Meet Pattie Boyd, the Muse Who Inspired Rock’s Best Love Songs

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Pattie Boyd was rock music’s first muse. She was married to George Harrison and then Eric Clapton, and both were inspired to write classic songs about her.

But before all that, Boyd was a model in 60s swing London and, alongside Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton. This is how, at the age of 19 in 1964, she finds herself auditioning for a secret project which turns out to be the Beatles film. A hard day’s Night.

That first day on set, Harrison asked her if she wanted to marry him or at least go out to dinner, but she had a boyfriend and turned him down. When the two reunited, she had lost the boyfriend and soon started dating the Beatles.

Harrison commemorated “Something” in 1969 and became Harrison’s first A-side single with the Beatles after its release on Abbey Road. It reached No. 1. In his memoir, beautiful tonight, Boyd wrote, “He told me, in a pragmatic way, that he wrote it for me. I thought it was magnificent – and it turned out to be the most successful song he had ever written, with over 150 covers.

Watch the Beatles’ “Something” video

Boyd left Harrison in 1974 after a series of infidelities. “In India, George had become fascinated with the god Krishna,” Boyd wrote, “who was always surrounded by young girls and came back wanting to be some kind of Krishna figure, a spiritual being with lots of concubines. actually says.

She then moved on to Clapton, who played guitar on the Harrison-penned Beatles song “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” in 1968. Boyd noted that the two musicians were close friends who played and wrote music together and that she was always aware of Clapton’s attraction. to her. It was flattering, she wrote, and the kind of attention Harrison no longer gave her. In 1970, Boyd and Clapton began seeing each other frequently. After a trip to Miami, Clapton returned with a pair of bell bottom jeans as a gift. He also returned with “Bell Bottom Blues”, in which he proclaims his love: “In your heart I want to stay.”

Listen to “Bell Bottom Blues” by Derek and the Dominos

This song ended up on the Derek and the Dominos album but was quickly eclipsed by the title track from the LP: “Layla”. Boyd later recalled that Clapton played the song to him several times in a row in an empty apartment where the band was recording. He watched her face for reactions. It put her in an awkward position, she said, but realized, “I couldn’t resist any longer.” At a party that night, Harrison saw his wife talking to Clapton, who revealed he was in love with Boyd. Harrison was angry, but Boyd returned home with her husband, and Clapton found solace in heroin.

After Boyd and Harrison separated, Boyd and Clapton finally married in 1979. But the union was fraught with alcoholism and infidelity, among other indiscretions. But it yielded another classic Boyd-inspired song: “Wonderful Tonight.”

Listen to Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight”

Boyd recalled she couldn’t decide what to wear one night, tossing dress after dress on the floor as she tried them on. While she searched, Clapton played his guitar in the next room. Inspired by country singer and songwriter Don Williams, Clapton wanted to tell a story about everyday life. “Wonderful Tonight” reassured his wife that she looked stunning no matter what she decided to wear.

The songs became happy memories of her relationships with Harrison and Clapton. “I think in my case, George and Eric were unable to communicate their feelings through normal conversation,” Boyd told Taylor Swift in Harper’s Bazaar. “I became a reflection for them.”

The best love song among more than 100 rock bands

Here is rock in its most romantic form, listed in alphabetical order.


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