In 1947, Johnny Mercer adapted the French composition Les feuilles mortes (literally The Dead Leaves) and it became a pop standard, covered by artists raging from Edith Piaf to Nat King Cole to Cannonball Adderley to Bill Evans.
Over a gorgeous, hushed instrumental backing (Abe Laboriel Jr is an absolute genius with a pair of brushes), Clapton, always a superlative interpreter who reaches a new level here, sings in a tender baritone, his throat full of heartache and regret.
Best of of all, the man known as God plays not one but two guitar solos. At first he performs a breathtaking acoustic run in which he remains faithful to the haunting melody; his second solo is on an electric, and it's a towering achievement, with jazzy, bell-like tones giving way to notes that weep as they reach up to the heavens.
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