It's In The Way That You Use It

Album: August (1986)
Charted: 77
Play Video


  • "It's In The Way That You Use It" was written for the movie The Color Of Money, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Paul Newman and Tom Cruise as pool sharks. The song makes no mention of billiards but has a swagger that suits the stars perfectly.
  • Clapton wrote this with Robbie Robertson, whose work with The Band in the '60s encouraged Clapton to get away from the long, heavy solos he was playing with Cream. Robertson was in charge of the music for The Color Of Money, but because he was not finished with his first solo album, his record company would not let him sing on any of the songs. He got around it by contributing instrumental songs to the soundtrack.
  • The song first appeared on the The Color Of Money soundtrack in October 1986, then was included on Clapton's August album a month later. Why August? That was the month Clapton's son Conor was born. Tragedy struck in 1991 when Conor, 4 years old, fell out a window and died. He's the inspiration for Clapton's song "Tears In Heaven."

    The Color Of Money soundtrack also includes Warren Zevon's "Werewolves Of London" and an original song by Don Henley called "Who Owns This Place?"
  • The original title was "The Gift."
  • Gary Brooker, formerly a member of Procol Harum, sang backup. He played keyboards on Clapton's 1981 album Another Ticket.
  • This was the first track and first single from the August album, Clapton's 10th as a solo artist. The song came with a music video that mixed in scenes from the movie with shots of Clapton performing the song.

Comments: 11

  • Chris R from England Also appearing in Rick and Morty, Season 4 "The Vat of Acid Episode" to which Dan Harmon is the co-creator of. He also added it to "The Community", to which he also created.
  • Tom from Sydney, AustraliaI believe that we all have something to share in life. We are all unique and a considerable amount of my efforts have gone to utilising both the similarities and differences I have with others to establish sustainability and an ever-expanding breadth to my life and the life of others. Its a good way to live and this song allows me to maintain focus in that effort. Thanks Eric Clapton and everyone else involved in bringing it to my ears.
  • Kevin from Memphis , TnThis was perfect for "The Color of Money", not overdone, the right scenes from the movie are used.
  • Miles from Vancouver, Canada"The Gift" (the working title of the song) is actually the Japanese title. And Phil Collins did not produce this song, though he did do the rest of the August album.
  • Angie from Johannesburg, South AfricaOK :) It is in the way that I use it!
  • Rusty from Lake Park, MnI agree also that this is very underrated. I saw eric clapton about a year ago and i was kinda hoping that he would do this song. But it was still amazing. The solo on this song is awesome!!
  • Paige from Newark, NjOn an Eric Clapton radio special, Clapton described the writing process with Robbie Robertson as being really hairy. They were splitting hairs over the various rhymes in the song and were not writing in person, but over the phone.
  • Lisa from Antioch, CaVery Underrated song!!Besides talents or gifts, it also works as philosophy for life itself...a great perspective, and a great song!!!One of my favorites.
  • Josh from Melbourne, AustraliaYes, very underrated song. In response to Marielle below, although the parent album August was mainly produced by Phil Collins, this track was produced by Clapton with long time associate Tom Dowd. It does sound like a Phil Collins song though.
  • Mike from Hueytown , AlI love this song. One of Clapton's best. Does not get enough credit
  • Marielle from Brisbane, AustraliaThe song was produced by Phil Collins.

    It was released as a single (I own it on 45) the B-side was called Grand Illusion.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Zac Hanson

Zac HansonSongwriter Interviews

Zac tells the story of Hanson's massive hit "MMMbop," and talks about how brotherly bonds effect their music.

Bill Withers

Bill WithersSongwriter Interviews

Soul music legend Bill Withers on how life experience and the company you keep leads to classic songs like "Lean On Me."

Jon Anderson of Yes

Jon Anderson of YesSongwriter Interviews

From the lake in "Roundabout" to Sister Bluebird in "Starship Trooper," Jon Anderson talks about how nature and spirituality play into his lyrics for Yes.

Artis the Spoonman

Artis the SpoonmanSong Writing

Even before Soundgarden wrote a song about him, Artis was the most famous spoon player of all time. So why has he always been broke?

Ian Anderson: "The delight in making music is that you don't have a formula"

Ian Anderson: "The delight in making music is that you don't have a formula"Songwriter Interviews

Ian talks about his 3 or 4 blatant attempts to write a pop song, and also the ones he most connected with, including "Locomotive Breath."

Tommy James

Tommy JamesSongwriter Interviews

"Mony Mony," "Crimson and Clover," "Draggin' The Line"... the hits kept coming for Tommy James, and in a plot line fit for a movie, his record company was controlled by the mafia.