10/15/2007 at 01:00 AM EDT
In childhood, writes Clapton (at age 4), "music became a healer for me ... I learned to listen with all my being."
His classic "Wonderful Tonight" was "actually written in anger and frustration" one evening when girlfriend Pattie Boyd (with him in the '70s) was late getting ready.
"However deeply I loved this little boy," Clapton writes of son Conor (who died at 4 a year after this photo was taken), "I was a baby trying to look after a baby."
"The last 10 years have been the best of my life," writes Clapton (with wife Melia McEnery, mother of his two young daughters).