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Eric Clapton's Wonderful Tonight guitar up for sale, cigarette burns included

Eric Clapton's Wonderful Tonight guitar up for sale, cigarette burns included
Claire Tole-Moir, head of Bonham's Popular Culture department, poses for a photograph with Eric Clapton's 1974 000-28 Martin acoustic guitar, on which he wrote the song Wonderful Tonight, at Bonhams auction house, ahead of Rock, Pop & Film auction on June 12, in London, UK May 13, 2024.
PHOTO: Reuters

LONDON — For sale, vintage guitar with proven heritage. At least one not-so careful owner.

The acoustic guitar that auctioneers say Eric Clapton used to compose his hit ballad Wonderful Tonight is going under the hammer next month with a guide price of up to US$500,000 (S$674,850).

Among its listed distinguishing marks are burns on the headstock, left by the cigarettes Clapton stuck under the strings.

The guitarist — who performed with the English R&B group The Yardbirds in the early 1960s, then with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, supergroups Cream and Blind Faith, Derek and the Dominos and as a solo artist — acquired the instrument in the mid 1970s, auctioneer Bonhams said. guitar up for sale, cigarette burns included

He used it to compose songs, including his 1977 hit about model Pattie Boyd, Bonhams added. According to rock legend, he wrote Wonderful Tonight as he was waiting for her to get ready for a party.

The 1974 000-28 Martin acoustic also has a sticker on the side reading "She's in Love with a Rodeo Man", a reference to the hit performed by Texas-born country star Don Williams, according to Bonhams.

Clapton sold the guitar at a charitable auction in 1999, it said.

It will be up for sale again at Bonhams's Rock, Pop & Film auction at its London Knightsbridge saleroom on June 12 with a price estimate of 300,000 pounds - 400,000 pounds (S$510,030 - S$680,000). It will be on view there from June 9-11.

"Clapton is... one of the greatest living guitarists of all time and so to have a guitar that's from such a pivotal time in his career and attached to such a pivotal song is a once in a lifetime opportunity," Claire Tole-Moir, head of Bonhams' Popular Culture department, told Reuters on Monday.

ALSO READ: Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler's guitar collection up for auction

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