Nov 30, 2008

Storied Triangle: Pattie Boyd, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and the Three Songs She Inspired

Every Beatles fan knows the story. George, the handsome Beatle, married Pattie Boyd, the model with the long legs and gap between her teeth. On her wedding day she wore a mini-skirt and a fur coat, and looked oh-so trendy. She not only epitomized London in the swinging 60's, like models Jean Shrimpton and Twiggy, but she inspired George Harrison and Eric Clapton to write songs in her honor: George wrote "Something", and Eric wrote "Laya" and "Wonderful Tonight".
George and Eric were best friends when Eric went after her. He succeeded in winning her away from George after nine years of marriage. By the time she and Eric married, Clapton was already a drug addict and alcoholic. Their marriage ended ten years later in 1988 when Pattie, who had undergone IVF treatment in the attempt to have a baby, found out Clapton was expecting a child with Italian model Lori Del Santo. (Eric's son died at four or five from a fall out of an open window.) Pattie divorced Eric, but unknown to her at the time he'd also sired a daughter out of wedlock with yet another woman.

George sings "Something" in this YouTube video.

Derrick and the Dominoes sing "Layla"

Photographer John French took these trendy photos. The one above reminds me of the outfits that Audrey Hepburn for Courreges. The caps especially are reminiscent of those the stewardesses wore in "2001: A Space Odyssey". (Pattie is on the right.)

The look below was also typical of that era: teased hair, black curled eyelashes, prim collar, pastel color, long skirt length, and white hose.

Quintessential 60's: Patti Boyd (with the Rolling Stones) in a Mary Quant Dress. Click here to see the rest of John French's incredible 50's and 60's photos.

The fascinating story of this threesome continues in these links. George has since died, but both Pattie and Eric have written their memoirs, which are quoted below.

Eric sings "Wonderful Tonight."

Pattie today.


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