Released:Originally 1970; as a single in 1971 and 1972
Writers:Eric Clapton/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.
In 1966 George Harrison married Pattie Boyd, a model he met during the filming of A Hard Day’s Night. During the late 1960s, Clapton and Harrison became close friends. Clapton contributed uncredited guitar work on Harrison’s song “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” on The Beatles’ White Album,
and Harrison co-wrote and played guitar pseudonymously (as L’Angelo Misterioso) on Cream’s “Badge” from Goodbye.
This is about George Harrison’s wife, Pattie.
Trouble was brewing for Clapton. Between his tenures in Cream and Blind Faith, in his words, “something else quite unexpected was happening: I was falling in love with Pattie.”
In an article published in The Guardian December 13, 2008, Pattie said: “I wasn’t so happy when Eric wrote ‘Layla,’ while I was still married to George. I felt I was being exposed. I was amazed and thrilled at the song – it was so passionate and devastatingly dramatic – but I wanted to hang on to my marriage. Eric made this public declaration of love. I resisted his attentions for a long time – I didn’t want to leave my husband. But obviously when things got so excruciatingly bad for George and me it was the end of our relationship. We both had to move on. Layla was based on a book by a 12th-century Persian poet called Nizami about a man who is in love with an unobtainable woman. The song was fantastically painful and beautiful.
Clapton was seeing Pattie Harrison and deeply in love with her when he wrote this. A lot of people knew about the affair, since it wasn’t easy for someone as famous as Clapton to keep a secret. Bobby Whitlock, who was in the band and good friends with both Harrison and Clapton, explains:
“I was there when they were supposedly sneaking around. You don’t sneak very well when you’re a world figure. He was all hot on Pattie and I was dating her sister. They had this thing going on that supposedly was behind George’s back. Well, George didn’t really care. He said, ‘You can have her.’ That kind of defuses it when Eric says, ‘I’m taking your wife’ and he says, ‘Take her.’ They got married and evidently, she wasn’t what he wanted after all. The hunt was better than the kill. That happens, but apparently Pattie is real happy now with some guy who’s not a guitar player. Good for her and good for Eric for moving on with his life. George got on with his life, that’s for sure.”
She and Clapton began living together in 1974 and married in 1979. Clapton and Harrison remained good friends, with George playing at their wedding along with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. (sources: wikipedia,songfacts)