Eric Clapton: “See What Love Can Do” (1985)

Kronomyth 13.2: LOVE IS NOT FOREVER. When Warner Bros. pushed Clapton to record some new tracks for Behind The Sun with their own producers, Eric pushed back by telling WB to provide the songs as well. Enter Jerry Lynn Williams, a Texas songwriter who furnished Clapton with two readymade hits: “Forever Man” and “See What Love Can Do.” I’ve always felt that Clapton got this song wrong; it’s really a hopeful song about the power of love, but Clapton sings it with a world-weary sadness. The lyrics actually anticipate the sentiment of Live Aid, but Clapton and Collins opted for a rendition of “She’s Waiting” instead. You can’t blame them, since it’s the better song; in fact, time has forgotten that it was “See What Love Can Do” and not “She’s Waiting” that charted. Warner Bros. may have had as much in mind, as they shaved almost a minute from “She’s Waiting” (including that annoying ending), making it more palatable to radio play.

Original 7-inch Single
A1. See What Love Can Do (Jerry Williams) (3:59)
B1. She’s Waiting (Eric Clapton/Peter Robinson) (4:04)

Back-to-Back Hits 7-inch single reissue
A1. See What Love Can Do
B1. Forever Man

Did You Know?

  • In 1992, New Zealander Annie Crumm had a regional hit with her version of “See What Love Can Do,” which also featured NZ reggae band Herbs.
  • In 1985, Williams met his future wife, Lorelei, whom he would marry in 1987 (after she divorced her husband). Continuing the Clapton Songwriter Curse, Jerry Williams would die of liver cancer at age 57, embroiled in legal wrangling over copyright royalties, which you can read about in this Forbes article if you’re so inclined.

The Plastic
Released on 7-inch in June 1985 in the US (Duck, 7-28986); reached #89 on the US charts (charted on June 29, 1985 for 2 weeks). Also released as one-track promotional 12-inch in 1985 in the US (Warner Bros., PRO-A-2306). Re-released on 7-inch in the US (Warner Bros., GWB-0538) with “Forever Man” on the flip side.

The Word
Jerry Williams’ financial troubles bring to mind this quote from Matthew 6:19-20: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

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