Saturday, March 20, 1971

Derek and the Dominos charted with "Layla"

Last updated 4/12/2020.


Derek and the Dominos

Writer(s): Eric Clapton, Jim Gordon (see lyrics here)

First Charted: March 20, 1971

Peak: 10 US, 14 CB, 12 HR, 8 AC, 9 AR, 4 UK, 9 CN, AU 100 (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.4 UK, 0.4 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 6.0 radio, 225.11 video, -- streaming


About the Song:

One of the great classic rock songs was inspired by Nizami, a twelfth-century Persian poet, who told the story of a love affair gone wrong in The Story of Layla and Majnun. HL In Eric Clapton’s version of the tale, the source of unrequited love was Patti Boyd, the wife of his best friend, George Harrison. Clapton never again sounded as tortured as he does here, even on 1992’s “Tears in Heaven,” which Clapton wrote about the death of his four-year-old son. AMG Oh, and Nizami’s version missed a key ingredient of its musical counterpart — “the most recognizable guitar riff in history.” BBC

Derek and the Dominos was a short-lived ensemble comprised of Clapton, members of Delaney and Bonnie’s band, and guitarist Duane Allman, who adapted the “incendiary, fiery riff that fuels the first section” AMG from Albert King’s “The Years Go Passing By.” CR

Also notable was Jim Gordon’s “serene, piano-based coda.” RS500 He was a multi-instrumentalist, but was best known for his drumming. This, however, was a piece he’d been working on for years, finally finding its way into “Layla” two months after the recording was supposedly finished. CR

The original U.S. single peaked at #51 in 1971. The next year, a longer version went to #10 in the U.S. and #7 on the UK charts. A decade later, it hit the UK charts again, going to #4. In 1992, the song emerged in a slower, live version from Clapton’s Unplugged album and hit AC and album rock. “It was an admirable reworking, but...[the] original recording remains one of the towering moments in rock & roll history.” AMG

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Friday, March 19, 1971

Jethro Tull released Aqualung: March 19, 1971

Originally posted March 19, 2012.

“In the mid-seventies, during the wholesale slaughter of rock’s ‘dinosaurs,’ Tull provided an easy target. Everything they stood for was passé – extended solos, complex time signatures, jazz-styled improvisations” PR served up by “hairy prog-rock philosophers…[who managed] to incorporate flute solos” RS500 into FM-radio hits with “riff-heavy songs.” AMG However, in dismissing “dinosaur rock,” many critics overlooked the quality of the music.

In the case of Jethro Tull, they hit their peak with Aqualung, “an accomplished, intelligent, skillfully structured and eloquent collection of tunes.” PR The album was their “magnum opus and defining epic.” JD “The record was extremely profound…one of the most cerebral albums ever to reach millions of rock listeners.” AMG As one reviewer said of “captivating pied piper Ian Anderson” ZS and his “dour musings on faith and religion,” AMG, “He wants to make us think!” CRS

“Anderson insists to this day that it is not a concept album,” JD but each half seems devoted to one prevalent theme. “The first half is largely devoted to portraying the faces from the urban underground that most people never see: homeless men, prostitutes, assorted freaks and geeks. The flip side (these still being the days of vinyl albums) is a bitter, angry, and sustained attack on the hypocrisy of the Church of England, which gives such people false hope.” JD Specifically, the second half offered commentary on “how organized religion had restricted man’s relationship with God.” AMG

“Released at a time when a lot of bands were embracing pop-Christianity (à la Jesus Christ Superstar), Aqualung was a bold statement for a rock group, a pro-God antichurch tract that probably got lots of teenagers wrestling with these ideas for the first time in their lives.” AMG


“The title track (and arguably the vibe of the whole album) was inspired by Anderson’s first wife, Jennie, a photographer who’d been shooting images of destitute men living on the streets of London.” JD “The ‘poor old sod’ of the title cut is so-named because his labored breathing sounds like a scuba diver sucking from an oxygen tank (‘You snatch your rattling last breaths, with deep-sea-diver sounds/ And the flowers bloom like madness in the spring’).” JR “This one track encapsulates all of Jethro Tull’s musical variety and complexity in one handy package, intertwining three distinct parts: the nasty, hard-rock intro and exit powered by that monstrous, indelible guitar riff; the quiet, sympathetic acoustic interlude marked by Anderson’s distant, treated vocals, and the majestic, pseudo-orchestral build-up that links the other sections.” JD

“Like Led Zeppelin, …Jethro Tull had mastered the art of dramatic contrasts and swelling dynamics, shifting with seeming effortlessness from thunderous grandeur to quiet, folky introspection…The rollicking, undeniable classic-rock-radio staple Locomotive Breath, the vituperative Hymn 43, and the viciously grooving Cross-Eyed Mary are as close to heavy metal as Tull ever got (the band’s infamous 1988 Grammy for Crest of a Knave to the contrary).” JD

Locomotive Breath


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Saturday, March 13, 1971

The Allman Brothers Band record one of the classic live albums: March 12-13, 1971

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Originally posted 3/13/2012. Updated 3/8/2013.

Recorded: March 12-13, 1971; Released: July 1971
Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.) Disc 1: 1. Statesboro Blues (6/24/89, #26 AR) 2. Trouble No More * 3. Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’ * 4. Done Somebody Wrong 5. Stormy Monday 6. One Way Out * (12/2/72, #86 US) 7. In Memory of Elizabeth Reed 8. You Don’t Love Me 9. Midnight Rider ** (12/22/73, #19 US)

Disc 2: 1. Hot ‘Lanta 2. Whipping Post 3. Mountain Jam * 4. Drunken Hearted Boy *

* Added to the 1992 double disc release The Fillmore Concerts
** Added to the 2003 double-disc Deluxe Edition reissue, along with tracks added to The Fillmore Concerts.

Sales (in millions): 3.0 US, -- UK, 3.0 world (includes US and UK)

Peak: 13 US, -- UK


Review: “For fans of Southern rock or jam bands, this is a must: the Allmans live at the peak of their powers.” SY “The classic version of the Allman Brothers Band graced the planet for a period that was all too brief – from 1969 through…1971.” AMG3 The death of guitarist Duane Allman in a motorcycle accident at age 24 created “one of the great ‘what if’s’ of rock history, as one can only surmise what heights he might have reached.” AMG3

“The group did their best work in a live setting;” AMG3 these performances run “circles around more than 99 percent of the guitar albums ever released.” AMG2 ABB was “just beginning to generate national attention when it pulled into Manhattan’s Fillmore East auditorium for its first headlining stand in March 1971. All four shows from the run…were recorded” TM and edited into “the justifiably lauded At Fillmore East double-record set [later on 1 CD] released on Capricorn Records in the summer of 1971.” AMG3 The album “transformed this fast-rising curiosity from Macon, Georgia, into one of the truly great American rock bands of all time.” TM

“Whereas most great live rock albums are about energy,” AMG1 At Fillmore East is an “unbeatable testimony to the Allman Brothers’ improvisational skills,” RS500 how the group “connected with the crowds…and how the reciprocal energy gave birth to rock’s greatest live double LP.” RS500 It “is like a great live jazz session, where the pleasure comes from the musicians’ interaction and playing” AMG1 on “lengthy improvisational jams” NRR and “loose and free-floating solos” TM which “that the journey can be more interesting than the simple attention-grabbing refrain.” TM

The dual-guitar attack of Duane Allman on side and Dickey Betts on six-string was at “its hair-raising peak, fusing blues and jazz with emphatic force.” RS500 “When one finishes his climb to the mountaintop, the other begins…Just when that settles down, along comes organist (and vocalist) Gregg Allman, working out on a hot-sounding Hammond B3 to extend the marathon a bit further.” TM

The “album that brought the Allmans so much acclaim is as notable for its clever studio editing as it is for its performances. Producer Tom Dowd skillfully trimmed some of the performances” AMG1 “with an ear toward making the album as strong as possible for the home listener.” AMG3 Of course, even edited, “the music isn’t necessarily concise (three tracks run over ten minutes, with two in the 20-minute range).” AMG1 That may mean this is “not necessarily an ‘accurate’ documentary of the concert experience” AMG3 but “far from being a sacrilege, this tactic helps present the Allmans in their best light.” AMG1

At Fillmore East is “one of the best live albums in rock history” TM and “established the Allmans among the rock elite.” TM It serves as “the pinnacle of the Allmans and Southern rock.” AMG1

Note: The original 1971 release was a double album of seven songs, which later fit on one CD. The 1992 2-CD set The Fillmore Concerts added five more songs, including “Trouble No More” and “Mountain Jam,” which were originally released on Eat a Peach. Finally, in 2003, a 2-CD Deluxe Edition set was released that included everything on The Fillmore Concerts plus the song “Midnight Rider.”

“Whipping Post” (part 1 of 3)

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