grab it and is mauled by a security guy. Ginger didn’t like the treatment of the fan, jumps off his perch behind the drums and uses the other good drumstick to lay some beats on the security guy’s melon. The ensuing melee causes the concert to end abruptly with Clapton, Winwood and Baker being escorted from the stage.
After Blind Faith’s demise, Steve Winwood set out to do his first solo album. But somewhere along the way, he yearned for musicians in the studio who thought like him. Enter Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood. Traffic is back and they release their 4th album on July 1, 1970 …
Eric Clapton assembled an incredible roster of musicians on Sunday evening to honor the late Ginger Baker at the Eventim Apollo Hammersmith in London: Roger Waters, Nile Rodgers, Ron Wood, Steve Winwood and Paul Carrack, along with Baker’s son Kofi.