top of page
Layla
Song

Layla

Derek and The Dominos
Album:
Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs

Song Meaning and Background of Layla by Derek and The Dominos


Trapped within a love triangle with his best friend George Harrison and Pattie Boyd, “It was the heaviest thing going on at the time,” Clapton told Rolling Stone in 1974. “That’s what I wanted to write about most of all.”

 

The song was inspired by Clapton's secret love for Pattie Boyd, the wife of his friend and fellow musician George Harrison. After Harrison and Boyd divorced, Clapton and Boyd eventually married.

In 1966, Beatles guitarist George Harrison married Pattie Boyd, a model he met two years before during the filming of A Hard Day's Night. During the late 1960s, Clapton and Harrison became close friends.


However, Clapton fell in love with Boyd.


The title of "Layla" was inspired by the story of Layla and Majnun, which Clapton had been told by his friend Ian Dallas who was in the process of converting to Islam. Nizami's tale, about a moon princess who was married off by her father to a man she did not love, resulting in Majnun's madness, struck a deep chord with Clapton.


Boyd divorced Harrison in 1977 and married Clapton in 1979 during a concert stop in Tucson, Arizona.

Harrison was not bitter about the divorce and attended Clapton's wedding party with his former bandmates Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney. Clapton and Boyd divorced in 1989.


Clapton originally wrote "Layla" as a ballad, with lyrics describing his unrequited love for Boyd, but the song became a "rocker" when, according to Clapton, Allman composed the song's signature riff.

Clapton returned to the studio, where he heard Jim Gordon playing a piano piece he had composed separately. Impressed by the piece, Clapton convinced Gordon to allow it to be used as part of the song

Clapton commented on the song:


"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 any more. It's like someone else. It's easy to do those songs then.


Pattie Boyd later reflected: "I think that he was amazingly raw at the time ... He's such an incredible musician that he's able to put his emotions into music in such a way that the audience can feel it instinctively. It goes right through you."

The song reached number 7 in the UK and number 10 in the USA in 1972.


Lyrics of Layla by Derek and The Dominos


What'll you do when you get lonely

But 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

You turned my whole world upside down

 

Layla

You've got me on my knees

Layla

I'm begging, darling, please

Layla

Darling, won't you ease my worried mind?

 

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

 

Layla

You've got me on my knees

Layla

I'm begging, darling, please

Layla

Darling, won't you ease my worried mind?

 

Layla

You've got me on my knees

Layla

I'm begging, darling, please

Layla

Darling, won't you ease my worried mind?

 

Whoo, whoo, whoo...

Release Date

1972

Songwriter/s

Eric Clapton, Jim Gordon

Producer/s

Tom Dowd, Derek and the Dominos

Label/s

Atco, RSO Polydor

Other Songs

bottom of page