Vol III, Issue 13 – Layla (01 July 2018)

For the love of rock

Vol III, Issue 13 – Layla (01 July 2018)


Name of song– Layla

Singer- Eric Clapton

Band – Derek and The Dominos

Album- Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs

Writers– Eric Clapton and Jim Gordon

Release year– 1970

Similar Artists- Cream, The Allman Brothers Band, Ten Years After, Free

Peak chart positions

# 1 – Puerto Rican Singles Chart (1972)

# 2 – New Zealand Singles Chart (1972)

# 3 – Polish Singles Chart (1971)

# 4 – UK Singles Chart (1982)

# 4 – Irish Singles Chart (1982)

# 7 – UK Singles Chart (1972)

# 8 – Japanese Singles Chart (1971)

# 9 – Netherlands 40 Singles Chart (1971)

# 9 – Canadian RPM Singles Chart (1972)

# 10 – Irish Singles Chart (1972)

# 10 – Polish Singles Chart (1982)

# 10 – US Billboard Hot 100 (1972)

Special mention

#27 – Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time


Reviewers- Bikash Shrestha/Nirab Kayastha

“Derek and The Dominos” may be a surprise name for many rock enthusiasts, but it would be even more surprising to know that the band was Eric Clapton’s brain child. The band was created in 1970 out of frustration of dissolution of super-groups “Cream” and “Blind Faith” by Eric Clapton. He needed a break and approached his old friends from “Delaney & Bonnie and Friends” and together with Bobby Whitlock (Keyboards, vocals, guitar), Carl Radle (Bass, percussion) and Jim Gordon (Drums, piano), “Derek and The Dominos” surfaced. The rumor has it that the band was actually named “Eric & The Dynamos,” however, during their first concert, it was mispronounced by the announcer as “Derek and The Dominos” and Clapton stuck to it, as he wanted the band image to it, rather than his superstardom. The band has an amazing history that they produced only one album “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs” which is considered as one of the most significant rock albums of all time. Perhaps there is no other band which reached the height of popularity of “Derek and The Dominos” with only one album!

The double album “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs” was released in November 1970. Most of the songs resulted from Clapton and Whitlock’s song writing cooperation, with significant contribution from Duane Allman on guitars and rest of the songs included were some standard blues covers. The album was a commercial and chart failure at the start, and even drove Clapton into depression and drugs further. However, slowly, the album started to chart and ultimately, most critics consider this to be Clapton’s creative pinnacle and one of the most important rock albums of all time. No doubt, this was Clapton’s greatest musical achievement.

“Layla” is the cream of the album. Most of the songs have stories but “Layla” is not only story, it was a truly emotional ballad of forbidden love from one of the greatest guitarists on the planet. The song was devoted to Pattie Boyd who was Eric Clapton’s good friend George Harrison’s wife. Clapton had fallen in love with her and the song was his emotional outburst. He had chosen the name “Layla” as he was influenced deeply with the Persian/Arabian book story of “Layla and Majnun” at that time. Harrison and Pattie were divorced in 1977 and she married Clapton in 1979. However, the marriage and love did not last long, although the song lived on forever. They divorced in 1988 after years of separation.

“Layla” is a unique rock song with two of the best guitar maestros in sequential action, along with a separate piano coda, which follows in the second half and was later combined into one song. Clapton was impressed with Duane Allman’s guitar work in Wilson Pickett’s “Hey Jude” and had called him to be guest guitar player in his album. The two befriended and immediately began to play together instantaneously without any flaw. Clapton considered him to be a musical brother he’d never had but wished he did. The song begins with Duane Allman’s signature riff, which was borrowed from T Bone Walker’s vocal riff. This riff is perhaps one of the best- known riffs ever. Clapton’s rhythm, along with Radle’s bass, Gordon’s drums and Allman’s solo, all equally perpetuate each other. Clapton’s emotional voice with lovely poem equally captivates the listener. Allman’s fretted solos in-between complement each other’s contribution, and along with the signature riff keeps the song rocking. After repeat main choruses, the song slowly fades with Allman’s solos going on at the background and foreground. Then, quietly the guitar ceases, and we hear the piano coda by Jim Gordon. The rumor has it that this piece was taken by Gordon from his then girlfriend Rita Coolidge, and never credited her. Clapton had heard Gordon play it after the first portion was recorded and requested him to use the piece at the end. Gordon agreed and after a week of the original recording, Gordon played the piano part, along with Clapton playing the acoustic guitar and slide guitar and Allman playing electric guitar and bottleneck slide guitar. The two pieces were sliced together and “Layla” was completed. Well, for any rock fan, if given the choice, it would be very difficult to decide which part is better. Of course, for some, first may be better, for some, later part may be better, but in fact, it’s the combination of the two, which makes it the best!

With very short-lived history of only one album, Derek and The Dominos proved to the world that it’s always the quality that counts rather than the quantity. With only one album to their name, they conquered the entire rock world. And of course, had it not been for “Layla”, neither would there have been “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs” nor there would have been “Derek and The Dominos!!”

Happy listening!!

Resources– Wikipedia.org, Allmusic.com


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

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 I’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

Lyrics link – https://www.lyrics.com/lyric/240367/Jim+Gordon/Layla

Video link – https://youtu.be/yI7KwGMxrM0


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