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The Legend Of Layla: How Pattie Boyd Changed The Face Of Rock ‘n’ Roll

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In 1964, Pattie Boyd was an international celebrity due to a successful modeling career. Early that year, Boyd appeared in a television advertising campaign helmed by UK-based American director Richard Lester. Lester would later cast Pattie in another project he was working on, The Beatles’ debut feature film A Hard Day’s Night. It was on the set of A Hard Day’s Night that Pattie Boyd met George Harrison, a meeting that would forever alter the landscape of rock ‘n’ roll and continues to influence the genre to this day.

After meeting on the film set, the two young celebrities soon began dating. Boyd met Harrison at the height of Beatlemania but also as her career was taking off. Pattie’s “look” was often pointed to as the embodiment of Western female fashion and would go on to define feminine style in the 1960s. Together, Pattie and George came to understand the toll that fame could take, bringing them closer to each other. Boyd and Harrison married on January 21, 1966 with Paul McCartney acting as best man.

Pattie had also begun to seep into George’s songwriting. The song “I Need You” is perhaps the first song she inspired. “I Need You” was one of two Harrison compositions on The Beatles’ 1965 album Help! It was on the set of the film Help! that George encountered classical Indian music, which led him to discover Transcendental Meditation and Indian spirituality — an interest Pattie initially shared with him.

George began playing the sitar and would use the instrument on John Lennon’s “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown),” perhaps the first instance of a sitar in western popular music. The song appeared on The Beatles’ second LP of 1965, the formative Rubber Soul, which also included one of Harrison’s best songs of the early Beatles era, “If I Needed Someone,” also inspired by Boyd. In August 1966, The Beatles released their groundbreaking album Revolver, which contained a Harrison song, “Love You Too,” which featured classical Indian instruments and was also an ode to Pattie.

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If I Needed Someone

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Love You Too

When The Beatles made the decision to stop touring after Summer 1966, Pattie and Geroge traveled to India for six weeks that fall where George studied under sitar master Ravi Shankar and Pattie also picked up a bowed Indian instrument called the dilruba. Boyd would also suggest that she and Harrison attend a lecture by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. This would lead The Beatles and their partners to travel to the Maharishi’s ashram in Rishikesh, India in early 1968.

Around the same time, George began collaborating with British guitarist Eric Clapton. As Eric and Geroge developed a close friendship, he was naturally around Pattie and became enamored with her. Unable to express his feelings overtly at first, Clapton began working on a new double LP with his group Derek & The Dominos entitled Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. The work allowed the guitarist to profess his feelings for Pattie, most notably through the record’s iconic title track but also “Bell Bottom Blues” and other songs.

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Layla

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Bell Bottom Blues

Harrison continued to write amazing songs inspired by his wife, including perhaps his best Beatles song, “Something,” appearing on the final album The Beatles would record, Abbey Road. Thus, Boyd’s influence played a huge role in two of the greatest albums of the era.

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Something

But Pattie’s relationship with George began to hit the rocks around the same time and after Boyd refused Clapton’s initial advances in 1970, he began pursuing her again in 1974 while she and George were still married. As legend has it, Harrison and Clapton engaged in a guitar duel over Boyd which actor John Hurt called “extraordinary” and “electric.” Clapton would later dispute the duel, saying that they were just jamming as they usually did. Nonetheless, Pattie and George separated in 1974 and divorced in 1977, after which Boyd married Clapton in 1979.

For Pattie and Eric’s wedding reception in England, Clapton had a stage set up and the ensuing jam session saw the closet thing to a Beatles reunion up till that point when George, Paul and Ringo (John was living in America and not present) got together to perform for the first time in a semi-public forum since their 1969 rooftop concert. But despite the fiery passion of “Layla,” Boyd and Clapton’s marriage soon took a turn for the worse as well and they divorced in 1988.

It couldn’t have been easy for Pattie to be married to Harrison or Clapton, two of the biggest rock stars in the world. The former model and photographer has opened up about her personal life of late, stating that drugs and alcohol played a big role in the deterioration and dissolution of both relationships. Pattie said this in a 2022 interview.

“Well, I was no longer Mrs. Famous George or Mrs. Famous Eric, so who am I? I am no one. No one knows me—I don’t even know me. I was at a critical point in my life, and so I saw a psychotherapist who was quite wonderful. She was amazing. She guided me out of this mire of despond and gradually I learned to believe in myself.”

Since divorcing Clapton, Pattie has released an autobiography as well as books of her photography. But the story doesn’t end there. Eric Clapton also drew inspiration for Layla from The Story of Layla and Majnunn, an ancient Persian poem telling the tale of two lovers, Manjunn and Layla, who cannot be together — which drives Manjunn mad.

After releasing a live album covering Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs in 2021 with Trey Anastasio and others, Tedeschi Trucks Band was inspired to tell a more balanced story of Layla and Manjunn. Thus, their amazing four-part 2022 album I Am The Moon was born. In this way, Pattie Boyd continues to influence the world of rock ‘n’ roll to this day.

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TTB & Trey – Layla


00:00:00

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TedeschiTrucksVEVO



(See 5 videos)


Tedeschi Trucks Band



(See 249 videos)

,

Trey Anastasio



(See 207 videos)

and

Doyle Bramhall II



(See 25 videos)

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TTB & Trey – Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad


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TedeschiTrucksVEVO



(See 5 videos)


Tedeschi Trucks Band



(See 249 videos)

and

Trey Anastasio



(See 207 videos)

Source: JamBase.com