"My Father's Eyes" is a song written and performed by Eric Clapton and produced by Clapton and Simon Climie. It was released as a single in 1998 and was featured on the album Pilgrim. The song reached the top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart, peaking at number 16, and spent five weeks at number two on the Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary chart. It became a major hit in Canada, where it peaked at number two, and it reached the top 20 in Austria, Iceland and Norway. "My Father's Eyes" won a Grammy award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.
Clapton performed this track for the first time in 1992 and again in 1996, in both electric and unplugged versions. These versions of the song were completely different from the official single release in 1998. He would later retire the song in 2004, along with "Tears in Heaven", until the 50 Years Further On Up The Road world tour in 2013.
"My Father's Eyes" was inspired by the fact that Clapton never met his father, Edward Fryer, who died in 1985. Describing how he wishes he knew his father, the song also refers to Clapton's son Conor, who died in 1991 at age four after falling from an apartment window. "In [the song] I tried to describe the parallel between looking in the eyes of my son, and the eyes of the father that I never met, through the chain of our blood", said Clapton in his autobiography
Sailing down behind the sun Waiting for my prince to come Praying for the healing rain To restore my soul again
Just a toe rag on the run How did I get here? What have I done? When will all my hopes arise? How will I know him? When I look in my father's eyes
My father's eyes When I look in my father's eyes (look into my father's eyes) My father's eyes
Then the light begins to shine And I hear those ancient lullabies And as I watch this seedling grow Feel my heart start to overflow
Where do I find the words to say? How do I teach him? What do we play? Bit by bit, I've realized That's when I need them That's when I need my father's eyes
My father's eyes That's when I need my father's eyes (look into my father's eyes) My father's eyes (yeah)
Then the jagged edge appears Through the distant clouds of tears I'm like a bridge that was washed away My foundations were made of clay
As my soul slides down to die How could I lose him? What did I try? Bit by bit, I've realized That he was here with me And I looked into my father's eyes
My father's eyes I looked into my father's eyes (look into my father's eyes) My father's eyes
My father's eyes (look into my father's eyes) My father's eyes I looked into my father's eyes (looked into my father's eyes) My father's eyes (Look into my father's eyes) (Look into my father's eyes, yeah, yeah)
Songwriters: Eric Patrick Clapton My Father's Eyes lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc