It must be really cool to have a popular love song written about you. After all, model/photographer Pattie Boyd has had at least four written for her – Something and Bell Bottom Blues by George Harrison and Layla and Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton. However, I am not so sure I would want to go through the love triangle these three went through in order to get songs written about me!
I thought about this blog after reading the both Pattie and Eric have recently released their autobiographies, both which talk about the love triangle. In case you do not know the story, let me fill you in.
Boyd met Beatle George Harrison when she was cast as a schoolgirl for the film A Hard Day’s Night. She was 19 at the time and she said one of the first things Harrison said to her was “Will you marry me?” The two did marry in 1966.
In the late 60s, Harrison and Clapton, who had reached fame by then with the bands The Yardbirds and Cream, became close friends, writing and recording together at Harrison’s house. It is said that it was during this time that Clapton feel in love with Boyd. However, Clapton began dating Boyd’s 17-year-old sister Paula. Once Paula heard the song Layla, she left Clapton because she realized he was not in love with her, but with her sister. Boyd says that Clapton played the song for her, telling her it was written about her, then told Harrison he was in love with Boyd. Apparently, Harrison and Clapton weren’t the only one captivated by Boyd. John Lennon and Mick Jagger admitted to having crushes on her and she had a brief affair with future Stones guitarist Ron Wood.
Boyd rejected Clapton’s amorous attention for a while, but grew tired of Harrison’s religious explorations and infidelities, including an affair with Ringo Starr’s wife Maureen Starkey. She left him for Clapton in 1974.
Unfortunately, the grass was not greener on the other side. Clapton was addicted to heroin and alcohol and by the late 70s; Boyd too had become an alcoholic. Clapton was also having affairs, having daughter Ruth out of wedlock in 1985 with Yvonne Kelly. It was not revealed that Ruth was Clapton’s child however until 1991. Boyd and Clapton eventually divorced in 1988.
Oddly enough, Harrison and Clapton remained good friends, even jokingly calling themselves “husbands-in-law.” Clapton organized, emceed, and performed at the Concert for George, helped after Harrison’s death.
So, I guess all was okay in the end between the three, although I find it all a bit bizarre. But, we do have beautiful love songs to enjoy because of it all.