Any dyed-in-the-wool rocker is familiar with Derek (Eric Clapton) and the Dominoes’ “Layla”, one of the greatest rock songs by one of the greatest rock artists/guitarists of our time. And I guess a lot of those same rockers out there know the story behind the song.
Here’s a little additional info I dug out.


Layla,  as we now know is/was Patti Boyd Harrison. Clapton had this deep “crush” on his best friend’s (George Harrison) wife but could only express it through song, thus the “birth” of Layla. When George started having flings with the “Apple Scruffs”, – groupies that used to hang around Abbey Road Studios, Patti started making passes at Clapton to make George jealous. This, together with George’s substance abuse was the reason for the end of the coouples’ marriage.

Patti eventually ended up with Clapton  several years after (George even attended the wedding) but the same round of “women and drugs” also rocked and ended this  marriage

Patti is now a professional photographer and is very respected in the music world for not selling her extraordinary story.

by Eric Clapton and Jim Gordon

What’ll you do when you get lonely
And nobody’s waiting by your side?
You’ve been running and hiding much too long.
You know it’s just your foolish pride.
Layla, you’ve got me on my knees.
Layla, I’m begging, darling please.
Layla, darling won’t you ease my worried mind.

I tried to give you consolation
When your old man had let you down.
Like a fool, I fell in love with you,
Turned my whole world upside down.


Let’s make the best of the situation
Before I finally go insane.
Please don’t say we’ll never find a way
And tell me all my love’s in vain.


Click to listen
Layla (Derek and the Dominoes)

Agust 2004


An update after that 5-year old post
The story of rock’s most famous love triangle never ceases to amaze me.

Eric – Patti – George

More interesting tidbits of this love story:

London’s Daily Mail interviewed Boyd and excerpted passages from her new autobiography, “Wonderful Today,” in which she reveals what had the two men “on their knees, beggin’ darlin’ please.”
“We met secretly at a flat in South Kensington,” she said.
“Eric had asked me to come because he wanted me to listen to a new number he had written.
He switched on the tape machine, turned up the volume and played me the most powerful, moving song I had ever heard.
It was ‘Layla.’ “
“My first thought was, ‘Oh, God, everyone’s going to know this is about me,’ ” Boyd said.
“Layla” was the second song written for Boyd. Harrison had penned “Something,” his smash hit from the Beatles’ “Abbey Road” album in 1969.
Then after stealing her away from Harrison, Clapton wrote “Wonderful Tonight” about Boyd in 1977.
The same night she heard “Layla” for the first time, Boyd, Harrison and Clapton were all at a party at the home of pop entrepreneur Robert Stigwood, who managed Clapton’s group Cream and the Bee Gees.
Harrison “kept asking, ‘Where’s Pattie? But no one seemed to know. He was about to leave when he spotted me in the garden with Eric.”
“George came over and demanded, ‘What’s going on?’ To my horror, Eric said, ‘I have to tell you, man, that I’m in love with your wife.’
“I wanted to die. George was furious. He turned to me and said: ‘Well, are you going with him or coming with me?’
She went home with Harrison, but Clapton kept pursuing her.
At one point, Clapton, drunk on brandy, arrived at their house, and Harrison decided to have a duel for Boyd’s love.
“George handed him a guitar and an amp – as an 18th-century gentleman might have handed his rival a sword – and for two hours, without a word, they dueled.”
“At the end, nothing was said but the general feeling was that Eric had won.
He hadn’t allowed himself to get riled or go in for instrumental gymnastics as George had.
Even when he was drunk, his guitar-playing was unbeatable.”

Fast-forward four decades later.

I think I’ll miss George for the rest of my life. I would have incredibly vivid dreams that he was alive. Then I would wake up and the reality would wash over me.
I regret allowing myself to be seduced by Eric and wish I had been stronger. I believed marriage was for ever, and when things were going wrong between George and me I should have gritted my teeth and worked through them.
And I wish I’d known I didn’t have to be a doormat and allow both husbands to be so flagrantly faithless.
But if I had resisted Eric, I would never have known that incredible passion. I would never have been the inspiration for those beautiful songs Layla and Wonderful Tonight.
I accept that I paid a high price, but it was in proportion to the depth of the love he and I shared. I loved George deeply, too, but we were younger and it was a gentler love.
I don’t regret leaving Eric. All I regret is that I had to. It was painful beyond belief, but if I had stayed, Eric might have drunk himself to death.
In October 2006, Bill Wyman was 70. He had a huge party at Ronnie Scott’s and he took over the club. It was full of faces from the Sixties: all were friends, all looked as fabulous as they had 50 years ago.
Given my life over again, I wouldn’t change anything.
I loved everything that went with rock ‘n’ roll. I loved being at the heart of such creativity and being young in such an exciting era. I have known some amazing people and had some unforgettable experiences.
Our generation really did lead a revolution: as teenagers we refused to conform and we’re still refusing to do what’s expected of us, still breaking the mould, still doing everything it takes to keep age at bay.
One day we might have to give in to sensible shoes – but don’t hold your breath.
Patti Boyd

August 2009

6 Responses to “Layla”
  1. Anonymous says:

    Im speechless. ..

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] fascination for Layla (the album and the girl 🙂 ) must be coming out of your ears. But bear with me just a bit more. . […]

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