Eric Claptons Layla was released in 1970 as the title track of the album “Layla and other assorted love songs” by Derek And The Dominos. The song Layla was written by Clapton as a love song dedicated to the woman he was in love with at the time, infact Clapton himself called it an infatuation. The woman was Pattie Boyd, or Pattie Harrrison as she was then as she was still married the ex beatle George Harrison.
The title of the song came around after Eric Clapton read a poem about a princess whose father arranged her marriage to someone she did not love as she was madly in love with someone else (the someone else consequently went mad). The title of the poem was “The story of Layla and Manjun” written by a Persian poet called Nezami, Manjun in Persian means “madman”.The poem had such an impact on Eric Clapton as he felt it mirrored his own circumstances.
At the time the album did not sell too well, infact it never made the charts in the UK and Layla on its own received no radio play because at over 7 minutes in length was too long for radio airplay.
In 1972 the single was re-released following the release of Claptons album “The History Of Eric Clapton” this time it did much better charting at number 7 in the UK and number 10 in America.
The song is essentially in 2 parts, the first half created by Clapton and Duane Allman, a guitarist who he worked closely with and the second half, or piano “coda” as it is know was composed by Jim Gordon the drummer of Derek And The Dominos with Clapton ad-libbing on the guitar. The piano coda was also part of the soundtrack on the movie “goodfellas” in 1990
Layla has recieved many accolades over the years including;
27th place in Rolling Stones magazine “500 greatest songs of all time”
16th place on VH1’s “100 greatest songs of rock and roll”,
an inclusion in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame’s “Songs That Shaped Rock And Roll”,
a Grammy in 1992 for best rock song from the album “Unplugged”.
In a rare interview Mike Hrano spoke to Clapton at his offices in Chelsea, London, he said;
‘Layla’ is a difficult one, because it’s a difficult song to perform live. You have to have a good complement of musicians to get all of the ingredients going but, when you’ve got that… It’s difficult to do as a quartet, for instance, because there are some parts you have to play and sing completely opposing lines, which is almost impossible to do. If you’ve got a big band, which I will have on the tour, then it will be easy to do something like ‘Layla’ — and I’m very proud of it. I love to hear it. It’s almost like it’s not me. It’s like I’m listening to someone that I really like. Derek and The Dominos was a band I really liked—and it’s almost like I wasn’t in that band. It’s just a band that I’m a fan of. Sometimes, my own music can be like that. When it’s served its purpose to being good music, I don’t associate myself with it anymore. It’s like someone else. It’s easy to do those songs then.
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.