Layla - The story behind the song...
Do you know the story behind the song that was the soundtrack of one of the most emotional moments of The Grand Tour?
Everyone who is a fan of The Grand Tour should by now know and love the song Layla. The guitar of Eric Clapton accompanied us fans of the trio in an emotional roller-coaster in the last episode of The Grand Tour, his desperate guitar riff was a perfect soundtrack for that reel showing us the best moments from Top Gear 'til the end. But how many of us knows the story behind this song?
Obviously, this Clapton's song is well...so famous that I would be surprised if you came across it only watching The Grand Tour...I've heard Layla many years ago, I loved it immediately and even if I'm all but romantic I always fancied the idea of someone special playing or singing this song for me, it never happened yet, probably I should just keep practicing with my guitar and play it by myself, anyway...
Layla was released for the first time in 1970, it was published in the Album Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs by Derek and the Dominos. It wasn't successful at all at the beginning, and became famous only in 1972 when was published again by Clapton himself in the "The History of Eric Clapton". Funny as this is one of, if not the most, famous song he ever performed. But who's Layla? Why he says "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." ?
Actually is quite simple, Layla was Patricia Boyd, a beautiful blonde woman, a model and unfortunately for Clapton, the wife of his good friend George Harrison, yes, the one of the Beatles. Even if they were in an era ruled by free love and everything, falling in love with your mate wife wasn't a nice thing at all. Mr. Slow hand met her in 1968 and he found himself falling immediately in front of Pattie's smile, he fell so badly that started to frequent Harrison's pretty often, magnetized by this girl, he also faked a flirt with her sister to get closer to her, literally as he sings "Like a fool, I fell in love with you " . Then arrived Layla, a deep, desperate declaration of love.
The name Layla was inspired by an Arabic tale from the 7th century Majnun Layla, or Layla's mad lover. A friend of Clapton that was converting to Islam mentioned to him this poem, which talk about a tragic love story and of the impossible love between Manjun and Layla. The story definitely suited the situation, a man madly in love for a woman he can't have.
Such a heartfelt song didn't work anyway, not immediately at least, Pattie and Eric Clapton started a relationship only in 1974, when she left Harrison because she was fed up with him an his addiction to drugs, alcohol and women.
They got married in 1979, and this seems like an happy ending, but in 1989 after a long period of separation, due also to Clapton's addictions they officially divorced. George Harrison once said that him and Eric Clapton shared the same wife, but looking at it from another perspective, looks like they got dumped by the same woman.