George, Eric, Layla… and Lucy

George, Eric, Layla... and Lucy

George Harrison and Eric Clapton were best mates. But sometimes, a girl can come between best mates. Things can get ugly in such a love triangle. But in this case, apparently, it does not. 


The girl who could have come between George and Eric was Patti Boyd.


Patti Boyd was a pretty model and a photographer. She was a leading international model in the 1960's when George met her. George was already a Beatle when he met Patti on the set of A Hard Day's Night, when they filmed it in 1964.


George and Patti fell in love and they got married in 1966.


George and Eric met in 1964 at the Beatles Christmas Show in London. Eric's band, the Yardbirds, was playing the front act for the Beatles. The Beatles were quite impressed with Eric's playing that they befriended him. George and Eric became close friends after this.


Sometime in September 1968, when the Beatles were recording at the EMI Abbey Road studios, George called Eric to come over. George asked Eric to play lead guitar on the song he (George) wrote, entitled While My Guitar Gently Weeps. In a twist of irony, George was having trouble making his guitar weep.

Eric was faced with a dilemma. George was his best mate and was inviting him over to play lead guitar on a Beatles song he wrote. He felt obliged. Eric's hesitation was rooted in knowing that no one else ever plays with the Beatles. But George finally convinced him.


George had arranged for Eric to use his Red 1957 Gibson Les Paul in recording Gently Weeps, through a Fender Twin amp, as Eric recalls the events in a 2013 interview. This Red 1957 Les Paul was originally given to George by Eric after he'd come back from New York earlier that year. This is Lucy, George Harrison's Red 1957 Les Paul. Lucy was a gift from Eric to George.


But George didn't know at the time of the 1968 recording of Gently Weeps that Eric was already falling in love with Patti, his wife. He'd notice later on and would ask Eric what was going on. Eric would say to George that he was in love with his wife.


Eric was crazy in love with Patti and wrote her love letters and verses. He wrote a love song for Patti entitled Layla. In the song Eric pours out his heart and soul to Layla (Patti).


"I tried to give you consolation, when your old man let you down. Like a fool I fell in love with you, you turned my world upside down... Make the best of the situation, before I finally go insane. Please don't say we'll never find a way, and tell me all my love's in vain. Layla."


Who Layla was became obvious to the people around Eric, and George. But there's more to Layla than meets the eye.


The name Layla came from a book Eric was reading, entitled The Story of Layla and Manjun. It was about an Arabian princess arranged to marry her father's choice of a husband for her. This leaves her one true love hopeless until he goes mad. Eric knit his own story of going mad about Patti in the song Layla. 


Layla is introduced by an intense seven note riff pattern. When you hear the seven note riff pattern, you immediately know it's Layla. 


In 1974, George and Patti divorced. Five years later, Eric and Layla (Patti) got married. George and Eric remained best mates. George lost Lucy, but later got her back.