Derek & The Dominos – Layla

On the 4th of April, 1982, Derek and the Dominos’ Layla peaked at number 4 in the UK Singles Chart after a re-release. Clapton originally wrote “Layla” as a ballad, with lyrics describing his then unrequited love for Patty Boyd. The song became a „rocker“ when, according to Clapton, Duane Allman composed the song’s signature riff.

Layla is a song written by Eric Clapton and Jim Gordon, originally released by their blues rock band Derek and the Dominos, as the thirteenth track from their album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs – November, 1970.

The song was inspired by a love story that originated in 7th-century Persia and later formed the basis of The Story of Layla and Majnun by the 12th-century Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi, a copy of which Ian Dallas had given to Clapton. The book moved Clapton profoundly, because it was the tale of a young man who fell hopelessly in love with a beautiful, unavailable woman and went crazy because he could not marry her. In his autobiography, Clapton states, “Ian Dallas told me the tale of Layla and Manjun, a romantic Persian love story in which a young man, Manjun, falls passionately in love with the beautiful Layla, but is forbidden by her father to marry her and goes crazy with desire. The song was further inspired by Clapton’s then unrequited love for Pattie Boyd, the wife of his friend and fellow musician George Harrison of The Beatles. Clapton and Boyd would eventually marry.

Clapton/Harrison/Boyd – Getty images

In 1966, Beatles guitarist George Harrison married Pattie Boyd, a model he met two years before, during the filming of “A Hard Day’s Night”. During the late 1960s, Clapton and Harrison became close friends. Clapton contributed guitar work on Harrison’s song “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” on the Beatles’ self-titled double album, and Harrison co-wrote and played guitar on Cream’s “Badge”, from the album “Goodbye”. In the meanwhile, Clapton fell in love with Boyd.

In 2004, “Layla” was ranked number 27 on Rolling Stone’s list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”, and the acoustic version won the 1993 Grammy Award for Best Rock Song.

Pattie Boyd – Getty images

The Muse

Pattie Boyd inspired some of the most beautiful rock songs – Harrison’s  “If I Needed Someone”, “Something” and “For You Blue”, and Clapton’s  “Layla” and “Wonderful Tonight”.

Patricia Anne Boyd, born 17 March 1944, is an English model and photographer. She was one of the leading international models during the 1960s . Boyd married George Harrison in 1966, and divorced him in 1977. She married Harrison’s friend Eric Clapton in 1979, but they divorced in 1989.

In August 2007, Boyd published her autobiography Wonderful Today. Her photographs of Harrison and Clapton, titled Through the Eye of a Muse, have been widely exhibited.