Graham Nash Reveals The Real Genius Behind Eric Clapton’s Greatest Hit
Legendary rock singer-songwriter Graham Nash recently shed light on Rita Coolidge, the true genius behind one of the most iconic songs in rock history, Eric Clapton‘s ‘Layla.’ Nash commented on the track that was originally recorded with Clapton’s band Derek and the Dominos during his appearance on the Broken Record Podcast, hosted by renowned producer Rick Rubin.
Nash and Coolidge, both accomplished musicians in their own right, were in a relationship for a couple of years in the 1970s. During their time together, Nash came to a heartwrenching revelation about the track. He shared with Rubin that Rita was the real mastermind behind the song‘s evocative piano coda until it wasn’t, as her contributions were erased by her then-boyfriend, drummer Jim Gordon.
In her 2016 memoir, ‘Delta Lady,’ Rita Coolidge opened up about her experiences as a musician and songwriter, including her involvement in the creation of Eric Clapton’s ‘Layla.’ Coolidge revealed that she was the co-writer of the song and even detailed how she and then-boyfriend Jim Gordon had composed the track together, only for Gordon to take full credit after their relationship ended.
Graham Nash’s words about the track ‘Layla’ read:
“I spent a couple of years with Rita Coolidge, and Rita was… she was a writer, and she actually wrote that strange piano change in ‘Layla,’ and unfortunately, her boyfriend Jim Gordon said he’d written it. Can you imagine how much money Rita could have made from ‘Layla?'”
Rita Coolidge’s words in her memoir ‘Delta Lady’ about writing ‘Layla’ read:
“We [Me and Jim Gordon] played the song for Eric Clapton in England. I remember sitting at the piano in Olympic Studios while Eric listened to me play it. Jim and I left a cassette of the demo, hoping that he might cover it.
What they had clearly done was take the song Jim and I had written, jettison the lyrics, and tack it to the end of Eric’s song. It was almost the same.”
Nash’s recent confirmation of Rita Coolidge’s account during his appearance on the Broken Record Podcast further solidifies her position as the true creator of the piano coda in ‘Layla.’ This revelation seems to underscore the importance of acknowledging and celebrating the music industry’s unsung heroes.