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Single by Derek and the Dominos
from the album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs
Released Originally 1970, as a single in 1971 and 1972
Format Vinyl album
Recorded Criteria Studios, Miami, August–September 1970
Genre Blues-rock
Length 7:02 – 7:11[1]
2:43 (1971 single version)
Label Atco (US), RSO, Polydor
Writer(s) Eric Clapton/Jim Gordon
Producer Tom Dowd
Music sample

"Layla" is a song by blues-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,[2] 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.[3] 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", and the acoustic version won the 1993 Grammy Award for Best Rock Song.



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 close 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."[4]

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[4] 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.[5]

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.

Writing and recording

After the breakup of Cream, Clapton tried his hand with several groups, including Blind Faith and the 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.[6]

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.[7] 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."[8] 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",[9] saying "There are my principles, in one form or another."[7]

Clapton originally wrote "Layla" as a ballad, with lyrics describing his unrequited love for Pattie Boyd,[8] but the song became a "rocker" when Allman reportedly composed the song's signature riff,[8] 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.[8]

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.[6] "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.[8] After Dowd spliced the two movements together,[8] "Layla" was complete.


The opening five bars to the guitar part of "Layla"

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,[10] 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.[11] 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!"[7]

The second movement, Jim Gordon's contribution, is commonly referred to as the "piano coda."[12] 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.[8]

As Clapton commented on his signature song:[13]

'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."[14]

Beyond the original album

The album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs opened to lackluster sales (the album never reached the charts in Britain), possibly in part because Clapton's name was found only on the back cover.[3] In addition, the song's length proved prohibitive for radio airplay;[3] 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.

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. In 1982 "Layla" was re-released as a single in the UK and peaked at #4.

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."[3] Marsh listed "Layla" at #156 in his The heart of rock & soul: the 1001 greatest singles ever made.[15]

In May 1980, it was covered by the London Symphony Orchestra, but without the lyrics, being recorded to EMI Studio One, Abbey Road, London.[16]. A similar version has also been performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra[17].

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.[2] This version climbed to #12 on the U.S. pop chart but failed to chart in Britain. In 1992, it won the Grammy Award for Best Rock Song, beating out "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana, one of the ten biggest upsets in Grammy history, according to Entertainment Weekly.[18] 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.[citation needed]

In 2003, 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 Allman's guitar parts during the coda. The performances were seen as a tribute not only to Allman, but also to producer Tom Dowd, who had died the previous year.[19]

On 19 May 2007, at a 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.[20] The remake of "Layla" is featured on Bobby Whitlock and Coco Carmel's album Lovers (2008).

Personnel (Unplugged version)


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".[21] "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.



  • Ray Coleman, Clapton! (Warner Books, 1985) pp. 179–192
  • Jan Reid, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs by Derek and the Dominos (Rock of Ages, 2007)


  1. ^ The exact time given varies depending on the source; Allmusic and the CD give 7:02, whereas the vinyl album gives 7:10. This may be due to remastering.
  2. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Song Review." Retrieved on June 22, 2005.
  3. ^ a b c d Paul Gambaccini et al. Derek and the Dominoes (sic) - Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. Accessed on 6 July 2005.
  4. ^ a b Clapton, Eric. Clapton: The Autobiography. 2007: Broadway Books, New York.
  5. ^ Patterson, Jean. "Crazy About "Layla":Eric Clapton Song Inspired by Nizami, 12th century Azerbaijani Poet". 1998, Azerbaijan International. Retrieved on October 9, 2006.
  6. ^ a b Williamson, Nigel. Derek and The Dominos - Layla & Other Assorted... Retrieved on June 22, 2005.
  7. ^ a b c Moormann, Mark. Tom Dowd and the Language of Music. 2003, Language of Music Films.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g "100 Greatest Guitar Solos: 14.) Layla (Eric Clapton, Duane Allman)". Guitar World. 2008-10-28. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  9. ^ Halsey, Derek. Tom Dowd: The Legendary Producer Dies on October 27, 2002. Retrieved October 9, 2006.
  10. ^ Perrin, Jeff. The Best of Eric Clapton - Signature Licks / A Step-by-Step Breakdown of His Playing Technique. Hal Leonard, 1996.
  11. ^ Klaassen, Gerd. Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs Retrieved on October 1, 2007.
  12. ^ Sold on Song Top 100: Layla. Retrieved on October 12, 2006.
  13. ^ Hrano, Mike. Eric Clapton- The Mike Hrano Interview. Retrieved on July 6, 2005.
  14. ^ Leopold, Todd. Harrison, Clapton, and their muse. CNN, February 3, 2005. Retrieved on October 9, 2006.
  15. ^ Marsh, Dave (1999). The heart of rock & soul: the 1001 greatest singles ever made. DaCapo Press. pp. 109–10. ISBN 9780306809019. 
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^
  18. ^ Endelman, Michael (2007). "Grammy's 10 Biggest Upsets" (http).,,1567466_20010834_20010795_1,00.html. Retrieved 2007-02-13. 
  19. ^ The Allman Brothers Band in Concert: Beacon Theatre 2003. Retrieved on November 4, 2006
  20. ^ Road To Austin Review. Retrieved on 25 May 2007
  21. ^ The Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Retrieved on September 9, 2006

External links


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Proper noun




  1. A female given name, variant of Leila.


  • Anagrams of aally
  • allay

Strategy wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From StrategyWiki, the free strategy guide and walkthrough wiki

Box artwork for Layla.
Developer(s) DB Soft
Publisher(s) DB Soft
Japanese title レイラ
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Action
System(s) Famicom

Layla (レイラ) is a game for the Famicom released by DB Soft in 1986. Advertised as a "Maze Action Game", it is a side scrolling action game in which the player must progress through 8 asteroid fortresses, collecting items from crates, passwords, and defeating a boss before traveling on to the next asteroid. A bonus shooting round is presented to the player between each asteroid. The game was never released outside of Japan, or re-released on any system.

The fortresses are primarily composed of linear hallways separated from one another by a series of elevator shafts. At first, the fortresses are very linear, with each elevator taking you to the corresponding location that you would expect it to. Later on, the fortresses tend to get more complicated, with elevators jumping several levels, and even distances at a time. Enemies fill the hallways and can usually be shot down and transformed into life restoring food. Ultimately, Layla must rescue her companion Elise, and collect all of the password disks stolen by a malevolent doctor.

Table of Contents

Simple English

For the WWE diva, see Layla El

Layla is a song by Derek and the Dominos. The song first appeared on the album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. This song clocks in at 7 minutes and 4 seconds, and it is split into two sections. The first section has the unmistakable guitar riff, which has two parts to it. The first part is played on a Brownie guitar by Eric Clapton. The next part that comes in is played on a Gibson Les Paul by Duane Allman. Clapton also sings the lead vocals. Bobby Whitlock sings the backup vocals, and he plays the keyboard. Carl Radle plays the bass, and Jim Gordon plays the drums. He plays the piano part in the second segment, and Clapton and Allman both play slide guitar during the piano exit part. Bobby Whitlock plays an acoustic guitar, which augments the piano. While Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" builds from a quiet introduction to a hard rock finale, "Layla" does pretty much the opposite.

This song was dedicated to Pattie Boyd, who was already married to George Harrison. The lyrics have something to do with unrequited love. The song was also named after a fictional character in a movie.

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