Clapton Invited to Pyongyang

North Korea invites old Slowhand for landmark concert
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 27, 2008 11:41 AM CST
Legendary musician Eric Clapton plays at the Cotton Bowl during the Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival in this June 6, 2004 file photo, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, file)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Kim Jong Il is a diehard Elvis fan, but the Great Leader's son is seriously into Eric Clapton, which could be why North Korea has invited Old Slowhand to play a concert in Pyongyang. Though the New York Philharmonic performed there yesterday, a Clapton appearance  would mark the first time a Western pop music star had been involved in a cultural exchange with the regime that more often treats rock 'n' roll as "pollution."

“It's a good opportunity for the North Korean people to understand better Western music,” one Korean diplomat told E!. “Everyone knows who Clapton is.” Though some news reports said the 62-year-old guitarist had agreed in principle to a concert sometime in 2009, a Clapton spokesperson denied reports that he’d accepted the gig, which would be mirrored by a Korean State Symphony performance in London.