Friday, November 27, 1970

George Harrison released All Things Must Pass: November 27, 1970

First posted 11/27/2011; updated 12/29/2019.

All Things Must Pass

George Harrison


Buy Here:


Released: November 27, 1970


Charted: December 19, 1970


Peak: 17 US, 18 UK, 19 CN, 18 AU


Sales (in millions): 6.0 US, 0.1 UK, 10.0 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: rock


Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. I’d Have You Anytime (Harrison, Bob Dylan) [2:56]
  2. My Sweet Lord [4:38] (11/28/70, 14 US, 14 CB, 13 HR, 10 AC, 16 UK, 14 CN, 18 AU
  3. Wah-Wah [5:35]
  4. Isn’t It a Pity (Version One) [7:10] (11/28/70, 46 CB, 15 CN)
  5. What Is Life [4:22] (2/20/71, 10 US, 7 CB, 10 HR, 31 AC, 3 CN)
  6. If Not for You (Dylan) [3:29]
  7. Behind That Locked Door [3:05]
  8. Let It Down [4:57]
  9. Run of the Mill [2:49]
  10. Beware of Darkness [3:48]
  11. Apple Scruffs [3:04]
  12. Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll) [3:48]
  13. Awaiting on You All [2:45]
  14. All Things Must Pass [3:44]
  15. I Dig Love [4:55]
  16. Art of Dying [3:37]
  17. Isn’t It a Pity (Version Two) [4:45]
  18. Hear Me Lord [5:46]
  19. Out of the Blue (Harrison, Al Aronowitz, Clapton, Gordon, Bobby Keys, Jim Price, Radle, Whitlock, Gary Wright) [11:14]
  20. It’s Johnny’s Birthday (Harrison, Bill Martin, Phil Coulter, Mal Evans, Eddie Klein) [0:49]
  21. Plug Me In (Harrison, Eric Clapton, Jim Gordon, Dave Mason, Carl Radle, Bobby Whitlock) [3:18]
  22. I Remember Jeep (Harrison, Ginger Baker, Billy Preston, Klauss Voormann) [8:07]
  23. Thanks for the Pepperoni [5:31]

All songs written by George Harrison unless noted otherwise.


Total Running Time: 105:59


The Players:

  • George Harrison (vocals, guitar, other instruments)
  • Eric Clapton, Pete Ham, Tom Evans, Joey Molland, Peter Frampton, Dave Mason (guitar)
  • Gary Wright, Billy Preston, Bobby Whitlock, Tony Ashton, Gary Brooker (piano, organ)
  • Jim Gordon, Ringo Starr, Alan White, Mike Gibbins, Mal Evans, Ginger Baker (drums, percussion)
  • Carl Radle, Klaus Voorman (bass)
  • Jim Price, Bobby Keys (horns/sax)
  • Pete Drake (pedal steel guitar)
  • John Barham (orchestral arrangements, choral arrangement, harmonium, vibraphone)
  • Eddie Klein (backing vocals)

Rating:

4.521 out of 5.0 (average of 16 ratings)


Quotable: “Without a doubt, Harrison’s…best.” – Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide


Awards:

About the Album:

With his first solo outing, George Harrison “changed the terms of what an album could be.” PF As the first triple album issued by a solo artist, WK All Things Must Pass “reinforced that the album could be an epic novel for a different sort of age.” PF The album shredded Harrison’s reputation as “the quiet Beatle,” proving that he had plenty to say. As he said on the Dick Cavett Show in 1971, “I had such a lot of songs mounting up that I really wanted to do, but I only got my quota of one or two tunes per album.” PF Pitchfork called it “the heaviest and most consequential Beatles solo album.” PF

Enhanced by Phil Spector’s lush orchestral production, and Harrison’s own superb slide guitar, nearly every song is excellent.” RU This is “a very moving work” RU that is, “without a doubt, Harrison’s…best.” RU Amazon’s Jerry McCulley described it as “Harrison’s unequaled masterpiece.” AZ Peter Doggett, managing editor of Record Collector said that at the start of 1971, Harrison was “arguably the most successful rock star on the planet.” WK His music of the time reflected the spiritual mysticism of Eastern philosophy “without sacrificing his gifts for melody and grand, sweeping arrangements.” RU

Most notable in balancing the spiritual and the commercial is the chart-topping My Sweet Lord. Years later the song would gain notoriety when Harrison was sued for “unconscious plagiarism” because of the song’s similarity to the Chiffons’ “He’s So Fine.” Harrison started writing the song in late 1969, inspired by the top-five gospel single “Oh Happy Day” by the Edwin Hawkins’ Singers. CR At the time he was touring with Delaney & Bonnie. Their backing groug included Eric Clapton, Carl Radle, Boby Whitlock, and Jim Gordon – players who went on to form Derek & the Dominos and play on All Things.

They were just part of the rich assembly of talent featured on the album. Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Dave Mason, Peter Frampton, future Yes drummer Alan White, members of Badfinger, and even a young Phil Collins appear on the album. Harrison’s willingness to share the spotlight reflected how he had “been elbowed out of a room too many times before [and] it seemed, he was staunchly unwilling to do the same to others.” PF Peter Frampton said Harrison “was sort of ego-less,” explaining that “everyone was there because they were great players…no one was treated as a session musician.” CR

Harrison had faced enough rejection as a Beatle, being confined to one or two songs per album. Here, he finally gets to introduce some of those songs. Isn’t It a Pity dated back to the Beatles’ 1966 Revolver album. PF During the Beatles’ 1969 Get Back sessions that eventually become 1970’s final Beatles’ album, Let It Be, Harrison introduced early versions of the Let It Down, Window, Window, and the title track, WK which “now seems like a very prescient admission that the game was almost up.” CR

Some of the songs were also a result of Harrison’s friendship with Bob Dylan. He and Dylan co-wrote I’d Have You Anytime in 1968 when Harrison visited Dylan and the Band in Woodstock, New York. Harrison also tackles a Dylan cover, If Not for You, a result of Harrison’s participation in Dylan’s starting sessions for the 1970 album New Morning. WK There’s also Behind That Locked Door, which Harrison wrote about his friend’s shyness. CR

While there were “dark, tortured undertones” CR to some of the music, there were also “creations that brimmed with real joy: the euphoric What Is Life, I Dig Love, and Awaiting on You All.” CR The latter, with lines like “You don’t need no love-in” and “You don’t need no bed pan” were “a pretty obvious dig at John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and the two infamous weeks they spent in bed, so as to somehow further the cause of peace.” CR

Harrison enlisted famed producer Phil Spector, who worked on the Beatles’ Let It Be, to give the album “a heavy and reverb-oriented sound.” WK Harrison later regretted the decision, saying in the press kit for the album’s 30th anniversary reissue that it resulted in “too much echo” WK and apologizing for the “big production.” AZ As an example of Spector’s production, the “biting Wah-Wah,” PF which Harrison wrote during his temporary departure from the Beatles WK about his “vexed relationship with [Paul] McCartney,” CR is “layered with so many different guitar tracks it feels like three guitar rock songs fighting each other.” PF

Originally the album was packed as two LPs for the vinyl release and then a third album, called Apple Jam, collected informal instrumental jams which Harrison led with accompaniment by some of his famous musician friends. This latter material makes for the albums only “significant flaw: the jams… are entirely dispensable, and have probably only been played once or twice by most of the listeners that own this record.” RU They were “the deluxe cuts and alternate takes of their day.” PF


Notes:

The original vinyl release was a triple album. The CD reissue is comprised of two discs. A 30th anniversary reissue added bonus tracks.

Review Sources:

Saturday, November 21, 1970

Elton John charted with “Your Song”

Your Song

Elton John

Writer(s): Elton John, Bernie Taupin (see lyrics here)


Released: October 26, 1970


First Charted: November 21, 1970


Peak: 8 US, 8 CB, 6 HR, 9 AC, 1 CL, 7 UK, 3 CN, 11 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, 0.6 UK, 2.72 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 7.0 radio, 138.9 video, 422.89 streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

Elton John established himself as one of the legendary singers in the history of rock ‘n’ roll, fed by a steady diet of lyrics supplied by Bernie Taupin in one of the great musical partnerships. The two met by chance when both responded to a talent ad placed by Liberty Records in New Musical Express. TB The label wasn’t overly impressed with either of them individually, but saw potential in pairing them. They hit it off immediately “and one of pop’s most enduring collaborations was born.” BBC

As is common with successful artists, the pair’s first hit was the one that become their most beloved. BBC Taupin was all of seventeen when he crafted the words over a breakfast of scrambled eggs at Elton’s mother’s house. TB Still, it took four years before the song became a hit. BBC In the meantime, Elton released three albums and five singles. TB “Your Song,” released in conjunction with John’s second U.S. visit, TB finally gave them their breakthrough and “put Elton John on the map.” TC

The song is built around “Elton’s uncomplicated music” BBC and “Taupin’s unpretentious lyrics,” BBC which, in this case, were “unusually direct.” TC The “hugely romantic, everyman love song” MC is “playfully self referential, deliberately awkward, mock inarticulate.” MC No one but an awkward teenager, who as Taupin said, “had never got laid in his life,” BBC could have captured the striking innocence behind the song. BBC While Taupin insisted that the song wasn’t directed at anyone particularly, Elton has maintained that one of Bernie’s old girlfriends was the inspiration. RS500

Producer Gus Dudgeon and string arranger Paul Buckmeister also deserve some credit for the song. They were able to give the song “a lush soundscape that was neither saccharine middle-of-the-road nor too avant-garde.” TC


Resources and Related Links:

Last updated 4/24/2021.

Nov. 21, 1970: Jesus Christ Superstar studio album released

First posted October 10, 2011. Last updated September 4, 2018.

Jesus Christ Superstar (studio/cast/soundtrack)

Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice (composers)

Studio Album Released: Nov. 21, 1970

First Stage Production: October 12, 1971

Cast Album Released: January 8, 1972

Soundtrack Released: June 30, 1973


Sales (in millions):
US: 0.5 sr, 6.0 c, 1.0 s
UK: --
IFPI: --
World (estimated): 7.5 sr+c+s


Peak:
US: 1 3-sr, 31 c, 21 s
UK: 23 s
Canada: 1 3-sr
Australia: 1 10-a

sr Studio Recording
c Cast Album
s Soundtrack
a 1992 Australian cast

Quotable: --


Genre: show tunes


Album Tracks:

  1. Overture
  2. Heaven on Their Minds
  3. What’s the Buzz/Strange Thing Mystifying
  4. Then We Are Decided s
  5. Everything’s Alright
  6. This Jesus Must Die
  7. Hosanna
  8. Simon Zealotes/Poor Jerusalem
  9. Pilate’s Dream
  10. The Temple
  11. Everything’s Alright sr
  12. I Don’t Know How to Love Him
  13. Damned for All Time/Blood Money
  14. The Last Supper
  15. Gethsemane (I Only Want to Say)
  16. The Arrest
  17. Peter’s Denial
  18. Pilate and Christ
  19. King Herod’s Song (Try It and See)
  20. Could We Start Again, Please? s
  21. Judas’ Death
  22. Trial Before Pilate (Including the 39 Lashes)
  23. Superstar
  24. Crucifixion
  25. John Nineteen: Forty-One

Songs followed by sr, c, or s indicate that the song was unique to that version of the album.


Singles/Hit Songs:

  • Superstar (MURRAY HEAD) (1/31/70) #14 US
  • Superstar (ASSEMBLED MULTITUDE) (2/6/71) #95 US
  • I Don’t Know How to Love Him (HELEN REDDY) (2/20/71) #13 US
  • I Don’t Know How to Love Him/Everything’s Alright (THE KIMBERLYS) (3/20/71) #99 US
  • I Don’t Know How to Love Him (YVONNE ELLIMAN) (4/24/71) #28 US
  • Everything’s Alright (YVONNE ELLIMAN) (9/25/71) #92 US

Click here for the chart codes for singles/hit songs.

Review:

Jesus Christ Superstar didn’t follow the conventional stage production/cast album/soundtrack format. It started out as a studio album which topped the U.S. charts before being staged in a theatrical context. Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, 21, and lyricist Tim Rice, 25, conceived it as a stage work, but when they couldn’t get the funding, they opted “to use an album as the vehicle for introducing the piece.” BE

It “seemed to pick up where the Who’s Tommy…and Hair had left off, and audiences from across the age and cultural spectrum responded. Teenagers who didn’t know from Jesus, opera, or oratorios liked the beat, the hard rock sounds, and the singing and bought the album, as did parents who felt that the record offered a chance to understand some aspects of this youth culture around them, and especially its music – and so did some more forward-thinking clergy and theologians, who saw any opportunity to spread the word about Jesus where it wasn’t previously going as intrinsically good.” BE

The subject matter of Jesus Christ viewed from the point of Judas was “as daring as you could get” WR and “perhaps downright sacrilegious.” BE “It succeeds in all ways.” WR The story focuses on Judas and his “political and interpersonal struggles” WK with Jesus. Judas “is depicted as a conflicted, tragic figure” WK alarmed by Jesus’ lack of planning and “relatively recent claims of his divinity.” WK

“Just as remarkable as its subject matter was the fact that its musical language was full-blown rock music.” BE Hair was “really a pop/show-music pastiche, not rock” WR which distinguished Superstar as a “fairly radical rock/theater hybrid” BE in being the first to “successfully put rock music in a theatrical context.” WR It is also technically an operetta since it is completely sung through without spoken dialogue. WR

“The part of Jesus was sung by Ian Gillan, lead singer of Deep Purple, and that of Judas by Murray Head…The title song, Superstar, sung by Judas, and I Don't Know How to Love Him, sung by Mary Magdalene (Yvonne Elliman) about her relationship with Jesus, were both big hits.” WK

The success of the studio album opened the door for a stage production. It debuted on Broadway at the Mark Hellinger Theatre on October 12, 1971. It was met with mixed reviews – even Webber himself criticized it – and closed after 18 months. WK It opened in London in 1972 and ran for eight years, “becoming England's longest-running musical at the time.” WK

In 1973, it was made into a film “directed by Norman Jewison, was shot in Israel and other Middle Eastern locations. Ted Neeley and Carl Anderson were both nominated for 1974 Golden Globe Awards for their portrayals of Jesus and Judas…Though it attracted criticism from some religious groups, the film was generally well received.” WK


Review Sources:

Awards:


Related DMDB Link(s):


Monday, November 9, 1970

Derek and the Dominos released Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs

Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs

Derek and the Dominos


Released: November 9, 1970


Peak: 16 US, 68 UK, 33 AU


Sales (in millions): 0.5 US, 0.4 UK


Genre: classic rock


Tracks:

Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. I Looked Away [3:03]
  2. Bell Bottom Blues (Clapton) [5:01] (2/13/71, 78 US, 95 CB, 91 HR, 5 CL, 100 AU)
  3. Keep on Growing (Clapton/ Whitlock) [6:20]
  4. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out (Cox) [4:56]
  5. I Am Yours (Clapton/ Nizami) [3:34]
  6. Anyday [Clapton/ Whitlock]
  7. Key to the Highway (Broonzy/Segar) [9:37]
  8. Tell the Truth [6:37] (8/70, --)
  9. Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad? [4:41] (22 CL)
  10. Have You Ever Loved a Woman? (Myles) [6:51]
  11. Little Wing (Hendrix) [5:32] (13 CL)
  12. It’s Too Late (Willis) [3:48]
  13. Layla (Clapton/ Gordon) [7:02] (3/20/71, 10 US, 14 CB, 12 HR, 8 AC, 1 CL, 9 AR, 4 UK, 9 CN, 100 AU)
  14. Thorn Tree in the Garden (Whitlock) [2:49]

Songs written by Clapton/Whitlock unless noted otherwise.


Total Running Time: 76:44


The Players:

  • Eric Clapton (vocals, guitar)
  • Duane Allman (guitar)
  • Jim Gordon (drums, percussion, piano on “Layla”)
  • Carl Radle (bass, percussion)
  • Bobby Whitlock (keyboards, vocals, acoustic guitar on “Thorn Tree in the Garden”)
  • Albhy Galuten (piano on “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out”)

Rating:

4.673 out of 5.00 (average of 27 ratings)


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“Backed by a tight (but not showy) backing band” IGN Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs gave Clapton “his greatest album” AMG and made for “one of the all-time classic dual-guitar albums.” VH1 Working with Delaney & Bonnie helped Clapton “reconcile his spiritual connection with the American South that had given birth to Clapton’s beloved blues.” VH1 The Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs album was their only studio recording, but it proved to be “one of the few blues-based classic rock albums which avoids dull predictability or Led Zep-ish testosterone riffs.” PK Clapton reportedly told bandmate Bobby Whitlock at the time that this album would be the epitome of his career. JR-124

In 1969, Clapton had tired of the superstar status he’d achieved, thanks to “some of the most stunning, groundbreaking blues-based guitar work of the rock era” PK in stints with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, The Yardbirds, Cream, and Blind Faith.“Clapton’s deification had become such a burden to him…that he felt forced to seek anonymity.” PR One of those avenues was to throw his hat in the ring essentially as a session player, working with John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band, the Crickets, King Curtis, Howlin’ Wolf, Billy Preston, Ringo Starr, Stephen Stills, and others.

Delaney & Bonnie
The seeds were sown for Derek and the Dominos while Clapton was on tour with Blind Faith. Delaney & Bonnie, “a roughshod hippie honky-tonk band,” VH1 opened for them and Clapton befriended Delaney Bramlett. Clapton toured with Delaney & Bonnie and they released the live album, On Tour with Eric Clapton. The live album was “the first of six records, made over a 3-year period, that convey the sound of Derek and the Dominos, and ironically, in some ways it was a better and more accurate preview of Layla than Clapton’s solo debut, which immediately followed.” JR-75

“Considering its intensity, his friendship with Delaney Bramlett rather quickly cooled…The lasting creative and persona bonds he made were with the Bramletts’ sidemen.” JR-78 On Tour and Eric Clapton both featured keyboardist Bobby Whitlock, drummer Jim Gordon, and bassist Carl Radle. Along with a slew of others, they also served as session players on George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass, released about the same time as the Derek and the Dominos album. “In a 30th anniversary rerelease of his record, Harrison credited…[those four] as the indispensable core band.” JR-93

Tom Dowd
Dowd was “emerging as the top engineer and producer in the business.” JR-xv He’d been with the Memphis-based, rhythm-and-blues-oriented label Atlantic Records since 1954. His “studio resume ranged from John Coltrane to Ray Charles, from Bobby Darin’s ‘Mack the Knife’ to Aretha Franklin’s ‘Respect.’” JR-17 He’d also engineered Otis Redding’s classic Otis Blue album. He worked with Clapton as an engineer on Cream’s Disraeli Gears and Wheels of Fire. He also mixed the version of Eric Clapton’s debut solo album which was initially released in 1970.

In 1969, he moved to the new Miami-based operation. In August 1970, he was working with the Allman Brothers Band on their second album, Idlewild South. He’d worked with Duane on some of his session work for Atlantic in Muscle Shoals. When Dowd got a call that same month that Clapton was putting together a new band and wanted to work with Dowd, Dowd said sure. When Dowd told Duane, the response was, “You mean the guy from Cream? Man, are you going to record him? Oh, man, yeah, I gotta meet him. Do you think I could watch?” JR-115

Duane Allman
When Dowd told Clapton that Duane ‘s band would be playing a benefit concert in Miami, Clapton said, “We have to go.” JR-120 They ended up back at the studio jamming that night. . JR-xvi The pair had “wondrous guitar interplay” IGN and Allman’s “spectacular slide guitar pushed Clapton to new heights.” AMG Originally Dave Mason, who’d also been on the Delaney & Bonnie and George Harrison albums, was going to be a second rhythm guitarist but his solo aspirations pulled him away. Now Duane assumed the role as a second guitarist.

Duane Allman and his brother Gregg were just 4 and 2 respectively when their father was shot and killed in a robbery. He’d been a military man who’d been party of the storming of the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. JR-52-3 Duane “emerged from the shadow of his dad’s murder and the harsh experience of military school with a James Dean haircut, a give-a-shit look in his eye, and a smart mouth.” JR-55 However, he also had “charisma…such that when he walked in a room, it was as if somebody flipped on the lights” JR-55

Duane dropped out of high school, but Gregg toughed it out. The pair were playing as the Allman Joys by 1965 and released two albums as the Hour Glass in 1967 and ‘68. Duane then got a call to do session work with Wilson Pickett and later Aretha Franklin in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. He also played with Delaney Bramlett and they even shared an apartment in New York. By 1969, Duane was back with his brother Gregg to form the Allman Brothers Band.

George Harrison and Pattie Boyd
The “long legged, blonde and blue-eyed” JR-vii model Pattie Boyd was 20 years old when she was cast as a school girl with one line (“Prisoners?”) for the Beatles’ movie A Hard Day’s Night. She hoped to hit it off with George Harrison. It worked. They married in 1966. Harrison wrote the classic Beatles’ song “Something” about her.

Eric Clapton started hanging out with the Beatles in 1967 and “came to think of Harrison as his best friend.” JR-vii He even worked in the studio with the Beatles, lending his guitar prowess to the Harrison-sung “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Harrison also lent a hand in helping Clapton write “Badge” for Cream.

Unfortunately, Clapton also fell in love with Harrison’s wife. Boyd, however, kept it platonic, which was torture for Clapton and it came out during the recording of Layla. He was angry that Harrison took her for granted, devoting his energy to multiple affairs and quest for religious enlightenment. JR-98 Clapton “fantasized that he might win her over with the sheer power of his new music.” JR-xv They did sleep together for the first time in 1970, but she stayed with Harrison until their divorce in 1977. She married Clapton in 1979.

The Album Cover
While staying at the house of his friend Emile de Schonberg, a painting caught Clapton’s eye. It was done by Emile’s father, Frandsen de Schonberg. “It was uncanny how much the artist’s image resembled Pattie. Clapton saw the painting and decided it had to be the cover art for the Derek and the Dominos’ album.” JR-108

“Layla”
As a result, “pain drips from the grooves of this seminal record that has something for everyone – hard-driving rockers, stormy blues, wailing solos.” ZS Of course, the standout is the title track with its “stunning opening riff.” ZS Interestingly, it “would be Clapton’s lifelong signature, but in the studio Allman was the one who conceived and played it.” JR-130 He had the idea of adapting a riff from the Albert King song “As the Years Go Passing By.” The original is a slow song, but Allman sped it up. JR-130

As for the piano coda, it was performed by Jim Gordon, who otherwise stayed behind the drum kit. Whitlock was disgusted by the idea, thinking the song was already great and this felt phony. Dowd edited versions by Gordon and Whitlock together to form the final version. JR-131

Lyrically, the song was inspired by a classic Romeo-and-Juliet-like Arabic and Persian love story which dates back a thousand years. JR-x The story was passed down in oral tradition until 1188 A.D. and a poet named Nizami Ganjavi was commissioned to write a poem based on the story. It took him nine years to finish his story of Majnun falling for Layla. JR-xi When Clapton read the poem, he projected “himself into Nizami’s narrative and verse” JR-100 about unrequited love.

“I Am Yours”
For this song, “Clapton turns to a quiet and tender voice that directly links…to the story of Layla” JR-127 by adapting lines from Nizami’s poem, which “removes any doubt that his album was inspired in part by his reading of the Persian epic.” JR-127 It features “some of the album’s best Whitlock and Clapton vocal tradeoffs in the Memphis style of Sam and Dave.” JR-127

“Anyday”
This is “an address to George Harrison. In some of the strongest writing and singing on the album, with a metaphor of breaking glass and twisting knife – intimations of someone literally tearing at his guts – Clapton voices a brutal, mocking, yet respectful challenge to the other party in the love triangle.” JR-127

“Tell the Truth”
Released as a single to promote the upcoming album, “Tell the Truth” used “the call-and-response routine that Whitlock so admired in his Memphis rhythm and blues upbringing.” JR-104 Whitlock wrote the song and then sang it for Clapton. They finished it together. JR-104 Interestingly, the song’s B-side, “Roll It Over,” featured Dave Mason in the early days of the band before he left for a solo career. JR-105

“Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad?”
On “Tell the Truth” and this song, the “interplay of Clapton and Allman almost gets away from them, but Radle and Gordon’s pacing calls them back.” JR-129

“Bell Bottom Blues”
The album also “yielded such memorable classics as” IGN “the erotic slow dance of Bell Bottom Blues.” JR-125 As preoccupied as Clapton was with Pattie, it didn’t keep him from meeting and falling in love with other women. While Derek and the Dominos were in France, Clapton met a woman who spoke no English, but was a member of some Middle Eastern royal family. Clapton fell for the “Persian princess” who wore bell bottoms. She inspired a new song which the band wrote and added to their repertoire while still in France. JR-109

“It’s a blues song…one that Robert Johnson would have been proud to sing.” JR-125 It features “Carl Radle ambling alongside in his calm, sure, good-humored stride” JR-125 and “Whitlock contributes harmony at times, but through most of the lines,he just jabs the keyboard and lets his partner sing with newfound confidence and power.” JR-125

“I Looked Away”
The album’s lead-off track “evokes some guy who might be in a bar, remembering how good his life was and wondering how it went so wrong. Clapton’s voice sounds as if he is trying not to break into tears. Whitlock’s baritone muscles in with the explanation and fatal complication, that messy, old-fashioned business of loving another man’s woman.” JR-125

“Keep on Growing”
Clapton and Allman initially composed this as an instrumental and then Whitlock added lyrics in less than 20 minutes when there was a risk the song was going to be cut from the album. JR-126 Whitlock actually sings the lead and Clapton provides harmony.

“Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out”
This “down-and-dirty rhythm and blues song” JR-126 was credited to Tin Pan Alley writer Jimmie Cox in 1922. Multiple artists have covered it, including Sam Cooke, Janis Joplin, John Lennon, and Bessie Smith. However, “Allman’s sorrowful bottleneck and the bitterness and self-pity in Clapton’s voice and guitar work make it their own.” JR-127

“Have You Ever Loved a Woman?”
The song was originally by Billy Myles, a singer and songwriter who had some success during the doo-wop era. He wrote “Have You Ever Loved a Woman?,” which was later covered by Clapton’s idol, Freddie King. John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers did the song when Clapton was with them, but Clapton only played guitar on it. For Derek and the Dominos, however, he sang and arranged the song, claiming “it as his personal blues, making it into a cry of love and pain for a best friend’s wife.” JR-99

“Key to the Highway”
This “made it onto the record as a fluke.” JR-128 Domingo Samudio, who had the hit “Wooly Bully” with Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs, was also in the studio for a session. The Dominos heard him singing “Key to the Highway,” a song Clapton had loved since he first discovered Big Bill Broonzy as a teenager. Duane had also done the song when with his band the Hour Glass. They started playing it while Dowd was in the bathroom and the tape wasn’t rolling. Dowd ran into the room and yelled, “Hit the god-damn tape machine!” JR-128

“Little Wing”
Clapton covered Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing” as a tribute to his peer. Hendrix said he wrote the song “about a girl walking through the clouds. The girl in question is, in fact, an apparition.” JR-129 He was out “to convey the ethereal atmosphere of the pop festival in Monterey, California, in 1967. But Clapton’s singing and his guitar play with Allman give the woman a face and heart and beauty, in addition to all the pain she and a man are putting each other through.” JR-129

Clapton had plans to meet up with Hendrix at a Sly & the Family Stone show on August 18, 1970. Sadly, Hendrix died that morning, choking on an overdose of the powerful downer Vesperax. He never got to heard Clapton’s version of “Little Wing.” JR-136

“It’s Too Late”
The fifth cover of the album was Carl Radle’s idea. The song was first recorded by the black R&B artist Chuck Willis in 1956. Radle heard “the sway of country music in the song, and Derek and Dominos play it that way.” JR-129

“Thorn Tree in the Garden”
At the end of the sessions, Dowd told the band they might be able to squeeze in one more song. Clapton said, “Hey, Bobby. Why don’t you sing that song of yours, the one about the thorn tree?” JR-132 While seemingly “about a boy pining over a lost love,” JR-50 it was actually about a dog. While staying at Leon Russell’s Plantation, Whitlock adopted a dog and a cat to keep him company. Jimmy Karstein, a friend of Radle’s, insisted the pets had to go. When he announced he’d taken care of the dog, Whitlock wrote the song and performed it for Karstein. He was moved, to which Whitlock said, “Someday I’m going to record it, and every time you hear it you’re going to feel really bad, because you’ll remember what you did to my dog.” JR-50

Conclusion
Clapton managed to “make standards…into his own while his collaborations with Bobby Whitlock…teem with passion.” AMG“A big part of what makes this “such a powerful record is that Clapton, ignoring the traditions that occasionally painted him into a corner, simply tears through these songs with burning, intense emotion.” AMG


Notes: A 1990 20th anniversary reissue saw a box set comprised of a remastering of the original album along with a disc of alternate masters and a third disc of studio jams.

Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Derek & the Dominos
  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Eric Clapton
  • AMG All Music Guide review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
  • IGN IGN.com Top 25 Classic Rock Albums by Spence D. (3/30/2007)
  • PK Pop Kulcher 50 Greatest Rock & Roll Albums of All Time
  • JR Jan Reid (2006). Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs by Derek and the Dominos. Rodale Inc.: New York, NY.
  • PR Paul Roland (2001). CD Guide to Pop & Rock. B.T. Batsford LTD: London. Page 76.
  • VH1 VH1 (2003). 100 Greatest Albums. Edited by Jacob Hoye. Pocket Books: New York, NY. Page 196.
  • ZS Zagat Survey (2003). Music Guide: 1,000 Top Albums of All Time. Coordinator: Pat Blashill. Music Editor: Holly George-Warren. Editors: Betsy Andrews and Randi Gollin. Zagat Survey, LLC: New York, NY. Page 86.
  • WK Wikipedia


Other Related DMDB Pages:


First posted 11/21/2012; last updated 11/9/2021.