The Unusual History Of Derek And The Dominos’ ‘Layla’
Now hailed as classics, neither Derek And The Dominos’ ‘Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs’ album, nor the ‘Layla’ single, were big hits upon their initial release.
The story of Derek and the Dominos’ ”Layla” is not all it seems. Neither the outstanding single, now considered one of rock’s greatest love songs, nor its parent album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs performed nearly as well on the charts when they were originally released as many of us imagine.
The album came out on November 9, 1970, and made the US charts later that month, November 21, entering at No.195. It peaked at No.16, hardly as high a placing as many might guess. In the UK Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs failed to chart at all on first release; it finally made No.68 on the album charts when it was reissued in 2011.
The review in Britain’s Melody Maker was somewhat reserved in its praise for the album, stating that “If you do judge Derek and the Dominos by Cream standards, you’ll be disappointed.” Nonetheless, as the years have rolled by the album is now regarded by many as Eric Clapton’s masterpiece. Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, and Rolling Stone ranked it number 117 on its list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
But what about “Layla” as a single? In the US, it was released as an edited 45rpm in March 1971 and made No. 51 in the charts. “Bell Bottom Blues” was the lead single from the album, but only reached No. 91. A year later, a longer version of “Layla” was issued in the States and fared better, entering the Hot 100 at No. 92 on May 13, 1972. It reached No. 10 on the Billboard charts on August 12. In the UK, the track was not released as a single at all until August 1, 1972, and only then in the shortened version. It made No.7 in 1972 and a decade later, on March 6, 1982, it charted again, making No.4.
Melody Maker‘s July 1972 review of “Layla”: “Colleagues who frequent such places tell me that this is an all-time favorite at The Speakeasy. No wonder. Though two years old, it’s still the best record of the week, with that scorching interplay between Eric Clapton and the late Duane Allman. It seems that Eric is gradually returning to the scene…hopefully the success of this record – and it’s sure to be a hit if it gets the airplay – will convince him that we need him.”
August 1, 2014 at 4:35 pm
Quite possibly the best albumn of a generation!
August 2, 2014 at 4:05 pm
This was music. Can you believe what they call “music” today. Eric continues to be great today. Also I must add, I would sleep with this almost “70” year old in a heartbeat! He look so damn good with that grey hair!
August 10, 2014 at 11:25 am
I don’t know if the white knight would sleep with you. But there is a 99.9999% chance if you have slept with the Dark Horse
September 5, 2015 at 4:56 pm
Rap, Hip hop,Bieber etc. is crap. There is lots of great music out there. The Lone Bellow, Lord Huron, Dawes, Mumford & Son, JD McPhereson, Gary Clarke Jr.. You just need to listen for it.
September 5, 2015 at 7:48 pm
WOW! diane…i remember my parents saying the same thing about THIS album…and the beatles, stones, doors and i don’t know HOW many others…you seem pretty close minded or just wouldn’t know music if it bit you on that eric clapton longing ass of yours…this, btw, from a 64 yo…there was, is and always will be music…if you have the ears to hear it…
March 7, 2016 at 10:05 pm
well said,from another 64 yo
August 15, 2017 at 1:14 am
And the same from another 64-yr-old
March 6, 2016 at 12:36 pm
Every Generation claims that the new generation is no way near as good as their own generation… whether it concerns Music, Fashion, Attitudes, etc… I’m sure the Renaissance generation complained about that new Baroque noise back in the day.
August 12, 2017 at 1:48 am
“Why must every generation think their folks are square and no matter where their heads are at they know Mom’s ain’t there!” John Sebastian
August 12, 2017 at 3:02 pm
Hans.. 60/70s classic rock, Motown and R&B runs circles around the stuff today. Tell me who can play guitar like the classic rockers of the 60/70s? Hendrix, Clapton, Santana, Page, Alvin Lee, Duane Allman, Dickie Betts, Skynryd, Outlaws, (place your favorite guitarist here) etc, etc. Musical group talent like Kansas, Yes, Tull, name it..The problem today is that artists can not get produced or signed unless producers can see instant payback with a quick hit song. For example, the only reason we got Kansas in the 70s was because Don Kirchner invested hundreds of thousands of dollars on them for several years until they finally got a few big commercial hits, then his payoff finally came. In today musical industry Kansas may have been just another garage band. Whether it be for lack of talent or opportunity, music today is far from as good as back then.
August 12, 2017 at 3:13 pm
August 13, 2017 at 1:00 am
Guitar: Gary Clark, Jr., Coco Montoya, Jeff Healey (dearly departed), Kenny Wayne Shepard, Jonny Lang, to name only a few. Bands like Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Counting Crows, Matchbox 20. There is great new music being made today. One just needs to listen with an open heart.
August 14, 2017 at 6:28 pm
Joe Bonamassa for one! But I Agree wholeheartedly the popular or top 40 music of today is the Worst in History!
September 24, 2020 at 2:31 am
I bought it immediately upon it’s release, and spent evenings over the next several weeks listening to it from start to finish. It’s held up well to say the least. I remember my mom (I was 13) asking to listen, and not being too impressed.
March 8, 2016 at 2:21 am
Us Andersons must think alike !!!!
September 6, 2015 at 12:05 am
The understatement of the century.
August 12, 2017 at 3:12 am
Yes..I simply loved every track on this album when I bought it soon after it’s release in USA. Every track from the first track “I looked away” to the closing “Thorn Tree In the Garden” had me rockin’ and a rollin'” in the early 1970’s and I have it in 180 Gram Vinyl today. Awesome album!
August 12, 2017 at 6:25 am
I agree! This album is absolutely amazing!
September 24, 2020 at 2:31 am
I bought it immediately upon it’s release, and spent evenings over the next several weeks listening to it from start to finish. It’s held up well to say the least. I remember my mom (I was 13) asking to listen, and not being too impressed.
August 1, 2014 at 4:36 pm
Bought it when it came out, played it to near destruction. Have it now on CD. My all time favorite album.
August 1, 2014 at 8:46 pm
Only three albums I have worn out.
Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs
Dark Side of the Moon
August 1, 2014 at 10:01 pm
I wore mine out too. However, I have the album cover on display on the wall
August 3, 2014 at 6:00 pm
Ditto! I too have the cover framed and on my wall along with some other faves.
March 6, 2016 at 11:55 am
I did exactly the same ! On the wall but bought the 40th boxed edition with all the extras!
March 9, 2016 at 5:27 pm
Same here.i left it in the bathroom at the Denver airport the day after i purchased them bought it again when i got home. I still listen to it
August 1, 2014 at 4:40 pm
Yes, I recall in the later ’70’s reading that Eric Clapton was very depressed at the first reception of the album, which after all was quite an innovative and unusual format for the times – you could say ahead of its time as a conceptual album of bluesy love ballads and melodic guitar playing – it was just not really appreciated until it had some time and ‘skin in the game’ . This is so often the case with rich offerings from artists, they are just not appreciated for a while until folks live with it and grow to love it. I recall not liking Dark side of The Moon when i first heard it, later of course the penny dropped and it became a classic.
Richard Wm. Narlian
August 2, 2014 at 7:26 am
The primarily white record consumers that actually ruled the record charts- was not quite ready for blues that actually had more than 3 chords,a short solo-and,then on to the next song.
If they were ready for the hard stuff–they might have discovered Clapton when he was working for John Mayal.
August 1, 2014 at 5:00 pm
Bought it when it first came out and hated it! I was a die-hard Cream fan and just didn’t like the style this album. Put it away for 4 years and pulled it out again and played it from beginning to end. Multiple times!!! Turned out to be an absolutely amazing album that I never grow tired of!
August 1, 2014 at 5:52 pm
Had he priviledge of seeing their respective groups many times. A shame that Duane was lost your early. Cannot imagine the kind of music that could have been recorded. Glad that Clapton stuck it out all these years.
August 1, 2014 at 6:14 pm
I still have my original vinyl, bought in 1971, played and played and played…..finally got the cd. One of my favorite albums of all time, it never gets old, and Layla never fails to give me chills, listening to the guitars and the emotion in Eric’s voice…..epic album!
August 1, 2014 at 6:20 pm
From first listen as a young teen I was captivated by the haunting vocals, the cool riff, the slide playing and the 180 degree turn to the beautifully executed part II of the title song. The pangs of love and loss that eminated from those songs struck a chord with this boy and still does over 40 years later!
August 1, 2014 at 6:21 pm
Loved it when it came out= still love it now. Clapton ‘s finest effort.
August 1, 2014 at 6:38 pm
Clapton and Allman together. It doesn’t get better than that.
August 1, 2014 at 7:14 pm
Great album – got me into the Allmans too – get all their albums with Duane on ! Do it now !!
August 12, 2017 at 6:30 am
Agree! All answers were, good band but with Duane the, were amazing!
Dereks with Duan were excellent!
August 1, 2014 at 7:22 pm
It’s amazing how fresh the album still sounds after all these years. And if you love the album, you HAVE to get the Layla Box set that contains alternate takes and amazing jams.
August 1, 2014 at 7:25 pm
Was only 11 when the album was released, but bought the single in ’72 and remembering hearing “Layla” played on the radio non-stop. I’ve had the CD for at least 20 years and listen to it a lot. If I recall, the combination of lack of commercial success of the album and Clapton’s unrequited love, led to Clapton’s heroin addiction and self-imposed exile until the Rainbow Concert. 2 years today is nothing, but back then it was a lifetime.
August 1, 2014 at 7:30 pm
This was one of my 1st.8 tracks I ever got.
I was a big allman brother fan.I was interested to
Hear Clapton put this band together. They were working on another until the untimely death of
August 1, 2014 at 7:33 pm
Eric Clapton has been my favorite for many, many years now, and I still consider “Layla” one of his better works! Not forgetting all the other great musicians who contributed to that album.
August 1, 2014 at 7:34 pm
Best album ever. Duane and Eric at the height of their Blue Powers!
August 1, 2014 at 7:37 pm
Nothing beats listening to this on vinyl.
the cd has it conveniences but the sound is so very much better on vinyl…
By far the best that ever came from Allman or Clapton. .. together they were magical
August 1, 2014 at 7:38 pm
Anybody know why the band was called “‘Derek & the Dominos”? Named my son Derek because of this album, of course a girl would have been Layla.
August 1, 2014 at 11:09 pm
Derek as in Eric, He was trying to keep a low profile after Clapton is God segment
August 2, 2014 at 6:32 am
The D is for Duane Allman and the “erek” is for Eric Clapton.
August 1, 2014 at 7:39 pm
Strangely you don’t mention that the piano section which was added in the studio to Layla several days later was being played by Jim Gordon…Clapton overheard it and on to the album it went….however if anyone listens to a track called Time recorded by Booker T Jones and his then wife (Linda Ronstadts sister)and written by them..it is indeed the same piece….Gordon & Ronstadt were together at the time…it’s naughty but it’s true..it jumped from one to the other,but never seems to get any publicity
August 2, 2014 at 2:15 am
Booker T Jones was married to Rita Coolidge sister.
August 2, 2014 at 2:32 am
Actually, Booker’s then wife, Priscilla, is the sister of Rita Coolidge. Rita created the gorgeous piano coda that brings the song to an end. Rita knew Jim Gordon, but not sure if they were ever together. At the time, I’m pretty sure Rita was married to Kris Kristoferson.
August 2, 2014 at 4:40 am
Actually that was Rita Cooledge’s sister that married Mr. Jones.
August 2, 2014 at 11:55 am
Dave, so right! We were concentrating more on the history of the album and single’s success, which as is so often the case is not always as we remember. Great shout though!
March 4, 2015 at 12:26 am
He took it from Rita Coolidge, his ex girlfriend.
March 4, 2015 at 6:36 pm
Yawn…….Jim Gordon dated Rita Coolidge as she dated many rockers in her “day.” Supposedly, the piano piece was taken from a ditty that the members of Delaney & Bonnie used to play after gigs. Jim recorded the piece one night and Clapton liked it. Priscilla Coolidge was married to Booker T. Jones and recorded it as “Time” after “Layla.” End of Story.
September 5, 2015 at 5:29 pm
Booker T Jones was married to Rita Coolidge sister, not Linda Rondstadt
September 5, 2015 at 5:29 pm
Booker T Jones was married to Rita Coolidge sister, not Linda Rondstadt
August 12, 2017 at 1:41 am
Bobby Whitlock played keys on Kayla and other assorted love songs
August 1, 2014 at 7:43 pm
It really bugs me when peeps don’t do their homework…
The question then becomes, why the omission of the origins of the title..?
Is it because its Persian in nature..?
..& if u don’t trust wikipedia, listen to Clapton himself say it in interviews…
August 1, 2014 at 11:00 pm
Not at all, it was about the fact the records, both album and single, we’re not as successful when they were first released. The poem is beautiful.
August 1, 2014 at 7:46 pm
Fans should also try to listen to the double LP Derek and the Dominoes In Concert. It features some absolutely blistering playing on tracks such as Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad. Also some massively emotional tracks including Nobody Knows You. This also remains as one of my all-time fave albums.
August 2, 2014 at 10:32 am
Couldn’t agree less. I thought it was a huge letdown after Layla. Duane was gone and Clapton was heavy into smack at that point. The performances were largely boring and none of them measured up to the studio cuts. That album was the beginning of Clapton’s long slide from brilliance to mediocrity that lasted throughout the 70’s. The fiery Clapton of Mayall, Cream, Blind Faith, and Layla was gone forever.
I hate that album.
August 4, 2014 at 4:04 am
Actually Just Bill, hard to compare as Layla was really a masterpiece and a studio album and “Live” was just one of the stops along the road for The Dominos. I loved it when it first came out and still do. Unfortunately when they re-packaged the release the replaced some of the better versions of songs for example “why does love have to be so sad” with another version that was not as good and they included extra tracks that were not on the album when first released that should not have been released. The Dominos shows varied and some were much heavier that the Fillmore nights such as The Electric Factory in Philadelphia. They actually toured Europe before coming to the USA to record the album. Many of the shows are available as bootlegs but unfortunately the quality of the recordings are poor but some of the playing and performances are riveting and Clapton displays plenty of fire. I reckon you haven’t seen Clapton live through the years because of seen plenty of shows where he reaches deep and there’s plenty of fire in his playing. Check out the bootleg from Irving Plaza in NYC during his blues tour in support of the release “from the cradle” after his acoustic portion for the first third of the show he then went electric and then lit it up. Yes there have been tours where he has laid back a bit but plenty through the late eighties through the nineties where Eric displayed plenty of fire.
September 5, 2015 at 9:23 pm
Agreed, I can understand why people felt a little underwhelmed by the Dominoes live album, it had a certain restraint and jazz sensibility that was 360 degrees away from Cream’s sound – I saw E.C in 1975 live and he was fully requited with Patti hanging off of him in an interval where he drank a pint of brandy & ginger ale behind the amps, swore at the crowd for not clapping loudly enough for The Platters who were in the front row taking in the concert ‘C’mon it’s the f#ckin Platters!’ He tore off some heartfelt blues lines in couple of classic numbers. He was in UggBoots and a midnight blue satin jacket, very un-bluesman like. It was really great to see the man play live.
August 1, 2014 at 7:50 pm
I was just a kid of 12 when it was released. But Clapton was already one of my heroes. No one that I knew liked it but me and the friend that had the album I first listened to.
Actually, I listened to it this morning on a short trip I took. To bad no one makes music anymore.
August 1, 2014 at 7:56 pm
I bought the Layla album when it came out and recognized the beauty w/in!
I used it to go to music stores to buy a stereo system. if it didnt sound good-I wouldn’t buy the stereo. hated the re-issue mix
August 1, 2014 at 8:06 pm
I named my firstborn for the song Layla. She was born ten years after the album release. I have several copies on vinyl as the first was worn from continual play. Also on cd and on my iPad as this is played often. Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs will never become dated.
March 5, 2015 at 5:15 am
Same for me. My daughter’s name is also Layla because I adore this song. And an entire album is a masterpiece. I have several versions, including The Layla Sessions box.
August 1, 2014 at 8:18 pm
J’ai l’album original en vinyl 😉
August 1, 2014 at 8:51 pm
Loved it from the very start, was in a rock band though and I had a hard time getting the other members to play it at gigs, although I wanted to and thought it would do alright!
August 1, 2014 at 9:05 pm
In the early 70’s I was living on my working Narrow Boats & got out of touch with music trends & relied on juke boxes in pubs . I walked up to Daventry from the canal to meet a chick & while waiting for her in pub I fed juke box repetitively playing ” American Pie ” & ” Layla ” ~ When chick turned up I said ” who the f—- Deric & the Dominoes ? ” ~ ” How come you don’t know ? ” she said ~ ” no wonder it’s great ” I said when she explained . Both these records remain my favourites & when I play them 40 + years on they make me smile & great memories of those care free days.
August 2, 2014 at 11:57 am
August 1, 2014 at 9:18 pm
I saw Duane play at the Atlanta Pop Festival in early July 1970. He was at the time going back and forth between Macon and Miami for recording sessions with Derek and the Dominoes. Though I didn’t know it until years later when the Allman Brothers released their Atlanta Pop Festival gigs on CD, Duane threw in the signature Layla riff in his Whipping Post solo. Of course, not a single soul recognized it at the time. What a moment captured forever!
August 2, 2014 at 6:31 am
July 4th weekend, Atlanta Pop Festival. The Allman Brothers opened and closed the festival. What a time it was to be in Georgia! Used to hear the Brothers play at Piedmont Park. Good times!
August 1, 2014 at 9:23 pm
Layla will forever be my favorite tune in the history of music. I get lost in that rift at the end of the original every last time like it was the first time I heard it. Amazing talent in those hands.
August 1, 2014 at 11:34 pm
You took the exact words out of my mouth. When the singing stops and just the guitar goes on and on, I go into an entirely different state of mind. A wonderful, powerful, amazing piece of music.
August 1, 2014 at 9:23 pm
Just read “My Cross To Bear” Greg Allmans autobiography and this is one of the albums I thought of while I read it! I’ve played it so many times and it still wows me!
August 1, 2014 at 9:47 pm
Layla was and is still one of my all time favourite EC works. The interplay between Duane and Eric is epic and the vocals are pure soul. I still get a massive rush listening to each track. A classic in every sense of the word.
August 1, 2014 at 9:58 pm
Diehards will know this but many don’t…With the exception of Clapton and Allman, this is the same band that played on George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass.
August 2, 2014 at 12:46 am
Actually, Clapton led Whitlock, Gordon and Radel as the “house band”for Harrison on All Things Must Pass”. Listen to the third disc withe jams. Classic Clapton.
August 3, 2014 at 11:28 pm
Clapton grabbed those guys, Whitlock, Gordon, and Radel, from Delany and Bonnie, who’s band he played in for a while. Their live album “On Tour” was fantastic.
August 1, 2014 at 10:21 pm
The raw emotion coming not only from Eric’s voice, but, especially, from the literally screaming guitars of him and Duane Allman just can’t be topped. Besides the title track, the riffs on Have You Ever Loved a Woman, Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad, and many other tracks come for the heart and soul of the artists.
Someday someone might match it, but it’ll never be topped for pure heart-wrenching emotive playing.
August 1, 2014 at 10:38 pm
One of the greatest albums ever produced and they hit a home run with 24 nights also.
August 1, 2014 at 10:55 pm
One of my all time favorite albums, I listen to it regularly, along with money and cigarettes, another clapton classic *****
August 1, 2014 at 11:07 pm
So wheres the history?
I’ve read the book Layla and Majnun, thought you might post some interesting facts?
August 2, 2014 at 11:59 am
Jimmy, We were concentrating more on the history of the album and single’s success, which as is so often the case is not always as we remember. Few people realise that this was not a big seller back in the day. America had much better taste than the UK
Gordon C. Wong
August 1, 2014 at 11:25 pm
We all know the back story of the title song. He loved the wife of his best friend, George Harrison, but thought it could never be. He read the Persian (Iranian) love poem (it’s almost a hundred pages long in the form i read) of unrequited love and wrote of his love for Patti. I totally understand the suffering he would have been going through but here just wanted to say that as good as ‘Layla’ the albums are, don’t you think his playing on the live Derek & set is about the most passionate he ever released for us to hear? His heartache oozes out of every riff. I feel guilty that i like those recordings so much when he was suffering so much but i vote that as his best playing to recording ever.
August 1, 2014 at 11:38 pm
As someone pointed out, Jim Gordon’s beautiful piano coda was added, according to producer Tom Dodd in an interview I saw on A&E or one of those cable stations a few years back, nearly two weeks after the initial recording of the main piece. One of the great session drummers of all time, he was clearly a fine multi-instrumentalist and composer.
Sadly, in addition to Duane Allman’s death not that long after the recording of “Layla,” a little over ten years later, Gordon, who was an un-diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, murdered his mother with a claw hammer after “the voices” told him to. Even though both defense and prosecution stipulated to the fact that he was clearly very ill, he was convicted of second degree murder in 1984 and sentenced to 16 years to life. What most people don’t realize is that when there is this medically recognized psychiatric aspect to the crime, sentences like the one Jim received are essentially open ended. Had he been just the average Joe Sixpack who snapped one night and killed Mom, he’d have been out by now. With his condition, even though medicated, he will most likely remain a guest of the State of California to his dying day. A real tragedy for all concerned, including his poor mother obviously.
March 4, 2015 at 12:16 am
It was also later learned that Jim Gordon took the piano piece from his ex-girlfriend, Rita Coolidge.
August 1, 2014 at 11:39 pm
I own an original copy bought the day of release! I worked in a record store at the time so it was cheap. I listen to it one time I have never listened to it again since. I it is one of the worst albums Eric Clapton ever did. And yes I’ve seen him live with the Yardbirds once, Cream 3 times and alone twice and flew to Great Britain to see the reunion of Cream in 2005!
August 1, 2014 at 11:50 pm
I was a freshman in college when this album was released. It became the number album among the rock ‘n blues freaks in our crowd. What could be better than Eric & Duane? I think they learned from each other as well as playing off each other (and sharing swigs of whiskey.) Eric’s slide playing post-Layla was stronger. Sad that Duane died so young. What could they have done? A friend of mine saw a D&D show with Duane and said it was transcendent. At the time of the records’ release, I favored Eric’s musical ideas, but these days I think Duane’s were stronger.
August 1, 2014 at 11:58 pm
Great album….one of the classics of all times and part of the music of my generation….Long Live 70’s!
August 2, 2014 at 12:17 am
Missed some of the good stuff. Tom Dowd was shocked when Eric showed up with a strat and small fender amp, last time he recorded with him he played a gibson and had multiple marshall stacks. Things were not going well in the beginning. The ABB were in town playing an outdoor concert so Eric went to see them. He went under the stage and popped up right in front. According to Betts, when he saw him he turned his back to the audience so Eric could not see him play. After the concert he invited them all to Criteria Studios, which is how Duane ended up playing on the record, he was very excited about playing with Eric. The intro to Key to the Highway is a fade in. In the studio next to Eric’s was Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs who were playing the song, Eric and Duane heard it and joined in, it was so good, Dowd started recording it, hence the fade in. Clapton wrote later in his autobiography that he and Allman were inseparable during the sessions in Florida; he talked about Allman as the “musical brother I’d never had but wished I did.
August 2, 2014 at 12:04 pm
Blues Lover, great story, thankless for sharing. We were focussing on the success and history of the album and single when it first came out. We could have written a small book on the whole story of this amazing record!
August 2, 2014 at 12:31 am
Haha yes, the Speakeasy, I remember it well, in Margaret Street. But this record was not a dance-floor hit there. Who wrote the review, Chris Welch?
August 2, 2014 at 12:06 pm
Martin, pretty sure it was, having just checked it was Alan Lewis
August 2, 2014 at 12:41 am
We will never again hear two guitars masters so locked in as Eric and Duane. And to think they had literally just meet and got busy on these tracks over a couple weeks, total. Love Duane Allman? Listen to his pre-Allmans epic play on Boz Scaggs “Loan Me A Dime”. You’re welcome.
August 2, 2014 at 12:53 am
Tom Dowd thought it was the best thing he’d recorded – the best thing out there at all. When it failed to do well he said ‘The people are idiots.’ or something similar. It took time but it was destined to be one of the greatest rock records ever.
August 2, 2014 at 1:08 am
When this album was released,I was still an elementary school pupil.But at first time I heard the Layla’s famous intro from my radio,I remembered I was so excited.From that time,this album became one of the most favourite albums of my lifetime.
Later I was taught the English guitarist has played the Beatles’ “While My Guitar …”, and the American guitarist has passed away because of an incident.RIP Duane.
August 2, 2014 at 1:19 am
Anyday is my all time favorite song by far. Tp me it is a musical masterpiece with all of the guitar and drum licks throughout the entire song. There is so much going on within this song at all times instrument wise.
Clapton and Allman will remain in my world as the greatest complimenting guitar duo that ever walked the planet. Its not the rifts or the leads per-se or even the brilliant slide of Duane but merely the subtle nuances of the little background contributions they both seemed to ad-lib with. I really miss that style.
August 2, 2014 at 1:21 am
When this album released,I was still an elementary pupil.But at the first time I heard the Layla’s famous intro from my radio,I remembered I was so excited.From that time this album became one of the most favourite albums of my lifetime.
Later I knew the English guitarist has played the Beatles’ “While My Guitar…”,and the American guitarist has passed away because of an incident.RIP Duane.
August 2, 2014 at 1:31 am
Sometimes overlooked in the bright light of Clapton and Allman, Bobby Whitlock was an integral part of the sound and the album. His harmonies contribute greatly to the haunting quality of many of the vocals.
August 15, 2017 at 7:52 am
Yes, Whitlock does not get enough credit, especially vocal SD.
August 2, 2014 at 1:37 am
One of my alltime favorite albums ever. Still is.
August 2, 2014 at 1:39 am
Some asked about the band name…there were times when Eric didn’t want his name plastered over everything…maybe some modesty, maybe a desire that the work be judged on its own merit. There were a lot of band names he used, and a lot of them used “Derek” instead of Eric. One of my faves was “Eric Kleptomaniac and the Diddycoys”.
August 2, 2014 at 1:44 am
The beautiful piano ending was created by Jim Gordon who later went mad and is languishing in a Mental Hospital, convicted of murder.
August 2, 2014 at 2:14 am
Rolling Stone was off by about 116 spots…
August 2, 2014 at 2:19 am
No one mentioned the cover of Little Wing. My vote for the masterpiece of the album taking nothing away from every other masterpiece on the album.
August 2, 2014 at 2:20 am
I remember when the Layla album came out. I was in the Army at Ft. Carson, CO. The album was huge with everyone I knew on the post – including even the black G.I.’s. who normally stuck to their soul music. Everyone loved it. Especially Layla. It was always playing in the barracks and on the local radio stations. I prefer his bluesy music more than the big pop hits like After Midnight and Wonderful Tonight. “Me and Mr. Johnson” is one of my faves. His jam with Steve Winwood on “Dear Mr. Fantasy” (on youtube) is exquisite. It can bring tears to my eyes. Eric is not God. He actually plays guitar better than God.
August 2, 2014 at 2:51 am
One of the best in vocal and guitar that is hard to beat in my opinion. I heard it once and loved it always. R
August 2, 2014 at 2:59 am
One of the best in vocal and guitar in my opinion.
August 2, 2014 at 3:12 am
History has judged this composition as a masterpiece. I am willing to predict that it will continue to be so judged for many years to come.
August 2, 2014 at 3:37 am
Have loved Clapton since hearing “I’ve got a Rock and Roll heart” off the “Money and Cigarettes” album. I have to say “Layla” is a favorite of mine, but I was expecting a discussion of the ‘backstory’. Clapton was in love with Patty Boyd, George Harrison’s wife at the time, and sang the song to her!
August 2, 2014 at 3:38 am
Wait… That’s it? That’s the “Real History???” What kind of crap is that? Some chart figures and a clip from a magazine two years after it’s released?
Nothing about Patti Harrison?
Click bait crap.
A masterful album and undeniably classic title track. Deserves a better write up.
August 2, 2014 at 4:06 am
One of the few albums I own that when I need a fix, I’ll listen to it for months to cure it; and the music makes me think of the creative energy brought together during the sessions and how it came together so beautifully. I don’t know how they did it but I’m so glad they did…. A timeless album.
August 2, 2014 at 4:18 am
Eric is god!
August 2, 2014 at 4:46 am
I believe one of the LARGE contributors of the albums wide departure from the “Cream” vibe to a bluesier feel was Clapton’s time spent with Delaney Bramlett (who has not yet been admitted to the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame). Add the fortuitous introduction that Mr. Tom Dowd made between Clapton and his brother from a different mother , Duane Allman and you have Rock & Roll history!!!!
August 2, 2014 at 6:34 am
Carl Radle, Bobby Whitlock, Jim Gordon, too!
August 2, 2014 at 6:38 am
Although the song Layla was extremely well done, it appears to be, for the most part, a cover of a song recorded by Bill Graham’s Fillmore Records’ band Sawbuck released in the summer of 1970 and written by William “Mojo” Collins. The song I am talking about, is called Promised Land. In the summer of 1970, Clapton was playing Winterland in San Francisco and was subsequently invited to the record release party. He left with a copy under his arm. Mojo has stated that he did “a great job with it,” but I think that the record should be set straight about who actually wrote those riffs. Although Eric Clapton is one of the greatest guitarists ever, and did many unsurpassed arrangements of other peoples’ songs, he was never a prolific writer of songs. I think that borrowing peoples songs is okay, if that writer get’s the credit they deserve! Sadly, this is one case where it did not happen. Mick Lazer
August 2, 2014 at 12:10 pm
We;ve listened to the song before, Mick, and cannot see that it is in any way a rip off. There is some small similarity in that three note run, but overall it is so significantly different in construction.
March 3, 2015 at 7:54 pm
Sawbuck’s album was recorded and mixed in July of 1971. The album was released in 1972–over a year after Layla was released. I think it is safe to say that Ronnie Montrose (who was a huge fan of Clapton’s at the time) was under the spell of Layla when he recorded Promised Land. As for the lick in question, it’s an Albert King lick from As the Years Go Passing By that Duane Allman sped up.
March 8, 2016 at 12:52 am
I seem to recall an interview many moons ago where Eric stated that the main lick in Layla is actually the first vocal line to Albert King’s As The Years Go Passing By (Aint there nothing I can do), sped up a bit. They do match up. A hugely influential LP for me as a kid cutting his teeth on guitar. I still play.
August 2, 2014 at 6:45 am
This was great! Derek and the Dominoes Live is also spectacular. I have had both on vinyl since they came out. I have them on cd as well. The only negative is that the live album came after Duane’s untimely demise.
August 2, 2014 at 7:05 am
I was baptized into blues after listening to Eric clapton’s album ‘From the Cradle’ which is a reworked of great blues artists of all time. Commenting on ‘Layla’ i would say its a wonderful song, i simply admire the variation and expression of eric clapton.
August 2, 2014 at 7:09 am
As I understood it, the entire album was about George Harrison’s wife, with whom Eric was in love. I believe it is an entire album of ballads about his love. He had a lot going on with Delaney, Bonnie and friends, Derek and the Dominoes, the Yardbirds, John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, Robert Cray, Cream, Blind Faith, JJ Cale, Santana, thee Beatles, Phil Collins, the Rolling Stones, the Band, Freddie King, B.B. King, Mark Knopfler, Brian Wilson, John Mayer, Roger Waters, Dire Straits, Elton John, George Harrison, Steve Winwood, Paul McCartney, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, Paul Wassif
August 2, 2014 at 8:14 am
You people act as if Eric Clapton is the only person in the bloody band! This is the first ever super group! EVER! That’s why it was special! Not Eric Clapton’s simple ass! It’s the combination of talent that sets these guys apart.
August 2, 2014 at 12:12 pm
It was why we were careful not to reference EC in the article, it is definitely Derek and the Dominoes for us too
August 2, 2014 at 11:04 am
This album is the best it can only be compared to another great one Main Street on Exile. I wore them both out spinning the grooves!
August 2, 2014 at 11:04 am
This is the first album I listen to in my garage every spring.
August 2, 2014 at 11:17 am
Such a Classic Named one of my twin daughters Layla
August 2, 2014 at 11:49 am
When Is Elliott Scheiners 5.1 remix of this album goung to get a hi Rez release HFPA Blu ray for instance.
One of my top 10 albums and the SACD mix was appaulingly unsymapthetic, Scheniers mix in teh Box set from a few years back was much more like what it shoudl ahve been but Low Rez.
August 2, 2014 at 3:51 pm
At the risk of being run out of town, I feel compelled to point out that Bell Bottom Blue is easily the best cut on that album.
September 5, 2015 at 9:43 pm
Bell Bottom Blues is actually my favorite off the album also, such a strong song.
August 2, 2014 at 4:44 pm
I lived and breathed this album for years. It defined my life about the time it was released. I have it on CD now but the sound is not the same as the original vinyl. It lacks the original omph of the vinyl sound which is true, I suppose, about most music that was originally released on vinyl. Nevertheless, it is record that grows on you. I especially loved what Eric & Greg did to Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing”. I enjoy both versions equally which is something I can’t say about too many remakes of original material.
August 2, 2014 at 4:54 pm
Found the Layla single in 1972 for 50 pence English. Sold for the price of the album. Blown away by the music. It got me to buy Live at Fillmore East by the Allman Brothers Band. After 40 years I am still buying Clapton and going to his concerts. Have studio, archive and instant live recordings of the Allmans and have just purchased the 6 disc Fillmore recordings. It shows how one track has influence my life time of listing to music. My favourite album ever .
MELODY R. DAVIS EMIG
August 2, 2014 at 5:26 pm
THE FIRST TIME I HEARD THIS SONG…..I LOVED IT!!!!!!!
I PLAYED IT OVER AND OVER. ITS STILL MY FAVORITE SONG, THE 47 YEARS I HAVE LISTEN TO IT!!!! AND ALWAYS WILL BE! <3
August 2, 2014 at 10:11 pm
remembering seeing them live and in person on a myriad of drugs that I no longer do and remember thinking this is all too good and won’t last long and the nstage is not big enough for all of them…now it is just nostalgia,a brain disorder for some………
August 2, 2014 at 10:48 pm
From the first time I heard Layla I said repeatedly that it was one song that could never be ‘covered’, even by Clapton because there was no longer a Duane Allman to add the necessary soul that was in the original. I do have to admit that I was wrong. Clapton did a masterful job of completely re-inventing the song with the re-release and while it was totally different it was still a very good version and I am glad he did it.
August 3, 2014 at 5:28 am
The first part of Layla is OK but the end is a whining, incoherent mess and just goes on forever.
Anybody who thinks this is good doesn’t have good taste in music. There are too many people, especially music critics, who think music can be good even if it doesn’t sound good.
Every time I’ve bought a record because I read a review I have been disappointed.
What Led Zepellin, Guns ‘n Roses, Kiss, and the like produce is bad noise which can be called music but it’s actually just ugly. There are folks out there that do something similar but actually sound good: AC/DC, ZZ Top, Def Leppard, etc.
If you don’t get the difference then you don’t like music, you just think you do because everybody else likes what’s out there.
There are people in the world who are so desperate and insecure that they will endorse any kind of idiocy so they can pretend that they fit in.
Rap “music” is the epitome of this pathetic world. This is just like Joan Baez during the Vietnam War. She was 100 % behind the anti-war movement. Unless it actually cost her something.
Jay-z, mnm, clown posse. Seriously?
These people are the worst kind of losers in the world. Pretense of social conscience and justice and guilty of the most miserable exploitation of their constituency.
Jay-Z: Jugular raZr,
Xtreme Clown Posse: Jugaloo: Jerkwater ugly grossout asshole losers of omniousness.
Please, we have Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys (thanks Brian), Talking Heads, Burt Bacharach, Frank Sinatra, Julie Andrews, The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady (Rex Harison; the whole musical goes beyond genius),
August 3, 2014 at 5:31 am
I saw Derek and the Dominoes at Suffolk County Community College on Long Island N.Y. in the fall of 1970. I’ve been a big fan of Clapton since his Yardbird days. Clapton had just left Cream and Blind Faith and when ‘Derek and the Dominoes’ was formed Clapton wanted to originally be anonymous within the band. He was tired of being the center of attention. That’s why his name isn’t prominent in the bands name or on the album. I believe that’s why the sales of the album were a bit off early on. Unless you followed Clapton’s career closely at the time many people didn’t realize he was part of Derek and the Dominoes or that Duane Allman was such an important part of the recording. Some 40+ yrs later it’s hard to find a rock and roll fan that’s not familiar with Layla.
August 3, 2014 at 7:11 am
Bought it first day of release. Saw them in Rider College, NJ. Their first show in the us. Still have the record, plays well. Also have on cd. Would love to get a copy of dvd-a mix. In my top 10 of all times. Great songs, performances, great artist.
September 8, 2015 at 1:45 am
Thank You Tom. I was at Rider when they played. No one believed their first performance in the US was at Rider. Thanks for confirming it.
August 22, 2017 at 7:13 pm
Hey Joe & Tom. I’m writing a biography on Derek and the Dominos and I’m looking to talk to people who saw them live. Would you mind sending me an e-mail?
August 3, 2014 at 7:43 am
Great album. Released in 72 re released in 82 then revamped unplugged in 92.That is the sign of a great song. Don’t recall any other artist achieving the same
August 3, 2014 at 11:03 am
Has to be my favorite album of all time ! Have it on CD too ! I never ever get tired of listening to the arrangements and vocal cords. Not saying but I feel the radio stations forget that Layla is only one of many great song in this album.
March 3, 2015 at 8:27 pm
While stationed in Pearl Harbor in 1970, we learned from KPOI-FM that “LAOALS” was going to be released, featuring EC. Picked up the double LP the day it was released & took it back to our “sailor shack” for review. Having seen EC with Cream & Blind Faith the previous 2 years, we were “mad” for this new release. Nothing kicked in until “Keep On Growing”, unleashing the hounds at 2:20. Yeah, it wasn’t “Crossroads” or even “Presence of the Lord”, but it had the sound of a thousand guitars. We grabbed tickets for their upcoming concert at the HIC, but sadly, Eric’s Mom passed away and they cancelled, never to return. When “Live at the Fillmore” came out, I couldn’t get enough of “Got to Get Better…”, followed by the 1st “Crossroads” LP with “Evil” & “Snake Lake Blues”. That band had become a proper mess. But, to this day, LAOALS remains in my rotation – iTunes, car set, etc. Let’s see. Desert island LP – LAOALS, Electric Ladyland,.. Hard to chose just one.
March 3, 2015 at 8:41 pm
What a treat, reading all the replies, agree with 99% of them. Thank you, uDiscover,
for remembering and posting.
March 4, 2015 at 10:58 am
Had the 8-track for my Cougar XR7..flying down the ol’ Dan Ryan & The World was MY Oyster!!!
they just don’t write ’em like that any more..
March 5, 2015 at 4:11 am
I remember listening to this when it was first released and just being blown away by how good it was. So good that I took it to school to share it in an art class with a very progressive teacher. The only track I didn’t get at the time was “Thorn Tree in the Garden” that another ten years and a broken heart. This album stands as the greatest of all time. I still listen to it cruisin’ down the road on my iPod a far cry from the eight tracks of my youth.
March 6, 2015 at 6:59 pm
Have had the master for this work for over 10 years now. It’s amazing how much of Duanne Allman’s work, was cut out of the original cutting ,,along with the cuttings afterwards. I can only think the reason was, that management , didn’t want Clapton over shadowed. Allman’s work was incredible in the original cutting,,but more so , if you can get a chance to hear from the master cut.
Picked this work out in the spring of 72,,along with Eat A Peach and Live at the Filmore,,was the greatest fan of Clapton,,until I got to see Allman live on 2 occasions in 71…RIP Duane Allman..best blues and jazz player there ever was in my book
May 26, 2015 at 5:16 am
In the early 70’s I was living in Oak Park, Sacramento in a crash pad with by brother and some other dudes. I drove everybody crazy with the Allman Bros., Cream, Clapton, then Layla over and over. But I owned the record player, so I was in control until someone took the stylus. Saw Clapton with Delaney and Bonnie. Dallas Pop Festival 1969 and Derek and the Dominoes in Sacramento (Memorial Auditorium) late 70 early 71 with a long, beautiful Layla. those were the days, yes they were.
September 6, 2015 at 1:40 am
The Layla double LP really showcased Clapton emerging song writing talents and his infatuation with Patti Harrison more then anything else. This was his official shedding of his Gibson Marshall image as he recorded this record with a champ and a pignose?
I was at the fillmore show and Eric played his ass off. His Sam and Dave style back and forth singing with Bobby Whitlock was so soulful . So I chalk the whole record up as part of ECs journey to being the survivor he is today
September 6, 2015 at 4:39 am
Duane Allman was integral in the album, and he seldom got credit for it. The signature lick for Layla is Duane. He made the great songs on the album exceptional. His absence on live Derek and the Dominoes shows what Duane contributed.
September 6, 2015 at 7:14 am
Still have my original vinyl copy. Perhaps my favorite song on it is “Thorn Tree in the Garden” by Bobby Whitlock. Real pretty ballad.
September 25, 2015 at 6:26 pm
Probably the most memorable Clapton albums. Heard “Layla” single for first time in April 1972.
My daughter born in 1995 is named “Layla” and my son “Derek” was born in 1987…enough said.
September 26, 2015 at 4:31 am
I was ten when this song came on the radio. I loved it, my “favorite song” for a long time. Many years later I learned the story behind it. And I didn’t know of the pianist at end of song or what happened to him until reading the replies here. It’s a great song.
September 28, 2015 at 5:37 pm
“Layla” has been in my personal top 15 records since it first came out. It is the crowning glory of blues rock up to that time and remains one of Clapton’s highest achievments. The songs were varied. His voice came inot its own, even more so than his first solo album. I loved the gospel, rock & roll and country influences brought in by Whitlock. And as a rhythm section, Radle and Gordon couldn’t be topped. It is a shame they only worked together on a few things (like Leon Russell, Delaney & Bonnie and Joe Cocker). Radle kept the bottom percolating nicely in both steady and busy fashions. Jim Gordon was such a tasty player. His fills were so tight– and always served the song. The jams were another thing– where I always felt he and Radle led the charge as much as Clapton did. Having Duane Allman involved was just surpeme icing on the proverbial cake.
March 6, 2016 at 8:58 pm
This album is one of my favorites by Eric. I especially love “Layla”.
As for comparing this album to what occurred with Cream, I realize some people might and did do this but I would want to remain open minded to a work’s value of its own rather than expect something similar to what came before.
Every time I listen to an album for the first time I hope it will be something to draw me in and surprise me regardless of whether I know the artist or not. If an artist I know does similar work to what they’ve already produced then they do run a risk of disappointing me though I understand why an artist might decide to record what they do whether it is new and different or similar to previous recordings.
For example, Survivor’s albums are in some ways similar – there is the “Survivor” sound and method of writing songs. Usually there is some change between albums though so each album sounds different from the one before.
Another example is Boston. The band’s first two albums are arguably their best. Their third one is different from the first two and I like it but I like the first two better for several reasons such as the over all sound of the album, the lyrics and the subject of the songs.
The next albums by Boston ranged from interesting to disappointing for different reasons. Walk On was a bit disappointing for the lyrics and the over all sound though I initially was pleased to have a new album from the band.
When their Greatest Hits album was released, I was impressed by their version of Star Spangled Banner. The most recent of their albums that I bought, I liked for the first few listens but it didn’t really hold my interest.
Another example is Jim Peterik who has been with The Ides of March, his own band, then Survivor, returning to The Ides, starting World Stage, Pride of Lions etc. He always seems to be very creative, though his albums are not always easy to find.
I took a chance on one of his latest efforts, a team up with Marc Scherer, and was quite impressed by it and remain so. I think it has been compared to his work with Survivor but I would disagree with such a comparison, even if there is a similar sound.
To me, “Risk Everything” (Jim Peterik and Marc Scherer), is different than anything I’ve heard recently or in the past – it has familiar and comforting aspects to it but I’d say it is an adventurous album.
March 6, 2016 at 10:50 pm
Eric Clapton is the best blues/rock guitarist of his time and Layla is great no matter how he plays it. With Allman it was best ever. The stories are great. I was there with my musician buddies listening and talking about them all. Did the Filmore West, The Wintergreen, Sacramento Memorial was there to hear EC and DA play. (Only Wintergreen for DA). Always grieved over DA missing guitar on that song, but I love EC so much doesn’t matter anymore. Layla is best.
March 7, 2016 at 12:35 pm
This is the first non Allman Brothers album that I’d heard with Duane Allman on it that I had known. I then started buying up all his music that I could find. My other favorite is Herbert Mann’s Push Push. I know I wore that album out!
March 7, 2016 at 6:13 pm
It being at #117 on Rolling Stone’s list of Best 500 albums is not because it deserves to be that low, but rather it is a testament to just how much good music there was back in the day.
March 8, 2016 at 1:43 am
Someone once told me that “Layla” was Clapton’s nickname for Patti Boyd, George Harrison’s ex…I don’t know if it’s true or not
March 8, 2016 at 7:15 am
An iconic masterpiece.Two superstar guitarists just feeding off each other.If I live to be 100,I will be listening to this album on my deathbed.Already told my kids to have it near me when that day comes.
March 15, 2016 at 10:23 am
Eric has sang me to sleep at night for over 45 years. Hope he will for many years to come.
May 14, 2016 at 12:02 am
In articles, blogs, posts etc about Clapton’s guitar work, I never hear mention of Clapton’s solo on “Have You Ever Loved a Woman”. It is my favorite Clapton solo period- it’s simply stunning. I’ve heard faster, cleaner, more technical blues playing, even from Clapton himself but never better. The raw emotion in his playing is unequaled to my ears. Nothing like an inspired Clapton and he clearly is that all over this album.
Second favorite Clapton solo? Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad from the original release of DEREK and the Dominoes In Concert. Never hear that solo mentioned either
May 14, 2016 at 4:52 am
Remember the first time I heard this album, I was 14 yrs. old and was just blown away by how good it was with the exception of ‘Thorn tree in the Garden’. That changed after I had my heart broken many years later. This stands as one of rocks best if not the best album of our generation. I still listen to this album not from nostalgia but it is still relevant today is the day it was released.
August 12, 2016 at 9:43 pm
Always hear that “there is good music today you just have to listen” BULL$hit! An avid music lover of all genres and generations (of which I consider myself in this category) has no axe to grind with any music if it’s good, and I can say there is hardly any good, innovative music or artists today. 60s and 70s for whatever reason saw an explosion of innovators and phenomenal music. NON EXISTENT TODAY. OK that’s a bit exaggerated there are some talented innovated artists but far and few between. 500 years from now these artists (Clapton, Stones, Beatles,Elvis, Sinatra list is endless) will still be remembered and listened to. I can’t think of too many of today’s artist that will be.
December 8, 2016 at 6:11 am
F… CLAPTON, DID NOT GIVE CREDIT TO COOLIAGE, DISGRACE AS AN ARTIST
August 12, 2017 at 1:52 am
August 12, 2017 at 4:36 am
It’s not that i’m old, your music does suck , & pull up your pants
March 7, 2018 at 10:14 am
Dianne Anderson. Who do you think you are that you agreeing to sleep with someone (almost 70 y/o or not) is such a treat? As someone 74 y/o I would not automatically agree with your proposal. You don’t even send a picture.
December 1, 2019 at 5:47 am
In 1988 I was a sophomore in high school. August just came out a couple years earlier from Eric Clapton and I was like “What is this?!!”
Remember the Michelob commercial??
Anyway, I got an Education on Clapton and ..”Clapton is God” from earlier years….
When I got his album after hearing John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, to Cream, then Blind Faith…to Derick and the Dominoes I was HOOKED!!!!
From Bell Bottom Blues, to Layla and “ A thorn Tree in my Garden”..
What a Revelation for a 14 year old kid to hear this kind of Music!!!!
What can I say???!!! One of my Favorite Albums of All Time. AMAZING The gift that keeps on Giving……
February 17, 2020 at 11:41 pm
There have been a few slight remarks made about Rita Coolidge here. It’s a sign of the sexism of the times that Jim Gordon took songwriting credit for Rita’s contribution. Coolidge talks frankly and passionately in her memoir “Delta Lady” about loosing the song writing credit she rightfully should have shared with Clapton and Gordon. Going up against Clapton’s management, the Stigwood Organization, would have been pointless and possibly detrimental to her career.
Curiously, Coolidge had the original concept for “Superstar”, which Delaney and Bonnie recorded and The Carpenters took on to a massive hit single. Coolidge, once again, received no credit for her contribution to a major song.
September 5, 2020 at 6:21 pm
Whenever I went to the Student Union during school year 1972-73 I never waited more than 15 minutes before this song came up on the juke box…