No Alibis

Album: Journeyman (1989)
Charted: 53
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Songfacts®:

  • Eric Clapton made very transgressive, passionate music in the '60s and '70s, much of it with bands like Cream and Derek & the Dominos. By the late '80s, his songs got more generic and were crafted more for hit potential than to break down sonic barriers. "No Alibis" is one of those songs, a smooth rocker that finds him confronting a lover who keeps telling him lies.
  • The song was written by Jerry Williams, one of the more unheralded songwriters in rock. He wrote a handful of Clapton's hits, including "Pretending" and "Forever Man," as well as tracks for B.B. King ("Standing on the Edge of Love"), Delbert McClinton ("Givin' It Up for Your Love"), and Bonnie Raitt ("I Will Not Be Denied," "Real Man"). Williams, who also recorded as a solo artist, died in 2005 at 57.
  • Do the backup singers on this one sound familiar? Sharing a few lines and some harmony with Clapton is Daryl Hall of Hall & Oates. She's less prominent, but Chaka Khan is also in the mix along with another female backing singer, Lani Groves. Chaka is better heard on "Pretending," also from the Journeyman album.
  • That's a drum machine on "No Alibis." It was programmed by Jimmy Bralower, who worked with both rappers and rockers. Clapton's friend Phil Collins helped him out with drums on some other tracks from the album.
  • "No Alibis" was the third single from Journeyman, following "Pretending" and "Bad Love." A year earlier, Clapton had a lot of success with his Crossroads boxed set, which gave him the liberty to experiment on the album and cross genres.

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