When Eric Clapton Struggled To Sing In Front Of George Harrison
Although the relationship between the guitarist Eric Clapton and the Beatles icon George Harrison was rocky at times, they managed to remain close friends for decades. The two names had many things in common, which strengthened their bond over the years. However, when Clapton fell in love with George’s then-wife, Pattie Boyd, it significantly impacted their friendship.
The guitarist was always honest with Harrison, so his love for Boyd was no secret. This unexpected confession of Clapton resulted in Pattie leaving George for the guitarist. Surprisingly enough, this didn’t destroy their friendship. In later years, the two musicians kept in touch with each other until Harrison’s passing in 2001.
This issue may not have ended their relationship, but it still came up every now and then. The song ‘Layla,’ written by Clapton for Pattie Boyd, was one thing that caused some cold moments between them. Eric Clapton once disclosed how he felt while performing ‘Layla’ if the Beatle was in the audience.
What Did Eric Clapton Say About ‘Layla’ And Its Impact On His Relationship With Harrison?
Eric Clapton chose the best way he knew to express his feeling for Pattie Boyd by channeling them into his music. The guitarist’s hit song ‘Layla’ reflected his strong emotions for Boyd, even though she was married to his close friend, George Harrison. The audience immediately embraced the track, and it became one of Clapton’s signature songs within years, so it is also an essential part of the musician’s live shows.
In a 1991 interview with Rolling Stone, Eric Clapton initially opened up about his long-term friendship with Harrison and then whether ‘Layla’ hurt it. The guitarist said they had a complicated relationship that sometimes put them at odds. However, on the other hand, they had always been supportive of each other. Then, his relationship with Pattie Boyd was mentioned somewhere in any conversation.
Even though it was always on the agenda between the two, there was never a period when they didn’t talk. Then, the interviewer reminded the guitarist of his then-upcoming tour with George Harrison. In December 1991, Harrison made his first concert appearance since 1974 by joining Clapton for a tour of Japan.
When asked whether he would play ‘Layla’ on tour, the musician revealed that it was always a ‘bone of contention‘ between them. Apparently, it felt weird when he played it while George was around since he didn’t know what went through his mind. Yet, Clapton still left the door open and said it had become a joke between him and Harrison. However, the song eventually couldn’t find a place for itself on the setlist of their twelve concerts together.
Eric Clapton’s words on performing ‘Layla’ on the shows with Harrison:
“That’s always been a bone of contention. Every time I play it, and he’s in the audience, I’ve always wondered what the hell goes through his mind. But I don’t know; we could play it. We’ve got a sense of humor about it.”
You can listen to a live version of Clapton’s popular song below.