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Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs
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Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs

Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs
Album by Derek and the Dominos
Released December, 1970
Recorded August-September 1970, at Criteria Studios, Miami
Genre Rock music
Length 76 min 43 sec

Record label PolyGram Records
Producer Tom Dowd
Professional reviews
Rolling Stone 5 stars out of 5 review
Allmusic.com 5 stars out of 5 review
Derek and the Dominos Chronology
Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs
(1970)
In Concert
(1973)

Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs is a rock music album by Eric Clapton, recording with the group Derek and the Dominos. It is now consistently regarded as one of the greatest rock'n'roll albums ever [1], and is also considered to be one of the high points in Clapton's career.

It was released in December of 1970 (see 1970 in music); critical reception at the time of its release was mixed, and it was not a great sales success, either. It peaked at #16 on Billboard's Pop Albums chart, and in Britain it astonishingly never made the charts at all!

Producer Tom Dowd, who as one of the best producers of the rock field produced many other classic albums, said of it that he "felt it was the best .. album I'd been involved with since The Genius of Ray Charles", later noted his disappointment at the lack of acclaim accorded to it when it was released.

He was later mollified by the acclaim and popularity it slowly gathered; Gene Santoro later said of it that it was "a pivotal album in rock history" which "remains a brilliant monument to its time".

Table of contents
1 Background
2 Duane Allman joins
3 Recording the album
4 Extended re-release
5 Further reading
6 External link
7 Track listings
8 Track listing - Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs
9 Personnel
10 Personnel - Special Guests
11 Personnel - Production (Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs)
12 Personnel - Production (The Layla Sessions)

Background

The group which created Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs grew out of Clapton's frustration with the hype associated with the supergroupss Cream, and then the short-lived Blind Faith. After their dissolution, he joined Delaney and Bonnie and Friends, whom he had come to know while they were the opening act for Blind Faith, for a British tour.

After that band also split up, a Delaney and Bonnie alumnus, Bobby Whitlock, joined up with Clapton; the two spent some months writing a number of songs "just to have something to play", as Whitlock put it. These songs would later make up the bulk of the material on Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.

After a tour with Joe Cocker, some more of the personnel from Delaney and Bonnie joined up with Clapton; he attempted to avoid the limelight with the bland name Derek and the Dominos, and booked a British tour of small clubs. After the tour, they headed for Criteria Studios in Miami to record an album - which turned out to be Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.

The other source for the album was the pain of Clapton's personal life: he had fallen hopelessly, desperately in love with Pattie Boyd, at that point the wife of his good friend, ex-Beatle George Harrison. Not even heroin, which Clapton was becoming a heavy user of, could dull the pain. Dave Marsh, in the 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."

Duane Allman joins

One further critical element needed to make Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs a classic had yet to be added, and shortly after the band went into the studio and started work, it arrived. Clapton had long admired the work of Duane Allman, and wanted to meet him; Duane felt the same way about Clapton. Dowd, as a producer for both, was in a position to make it happen.

When Clapton heard from Dowd that the Allman Brothers were due to play in Miami, he insisted on going to see their show. He was allowed to sit at the front of the stage, and made his way out while Duane had his eyes closed, playing a solo. Duane was so shocked when he opened his eyes to find the great Eric Clapton sitting at his feet that he stopped playing!

After the show, the two returned to the studio and formed a deep bond quite literally overnight; Dowd reported that they "were trading licks, they were swapping guitars, they were talking shop and information and having a ball - no holds barred, just admiration for each other's technique and facility" [1]. Although the original concept was that "I was just going to play on one or two", Duane said, the result was that as the recording of the album progressed, he wound up contributing to most of the tracks on Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, even the ones on which work had already started - and lifting everyone's work onto a higher plane. "He brought out the best in all of us", said Whitlock.

Recording the album

With Allman on board, the album quickly came together. Most of the songs were products of Clapton and Whitlock's writing co-operation, but a number of classics were included as well, including "Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out", "Have You Ever Loved A Woman", and "Key To The Highway".

The last of these was a pure accident - the band heard an artist in another room at the studio doing the song, liked it, and spontaneously started playing it. The startled Dowd heard what was happening, and quickly told the engineers to start the tape running - which is why that song fades in in the middle on the album!

Also included was the classic Jimi Hendrix blues "Little Wing", perhaps by way of a tribute to Hendrix, who had died shortly before, to the great distress of Clapton (who said he had "this terrible, lonely feeling" after Jimi's death).

The long lyrical piano coda which forms the second half of the version of the title track, "Layla", on the album was composed independently by Jim Gordon, who had to be convinced to allow the piece to be added to "Layla". It remains one of the most widely played rock songs of the 1970s.

Extended re-release

To mark the twentieth anniversary of the release, an extended version of the material was released under the title The Layla Sessions in 1990. One disc in the set included all the songs of the original release, re-mixed to almost exactly the same sound as the original (the most significant change being to improve the stereo separation). Other discs included a number of jam sessions, out-takes of some of the songs, and some previously un-released tracks ("Mean Old World", "It Hurts Me Too", and "Tender Love").

Further reading

External link

Track listings

Track listing - Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs

  1. "I Looked Away" (Clapton/Whitlock) - 3:05
  2. "Bell Bottom Blues" (Clapton) - 5:02
  3. "Keep On Growing" (Clapton/Whitlock) - 6:21
  4. "Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out" (Cox) - 4:57
  5. "I Am Yours" (Clapton/Nizami) - 3:34
  6. "Anyday" (Clapton/Whitlock) - 6:35
  7. "Key To The Highway" (Segar/Broozny) - 9:40
  8. "Tell The Truth" (Clapton/Whitlock) - 6:39
  9. "Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad?" (Clapton/Whitlock) - 4:41
  10. "Have You Ever Loved A Woman" (Myles) - 6:52
  11. "Little Wing" (Hendrix) - 5:33
  12. "It's Too Late" (Willis) - 3:47
  13. "Layla" (Clapton/Gordon) - 7:04
  14. "Thorn Tree In The Garden" (Whitlock) - 2:53

Personnel

Personnel - Special Guests

Personnel - Production (Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs)

Personnel - Production (The Layla Sessions)