Clapton wrote this with Will Jennings, who has written many famous songs from movies, including "Up Where We Belong" from An Officer And A Gentleman
and "My Heart Will Go On
" from Titanic
. Jennings wrote the lyrics to many of Steve Winwood's hits and has also written with B.B. King, Roy Orbison, The Crusaders, Peter Wolf and many others.
He told Songfacts: "Eric and I were engaged to write a song for a movie called Rush
. We wrote a song called 'Help Me Up' for the end of the movie... then Eric saw another place in the movie for a song and he said to me, 'I want to write a song about my boy.' Eric had the first verse of the song written, which, to me, is all the song, but he wanted me to write the rest of the verse lines and the release ('Time can bring you down, time can bend your knees...'), even though I told him that it was so personal he should write everything himself. He told me that he had admired the work I did with Steve Winwood and finally there was nothing else but do to as he requested, despite the sensitivity of the subject. This is a song so personal and so sad that it is unique in my experience of writing songs."