It’s “Layla,” of course, Eric Clapton’s dithyramb for Patti Boyd Harrison, the wife of his friend George Harrison. It’s the human equivalent of the peacock’s tail. Clapton eventually won her, but the romance was short lived. So sad.
As we all agree, the Beatles were the greatest rock group ever, but they never produced a rocker like this one. And here’s the best live performance on the interwebz, from a Madison Square Garden concert in 1999 (there used to be a better one, but YouTube removed it). The solo that begins at 2:57 shows why Clapton deserves his mythic status. (I don’t like the slow second half.)
And here’s a performance from (I estimate) 20 years earlier. As Clapton aged, his live performances of Layla became slower and more expansive:
When Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and their autotuned ilk are tiny footnotes (if that) in the history of rock, they’ll still be playing Clapton on the oldies stations.
As always, you are free to disparage this one and substitute your own, but please—no Rolling Stones.
Fig. 1. Layla.
UPDATE: This just in from a Friend of the Website (used with permission):
I am watching the guitar solo now. London subways were once covered with graffiti “Clapton is God,” an affirmation that both New Atheists and Theists not overly concerned about blasphemy can jointly celebrate.
Okay, he’s “Uncle Karl” again. I’m not holding my breath until Albert Mohler chimes in.