10 September 2007

Pattie Boyd a/k/a Layla

Patricia Anne "Pattie" Boyd was an English model and photographer who is best known as the wife of first George Harrison and then Eric Clapton.

Boyd was 19-years-old in 1964 when she met the youngest Beatle during filming for A Hard Day's Night. She was cast as a schoolgirl fan for the film.

According to her new autobiography, one of the first things George said to her was "Will you marry me?". She said that he was "the best-looking man I had ever seen."

She married Harrison in 1966 in a ceremony in Surrey with Paul McCartney as the only other Beatle in attendance. Through her interest in Eastern mysticism and her membership in his Spiritual Regeneration Movement, she is said to have inspired the Beatles to meet the Indian mystic Maharishi Mahesh Yogi the next year.

She has been silent for 40 years. Now tempted by a $2M pay cheque, the world's most famous muse is set to reveal every detail of her abusive marriage to Eric Clapton; the man who stole her from George Harrison.

George Harrison's lovely "Something" is about Pattie (which Frank Sinatra called one of the best love songs ever written) and Clapton's anthem "Layla" is about her, too.

Clapton also wrote "Wonderful Tonight" for her while waiting for her to get ready to attend Paul and Linda McCartney's annual Buddy Holly party. Clapton's tenure in Derek and the Dominos, their only studio album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, was said to be completely fueled by his unrequited love for Boyd.

We met secretly at a flat in South Kensington. Eric Clapton had asked me to come because he wanted me to listen to a new number he had written.

He switched on the tape machine, turned up the volume and played me the most powerful, moving song I had ever heard. It was "Layla", about a man who falls hopelessly in love with a woman who loves him but is unavailable.

He played it to me two or three times, all the while watching my face intently for my reaction. My first thought was: 'Oh God, everyones going to know this is about me.'

I was married to Eric's close friend, George Harrison, but Eric had been making his desire for me clear for months. I felt uncomfortable that he was pushing me in a direction in which I wasn't certain I wanted to go.

But with the realisation that I had inspired such passion and creativity, the song got the better of me. I could resist no longer.

That evening I was going to the theatre to see Oh! Calcutta! with a friend and then on to a party at the home of pop impresario Robert Stigwood. George didn't want to go to the show or the party.

After the interval at Oh!Calcutta! I came back to find Eric in the next seat, having persuaded a stranger to swap places with him. Afterwards we went to Robert's house separately but we were soon together. It was a great party and I felt elated by what had happened earlier in the day but also deeply guilty.

During the early hours, George appeared. He was morose and his mood was not improved by walking into a party that had been going on for several hours and where most of the guests were high on drugs.

He kept asking 'Where's Pattie?' but no one seemed to know. He was about to leave when he spotted me in the garden with Eric. It was just getting light, and very misty. George came over and demanded: 'What's going on?' To my horror, Eric said: 'I have to tell you, man, that I'm in love with your wife.'

I wanted to die. George was furious. He turned to me and said: 'Well, are you going with him or coming with me?'

what is this a goddamn beach blanket Elvis movie?

Read more from the Daily Mail

Boyd's younger sister Jenny Boyd (born Helen Mary Boyd, but nicknamed Jenny after one of Pattie's childhood dolls) also experienced a musician love triangle: she was the muse for some of Donovan's pop hits, most notably "Jennifer Juniper." However, she eventually chose Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac fame, marrying Fleetwood in 1970 and bearing him two daughters during their two marriages in the 1970's.

John Lennon and Mick Jagger were also said to have had crushes on Boyd, Jagger admitted to Bebe Buell in the 1980's that he'd tried and failed to seduce Boyd for years. She had also had a brief affair with future Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood, then a member of The Faces with Rod Stewart, during the fall of 1973, as her marriage to Harrison was ending.

Pattie is now 63 and lives in a 17th-century cottage in West Sussex. She is said to be enjoying the prospect of her account going head-to-head with Clapton's autobiography.

"Drugs were a part of our lives in the Sixties. The Beatles had been introduced to marijuana by Bob Dylan during an American tour. We also took downers and uppers.
Whenever John Lennon visited George and me at our home in Esher, our cleaner, Margaret, would say to him 'Have you got any of those lovely pills?' and John would give her an upper. Afterwards she would vacuum like a maniac.

None of us used heroin but we took acid – LSD – regularly. Our dentist, John Riley, had turned us on to it. "

Buy Pattie's book on Amazon


joshua said...
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Anonymous said...

At the end of her book Pattie says she would not do anything different in her life. I am 60 and I know for a certainty I would have done things differently. Hindsight is a wonderful and anguishing thing. Pattie, you must be a masochist to not regret any moves. It appears you lived a painful life and yet you would not have changed a thing? Strange, very strange.