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Clapton wrote this in England with Bobby Whitlock. Whitlock explains how they got together:
"I was with Delaney And Bonnie. I was the last one to leave that organization; everybody else did Mad Dogs And Englishmen (Joe Cocker's album). I stayed with them and helped them do a couple more albums, then the pressure got to be too much and Steve Cropper suggested I go see Eric and see what he's doing. He actually bought my ticket to England. I called Eric and said, 'Hey, what are you up to,' and he said, 'I'm just getting my hair cut.' I said, 'I need to get out of here, is it all right if I come visit?' He said, 'Sure, come on over,' so I was over there 2 days later. I was just hanging with him, we got around to picking and singing, and the next thing I know, we decided to put a group together. He and I were writing, it just happened real natural for us because we already had a friendship developed through the Delaney And Bonnie thing."
The album is full of songs about heartbreak and unrequited love. This was inspired by George Harrison's wife, Pattie. Clapton was having an affair with her and was tormented because he was good friends with George. Eventually, Clapton and Pattie started living together and got married. George was never too upset because he had lost interest in Pattie, and he remained good friends with Clapton. In the end, Pattie and Eric got a divorce and moved on with their lives. Pattie eventually married a guy who does not play guitar.
During this period, Clapton also wrote "Layla
" for Pattie. She would inspire him to write several others, including "Wonderful Tonight" and "Forever Man."
Duane Allman played guitar on this track. Clapton invited him to play after seeing him perform with the Allman Brothers. Clapton called Allman the "catalyst" for the album.
A live version was released as a single in 1973.
Whitlock included this on his CD Other Assorted Love Songs
. After he and his wife Kim were invited to play acoustic sets for a radio station in New Jersey, they realized there were a lot of people who wanted to hear songs from the Layla
album. The Other Assorted Love Songs
CD was taken from a show they played in 2002 at Whitney Chapel Centenary College in Hackettstown, New Jersey. For more on Derek and the Dominos, check out our Bobby Whitlock interview
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