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Saturday, March 20, 1971

Derek and the Dominos charted with "Layla": March 20, 1971

Originally posted March 20, 2012.



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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