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Layla
Eric Clapton
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It boasts the most recognisable guitar riff in history and was written about one of the most tortured love triangles in rock – it’s fair to say that “Layla” has all the ingredients of a classic.
Eric Clapton had formed Derek And The Dominos in early 1970 with three musicians from the band Delaney & Bonnie & Friends. The Allman Brothers’ Duane Allman also joined them for recording sessions and it
Eric Clapton
Song facts
Composer Eric Clapton/Jim Gordon
Genre Rock
Album Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs
Year of Release 1970
UK Chart Position 4
was he who provided that riff. Drummer Jim Gordon played a major part in the song’s creation too, composing the beautiful piano coda that closes the track.

“Layla” burns throughout with the pain of Clapton’s unrequited love for George Harrison’s wife, Patti. To further complicate matters, Harrison was his best friend.  Unable to mention her by name, Clapton titled the track after the heroine of a Persian epic called The Story Of Layla And Majnun, about a doomed romance.

Tragedy haunts the recording in other ways. Allman died a year later in a motorcycle accident, Gordon was jailed for murder, bassist Carl Radle died from a liver infection and Clapton descended into a heroin-induced depression.

On a positive note, old Slowhand eventually married the woman of his dreams in 1979 and also wrote “Wonderful Tonight” for her. So much for true love though - they divorced in 1988.


Listen to Eric Clapton on his early guitar heroes
Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton talks about some of the great artists that inspired him to start playing guitar.

 

Other versions
Listen to the London Symphony Orchestra
 Listen to the London Symphony Orchestra perform Layla.

Eric Clapton really sings it like he means it, fantastic stuff. Never get tired of it.


Sarah Watson



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