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Layla
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Layla

"Layla" is the title track on the Derek and the Dominos album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. It is one of rock music's definitive love songs.

The song was inspired by a Persian love story, The Story of Layla/Leily and Majnun, by Nizami. When he wrote "Layla", Derek and the Dominos leader Eric Clapton had recently been given a copy by a friend, Ian Dallas, who was in the process of becoming a Muslim.

At the time, Clapton was desperately in love with Pattie Boyd, then the wife of his good friend, ex-Beatle George Harrison. Nizami's tale, about a moon-princess who was married off by her father to someone other than the man who was desperately in love with her, resulting in his madness (in Arabic, Majnun means "madman"), struck a deep chord with Clapton.

"Layla" was the result - a powerful and moving statement of unrequited love for Boyd-Harrison, with an immediately recognisable guitar riff, which always remains a vivid memory for anyone who has heard it.

Another song from that album, "I Am Yours", actually sets some of Nizami's words to music.

Further reading