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Derek and the Dominos - Layla

What'll you do when you get lonely
And nobody's waitin' by your side?
You've been runnin' an' hidin' much too long
You know it's just your foolish pride

Layla, you've got me on my knees
Layla, I'm beggin', darlin' please
Layla, darlin', won't you ease my worried mind

I tried to give you consolation
When your own man had let you down
Like a fool, I fell in love with you
Turned my whole world, upside down

Layla, you've got me on my knees
Layla, I'm beggin', darlin' please
Layla, darlin', won't you ease my worried mind

Let's make the best of the situation
Before I finally go insane
Please, don't say, we'll never find a way
An' tell me all my love's in vain

Layla, you've got me on my knees
Layla, I'm beggin', darlin' please
Layla, darlin', won't you ease my worried mind

Layla, you've got me on my knees
Layla, I'm beggin', darlin' please
Layla, darlin', won't you ease my worried mind

"Layla" is a song by rock band Derek and the Dominos and the thirteenth track from their album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, released in December 1970. It is considered one of rock music's definitive love songs, featuring an unmistakable guitar figure, played by Eric Clapton and Duane Allman, and a piano coda that comprises the second half of the song. Its famously contrasting movements were composed separately by Clapton and Jim Gordon. Inspired by Clapton's then-unrequited love for Pattie Boyd, the wife of his friend and fellow musician George Harrison, "Layla" was unsuccessful on its initial release. The song has since experienced great critical and popular acclaim. It is often hailed as being among the greatest rock songs of all-time. Two versions have achieved chart success, first in 1972 and again twenty years later as an acoustic "Unplugged" performance. In 2004, it was ranked #27 on Rolling Stone's list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". The song's emotional and famous guitar soloing was ranked number 14 on Guitar World's "100 Greatest Guitar Solos". In 1966, George Harrison married Pattie Boyd, a model he met during the filming of A Hard Day's Night. During the late 1960s, Clapton and Harrison became firm friends. Clapton contributed guitar work on Harrison's song "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" on The Beatles' White Album but remained uncredited, and Harrison co-wrote and played guitar pseudonymously (as L'Angelo Misterioso) on Cream's "Badge" from Goodbye. However, trouble was brewing for Clapton. Between his tenures in Cream and Blind Faith, in his words, "something else quite unexpected was happening: I was falling in love with Pattie." The title, "Layla", was inspired by the The Story of Layla / Layla and Majnun (ليلى ومجنون), by the Persian 12th century poet Nizami Ganjavi. It is based on the real story of a young man called Qays ibn al-Mulawwah (Arabic: قيس بن الملوح‎) from the northern Arabian Peninsula, in the Umayyad era during the 7th century. When he wrote "Layla", Clapton had been told the story by his friend Ian Dallas who was in the process of converting to Islam. Nizami's tale, about a moon-princess who was married off by her father to someone other than the one who was desperately in love with her, resulting in his madness (Majnun, مجنون, meaning "madman" in Arabic), struck a deep chord with Clapton. According to Boyd, Clapton played the song for her at a party, and later that same evening confessed to George that he was in love with his wife. The revelation caused no small upset between the three of them, but Pattie and George remained married for several more years, and Harrison and Clapton retained their close friendship with no apparent signs of damage. Boyd divorced Harrison in 1977 and married Clapton in 1979 during a concert stop in Tucson, Arizona. Harrison was not bitter about the divorce and attended Clapton's wedding party with Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney. During their relationship, Clapton wrote another love ballad for her, "Wonderful Tonight". Clapton and Boyd divorced in 1989 after several years of separation. After the breakup of Cream, Clapton tried his hand with several artists, including Blind Faith and a husband and wife duo, Delaney and Bonnie. In the spring of 1970, he was told that Delaney and Bonnie's backup band, consisting of bassist Carl Radle, drummer Jim Gordon, and keyboardist Bobby Whitlock, was leaving the group. Seizing the opportunity, Clapton formed a new group, soon known as Derek and the Dominos. In mid-to-late 1970, Duane Allman of The Allman Brothers Band joined Clapton's fledgling band as a guest. Clapton and Allman, already mutual fans, were introduced at an Allman Brothers concert by Tom Dowd. The two hit it off well and soon became good friends. Dowd said of their guitar-playing chemistry, "There had to be some sort of telepathy going on because I've never seen spontaneous inspiration happen at that rate and level. One of them would play something, and the other reacted instantaneously. Never once did either of them have to say, 'Could you play that again, please?' It was like two hands in a glove. And they got tremendously off on playing with each other." Dowd was already famous for a variety of work, and had worked with Clapton in his Cream days (Clapton once called him "the ideal recording man"); his work on the album would be another achievement. For the making of his biographical documentary Tom Dowd and the Language of Music, he remixed the original master tapes of "Layla", saying "There are my principles, in one form or another." Clapton originally wrote "Layla" as a ballad, with lyrics describing his unrequited love for Pattie Boyd, but the song became a "rocker" when Allman reportedly composed the song's signature riff, or repeated musical figure. With the band assembled and Dowd producing, "Layla" was recorded in its original form. The recording consisted of six guitar tracks; a rhythm track by Clapton, three tracks of melodies played by Clapton against the main riff, a track of slide guitar by Allman, and one track with both Allman and Clapton playing counter-melodies. One night a few weeks later, Clapton returned to the studio. Gordon was playing a piano piece he had composed separately and Clapton, impressed by the piece, convinced Gordon to let it be used with the song. "Layla"'s second movement was recorded three weeks after the first had been completed, with Gordon playing his piano part, Clapton playing acoustic guitar, and Allman playing slide guitar. After Dowd spliced the two movements together, "Layla" was complete. Due to the circumstances of its composition, "Layla" is defined by two movements, each marked by a riff. The first movement, which was recorded in the keys of D minor for choruses and E major for verses, is centered around the "signature riff", a guitar piece utilising hammer-ons, pull-offs, and power chords. The riff is commonly believed to have originated from Allman, an adaptation of the vocal melody from Albert King's "As the Years Go Passing By" from 1967's album Born Under a Bad Sign. The first section also contains the overdub-heavy guitar solo, a duet of sorts between Allman's slide guitar and Clapton's bent notes. By placing his slide at points beyond the end of the fretboard, Allman was able to play notes at a higher pitch than could be played with standard technique. Dowd referred to this as "notes that aren't on the instrument!" The second movement, Jim Gordon's contribution, is commonly referred to as the "piano coda." Originally played in C major, the tape speed of the coda was increased during mixing. The resulting pitch is somewhere between C and C sharp. The piano interlude at the end of the song is augmented by an acoustic guitar and is also the accompaniment to the outro-solo. The same melody is played on Allman's slide guitar, albeit one octave higher. Gordon does not improvise or deviate from the piano part. Clapton and Allman are the ones who improvise the melody. The song ends with Allman playing what sounds like a high-pitched "bird call" on his slide guitar. As Clapton commented on his signature song: 'Layla' is a difficult one, because it's a difficult song to perform live. You have to have a good complement of musicians to get all of the ingredients going but, when you've got that... It's difficult to do as a quartet, for instance, because there are some parts you have to play and sing completely opposing lines, which is almost impossible to do. If you've got a big band, which I will have on the tour, then it will be easy to do something like 'Layla' — and I'm very proud of it. I love to hear it. It's almost like it's not me. It's like I'm listening to someone that I really like. Derek and The Dominos was a band I really liked—and it's almost like I wasn’t in that band. It's just a band that I'm a fan of. Sometimes, my own music can be like that. When it's served its purpose to being good music, I don't associate myself with it anymore. It's like someone else. It's easy to do those songs then. Or, as his inspiration, Pattie Boyd once said, "I think that he was amazingly raw at the time... He's such an incredible musician that he's able to put his emotions into music in such a way that the audience can feel it instinctively. It goes right through you." The album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs opened to lackluster sales (the album never reached the charts in Britain) as with Clapton unmentioned except on the back it appeared to be a double album from an unknown band. In addition the song's length proved prohibitive for radio airplay; as a result an edited version of the song, trimmed to 2:43, was released as a single in March 1971 by Atco (U.S.). It peaked at only #51 on the Billboard Hot 100. "Layla" Single by Eric Clapton from the album Unplugged Released 1992 Format CD single Recorded Bray Studios, Bray, Berkshire January 16, 1992 Genre Acoustic rock, blues-rock Length 4:46 Label Reprise Producer Russ Titelman However when "Layla" was re-released on the 1972 compilation The History of Eric Clapton and then released as a single it charted at #7 in the UK and #10 in the U.S. Critical opinion since has been overwhelmingly positive. Dave Marsh, in The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock and Roll, wrote that, "there are few moments in the repertoire of recorded rock where a singer or writer has reached so deeply into himself that the effect of hearing them is akin to witnessing a murder or a suicide... to me 'Layla' is the greatest of them." In 1982 "Layla" was re-released as a single in the UK and was an even bigger success than in 1972, peaking at #4. In May 1980, it was covered by the London Symphony Orchestra, but without the lyrics, being recorded to EMI Studio One, Abbey Road, London. A similar version has also been performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. On September 20, 1983 at a benefit show called the ARMS Charity Concert for Multiple Sclerosis at the Royal Albert Hall in London, which featured a jam with Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page performing "Layla" and "Tulsa Time"—Clapton, Beck, and Page famously were the Yardbirds' successive lead guitarists from 1963 to 1968. In 1992, Clapton was invited to play for the MTV Unplugged series. His subsequent album, Unplugged, featured a number of blues standards and his new "Tears in Heaven". It also featured an "unplugged" version of "Layla". The new arrangement slowed down and reworked the original riff and dispensed with the piano coda. This version climbed to #12 on the U.S. charts but failed to chart in Britain. It would later win a Grammy Award in 1992 for Best Rock Song, beating out "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana. The win would later be named one of the 10 biggest upsets in Grammy history by Entertainment Weekly. Clapton only half-joked that he had rearranged the song in a slower, acoustic version because he was getting too old to play the demanding electric guitar riff very well. Beginning in 2003, the song's history came almost full circle in another direction, when The Allman Brothers Band began playing the song in concert. Warren Haynes sang the vocal, Gregg Allman played the piano part, and Derek Trucks played Duane's guitar parts during the coda. The performances were seen not only as a tribute to Duane, but to producer Tom Dowd, who had died the previous year. On 19 May 2007 at a free concert titled "The Road To Austin" Bobby Whitlock performed his own electric versions of "Layla" and "Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad" with dueling guitars courtesy of Eric Johnson and David Grissom. Whitlock and Coco Carmel recorded a remake of "Layla" with the same backing band at the "The Road To Austin" show with Johnson and Grissom again handling all guitar duties. The remake of "Layla" is featured on Bobby Whitlock and Coco Carmel's album Lovers released on Valentine's Day of 2008. By the late 1980s and early 1990s, the song had become iconic, and it is featured on a number of "greatest ever" lists. The song was chosen by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of their "500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll", and Rolling Stone's ranked the song at #27 on their list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". "Layla" was ranked #16 on VH1's "100 Greatest Songs of Rock and Roll", while Clapton's and Allman's guitar solos earned "Layla" a spot on Guitar World's list of the "100 Greatest Guitar Solos" at #14. The song's familiar guitar riff was featured on a series of British TV adverts for Vauxhall cars, while the extended piano coda was featured prominently in Martin Scorsese's film Goodfellas. Covers have been fairly rare, including John Fahey's cover on his 1984 album Let Go, a cover by session musician and smooth jazz guitarist Larry Carlton, and a cover by Impulsia from their debut album Expressions in 2009.

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