Something in the way she moves
Patty was the beautiful woman in London when she married George Harrison, who this week will mark 20 years since his death.
His good friend Eric Clapton fell madly in love with her.
After George slept with Ringo's wife, Patty left him for Eric, but it got another woman pregnant.
Get the big rock'n'roll telenovela
Living Room Fellow
Friday, 26 November 2021, 06:56 Updated: 07:26
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Once upon a time, in a faraway land, there was a great and revered sultan, rich as Korach, who ruled with kindness and great love over a number of Bedouin tribes.
As a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad, he was highly regarded, but despite all his wealth and power - he did not find his happiness in life, because the good God did not give him a son.
As he grew older and did better with his people, only a man with the desire to keep his name grew.
His good deeds did not go unnoticed by God, who finally gave him what he wanted.
The sultan's wish came true - he had an eldest son in his old age.
It is said that in all the history of the anniversaries of Arab nations no baby looked more beautiful, and when he was two weeks old he was given a name - Case.
As he grew older, he seemed to have touched the hand of God.
Happiness revolved around him, while his beauty and kindness were known far and wide.
His life was perfect in every sense - until he fell in love with Leila, and she fell in love with him.
"Romeo and Juliet of the Arab World."
Leila and Magnon, a 16th century painting (Photo: GettyImages)
Case and Layla's love story is one of the most famous and tragic in the history of all mankind, and it unfolds since the sixth century in several different versions throughout the East, from India and the Persian Gulf, through modern-day Turkey to the deserts of North Africa. Lord Byron called it "Romeo and Juliet of the Arab world," and not by chance. Case's love for Leila was so great that Case was given the nickname "Majnon" because his soul was preyed upon out of love. That obsessive love is also the one that made Leila's family want to keep her away from her lover. Leila's father forced her to marry another man, and she died heartbroken. Case fled to the desert, and continued to write her love songs until he was found dead, surrounded by a herd of wildlife, which formed his only connection to reality. Originally, there was some Muslim parable for adhering to the belief in Allah, but very quickly it became a symbol of loyalty and universal love. For centuries the legend has been worked on a number of platforms, including a comedy series, which is currently being shown on Netflix.
The most famous version of this tragic love story seems to have come in 1192, when the Persian poet Nazami published the ultimate (and downright secular) version of the love story, under the simple title: "Leila and Majnon".
Since then, according to Eastern scholars, at least 1,000 different translations of the poem have been published.
One of those translations, into English, found its way to London, where exactly the British musician Eric Clapton was working on new songs.
Clapton read the story with bated breath.
All the repressed traumas of his life erupted in him, and he realized that just like the magnum in the story, he too devotes his life to writing songs obsessively to an unattainable lover who marries another man.
The most beautiful woman in London.
Patty Boyd in 1964 (Photo: GettyImages, Woodner Questionnaire)
Clapton sat down, writing the most beautiful and personal song he had ever written: "Let's get the best out of the complicated situation, before I lose my sanity once and for all. Please do not say I have no chance, do not say my love is useless. Leila, you dropped me on "Knees. Leila, I beg my dear, please. Leila, please, dear, help me calm my troubled soul."
Thus, an Arabic folk tale from the sixth century AD became the basis of the largest love triangle in the history of rock'n'roll.
This is a story about a member of the Beatles who slept with the wife of one of the other members of the band.
It's a story about a huge musician with a wounded soul who slept with his best friend's wife.
This is a story about a relationship that ended in an unwanted pregnancy.
This is a story about the death of a three-year-old boy.
This is a story about redemption.
But first, this is the story of "Layla."
Let's start with the moment she was born.
She came to London at the age of 18, and straight became an international model.
Patty Boyd in 1964 (Photo: GettyImages, Michael Ward)
During her nine months of pregnancy, 19-year-old Diana Boyd was sure she was carrying a son in her womb. She decided to call him Michael. On March 17, 1944, a daughter was born to her. In the shadow of St. Patrick's Day celebrations, she decided to name her after the Christian saint - Patricia, or Patti for short.
Patty Boyd was born in Tonton, the capital of the county of Somerset in the south-west of England, but as the daughter of a pilot in the Royal British Air Force, her childhood years were spent around the world. As a toddler she moved with her family to Scotland, from where they moved to Africa, and then returned to England - then her parents also divorced, and remarried. At the age of 18 she decided to leave her mother's house, where she lived with her five brothers, and moved to London. In the big city she found herself working as an overlap in a luxury hairdresser. One of the customers at the barbershop spurred her to become a model, and as in fairy tales - it just happened.
Shortly after leaving her mother's home, Patty became one of the busiest models in the kingdom.
Quickly, job offers also came from France.
She has appeared on the covers of popular magazines, and also found herself in the fashion sections of reputed evening newspapers.
She was called "the most beautiful woman in London."
Fashion photographers lined up to work with her, and other models marked her as the inspiration for the ultimate up-to-date British look: long, straight hair, playful eyes and short skirts.
The latest British look: long hair, playful eyes and short skirts.
Patty Boyd in 1964 (Photo: GettyImages, Michael Ward)
In 1964, when she was already 20, Patty was an international star, winning coveted campaigns. In one of those campaigns, she worked with Jewish director Dick Lester on a commercial video. Lester, like any man who would meet Patty in those days, fell in love with her - and offered her to join a new project on which he had begun work. A feature film with four members of the Beatles. Boyd flowed. At that time the film was not yet there, but it was later called "Night of a grueling day".
On March 2, 1964 Boyd arrived at the train station in Paddington, and sat down inside the train car that formed the set of the photographs. In the film she can be seen sitting in a cell dressed as a schoolgirl, with Paul McCartney next to her, so she also says the only word given to her in the script: "prisoners." But with all due respect to Patti's film premiere, the story of that day came at a time when the cameras were not filming: George Harrison, the "shy void" who passed away this week 20 years ago, fell in love with Patty at first sight.
During lunch (which was also held inside one of the train carriages), George sat down next to Patty, and offered her marriage. She laughed. After the ice broke, George invited her on a date. Much to his surprise, she refused, out of loyalty to a fashion photographer with whom she was dating at the time. When she told her friends that she refused to date one of the Beatles' friends, they persuaded her to dump the boyfriend and agree to Harrison's courtship offer. She heard their advice. Within a month they had become the most famous couple in England, and paparazzi photographers chased after them every time they tried to date. In less than two years they were married in a modest ceremony. Paul McCartney was George's best man. Ringo and John were not present at the ceremony.
At a news conference the day after, Harrison explained that they had chosen to have a small wedding for fear the ceremony would turn into a media circus.
Boyd, who later said she suppressed the press conference, was asked by one of the cheeky journalists how many children they plan to have.
Patty, a member of a family with many children, said she thinks they will have three children.
In retrospect we know she was wrong.
Patty never got pregnant.
In an interview with the Daily Mail in 2019, she said that she always had a fantasy of being a mother.
"Once I realized that this wonderful thing was not going to happen to me, it was a bitter pill that was hard to swallow," she said honestly.
Patty and George at the press conference they held the day after their modest wedding (Photo: GettyImages)
Few in the world can say that they were a muse for a Beatles song. Patty Boyd was the inspiration for at least five such songs. "I Need You" George wrote about her before they got married, later he also wrote about her "If I Needed Someone", "Love You To" and "For You Blue". But the highlight of course was the song "Something", one of the most popular songs in the Beatles' catalog. Frank Sinatra, one who understands a thing or two about romance, performed the song regularly at concerts, and later claimed that it was the most beautiful love song ever written.
But beyond the direct influence on George's songs, Patty also indirectly influenced the band's artistic direction in its creative peak. Every average Beatles fan knows the story of the band members' journey to India after being exposed to Transcendental Meditation. Everyone also knows the product of this journey: the mythical "white album". On the other hand, few remember that the first to expose the band members to meditation and Mahrishi was Patti Boyd. In August 1967 she happened to read an ad in a newspaper inviting people interested in spiritual guidance to a meditation session. She went with a friend, and later took George with her to another meeting. The sequel is already known, half a year later and the four Beatles members took off together for India and returned with dozens of new songs.
One of those songs was "While My Guitar Gently Weeps". While recording the song at Abbey Road Studios, George was furious that the rest of the band members were not taking his new song seriously. In a capricious decision, he decided to travel to Eric Clapton, who was already recognized as the "guitar god" of London. George offered Clapton to record the song with him, and the latter flatly refused. "I can not do that," he explained to George simply, "no one plays Beatles songs except the Beatles." To everyone's delight, Clapton finally agreed, and came with George to the studio, which made the rest of the conflicting band members work together in a more pleasant and professional manner, out of respect for the distinguished guest who came to the studio. It ended with one of the most invested sessions they have done since "Sergeant Pepper," which became one of the greatest songs the band has ever recorded. For legal reasons, Clapton did not receive credit on the Beatles' white album, but George returned an answer,When he contributed a guitar piece to the band's latest album "Krim". The line of credits states that the piece was performed by "The Mysterious Angel."
The Beatles in India.
From left to right: Ringo, Maureen, Linda, Paul, George and Patty (Photo: GettyImages)
At this point, Eric and George became best friends.
Clapton's girlfriend of three years, French model Charlotte Martin, also became a housemate of George and Patty, and the two couples used to go on vacations to exotic destinations abroad, to enjoy some anonymity. Patty felt that Clapton, like many men before him, was attracted to To her - but did not get excited about his flirtations, and chose not to cooperate with them.
Although she knew George was having an affair behind her back, Patty remained loyal to him. "I thought that's how my life was going to look like," she later explained, "George became more and more spiritual, and it was hard to communicate with him, and I still felt committed to him. I felt he was allowed to do my things forbidden." But Clapton's love became more and more obsessive, and flirtations became more and more frequent. "Do you know that someone has that penetrating look that lasts a little too long? So that's how it has been all along. And his whole look at me has felt longer and longer," Boyd described it in her autobiographical book.
"I knew it was wrong, George was my best friend," Clapton himself said in a 2019 documentary about him, "but my passion for her was compulsive. I never coveted anyone like that. Even though they were married, even though she was married. "She was not available - I still wanted her. And that's what scared me so much."
Concurrent with the obsession he developed towards his wife, Clapton began working with a number of friends (who would in the future become the band "Derek and the Dominos") on George's triple solo record, "All Things Must Pass".
The Beatles have become history.
McCartney and Lennon never worked again, but the Harrison-Clapton duo proved no less great potential, with one big star threatening to shatter the rare musical duo.
A rare musical combination.
From left to right: Maureen Starkey, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Patty Boyd and George Harrison (Photo: GettyImages)
One morning in late 1969, not long after the whole world had heard Something, the masterful love song written about her by her husband, Patty Boyd opened her mailbox and found a strange letter inside. "Dear L." Do you still have a place in my heart for me? If so, you must let me know. In fact, you must tell me how you feel anyway. Do not call, send a letter, it is much safer. Please do it, no matter what the answer. I can relax. With great love, A. "
Clapton went on to openly woo his best friend's wife, betraying his official girlfriend with another young woman in the background. When the latter decided to leave angrily back in Paris, he continued to frolic with women, but it did not seem to give him an ounce of pleasure. Patty heard all these stories directly from him, but did not judge him. She was among the only ones who understood Clapton's complicated psychology with the women in his life. Patty became one of his closest secret wives, and was among the only ones who knew the sad story of his life.
At age 9, Eric Clapton's father and mother told him the truth they had been hiding from him throughout his childhood: they are not his parents, but his grandparents. His real mother who abandoned him at birth moved to Canada and is now returning to England. "She's your real mother and you'll go live with her," the woman who raised him all his life as a mother told him. When they arrived to greet the mother at the Southampton harbor, they were surprised to find her with two children, Clapton's half-brother about whom he did not know. The children asked their mother with this child is their brother, and she answered them an absolute "no". At this point she also informed Eric that she did not intend to raise him and he would return to live with his grandparents. That day something broke in little Eric, and he lost faith in humans. Music was for him a refuge from the despairing humanity, and the blues was the instrument through which he managed to regulate his pain. Later heroin and alcohol will do the job no less well.
"Do not call, send a letter, it's much safer."
The anonymous letter that arrived in the Harrison family's mailbox (Photo: screenshot, YouTube)
Clapton has not really been able to connect with the women in his life.
He probably did not like them.
He knew something was broken in him.
Patty was the first woman in his life he trusted, which made his obsessive love for her even more extreme.
They used to meet occasionally, knowing George, but never crossed boundaries.
The meetings were platonic.
At one of those meetings, Patty came to him at an apartment in London to hear a new song he had written, claiming he was interested in her opinion.
Since they were good friends anyway, Patty did not suspect anything.
But then he played her a new ballad he had written called "Layla."
It was one of the best songs she's ever heard.
She did not need him to tell her she was the muse to sing.
It was clear from the front row that he was singing about her and her.
She was startled. She was afraid that anyone who heard the song would understand that he was talking about her. She was afraid George would understand. And on the other hand, it was the first time she had really been exposed to what was going on deep in Clapton's heart. It was not just a casual attraction. Patty felt she had never heard a song more exposed and passionate. And this is someone who just a year ago wrote something about The Beatles, yes? Patty decided to dedicate herself to this love. She said it was the first time they had "crossed the lines." Eric tells of that night that it was the first time they "realized their love." George described it as a double betrayal. His wife betrayed him. His best friend betrayed him.
That very night Patty and Eric came together to a party in London.
The Rolling Stones members were there, as was Paul McCartney.
George, who arrived late, found the couple together, looking closer than ever.
Clapton, drunk with love, approached his good friend, and told him simply, "I am in love with your wife."
George, in an uncharacteristic fit of rage, accused his wife of treason and posed a question to her: "Are you coming home with him or me?"
Patty, utterly confused, replied innocently, "Obviously I'm coming back with you, I'm your wife."
You're asking me will my love grow I do not know, I do not know (Photo: screenshot, from the clip of "SOMETHING")
Eric was left alone, and the trauma of his mother's abandonment resonated with him. His obsession with Patty did not fade after tasting the forbidden fruit, but rather the opposite. He wanted her more than ever. He flew with members of the band Derek and the Dominoes to the United States to record their only album, which will be given the sour-sweet name: "Layla and Other Scattered Love Songs." From the final rejection on Patti's part. He wrote the song "Bell Bottom Blues" (or in Hebrew: The Blues for Paddlephone Pants) following the night she chose George. Clapton in a broken voice, then comes to plead in the chorus: "Do you want to see me crawling on the floor towards you? Do you want to hear me begging you to take me back? I will do it happily. "
In one of the most successful decisions in the history of rock, Eric Clapton added to the recordings of the album in Miami Devin Ullman, from the American band "The Ullman Brothers".
The new member of the band changed all the energy of the recordings.
Ullmann did not like the melancholy arrangement of Leila (the one Patty Boyd heard in Clapton's London apartment), and wrote for the song his famous opening riff.
Soon, the painful ballad became a kicking rock song, with a musical duel of two of the most talented people who ever held a guitar.
"Devin was the musical brother I never had, and I always wanted him to be," Clapton wrote of him in his autobiography.
A year after they recorded their only album together, Devin Ullman collided with his motorcycle in a truck.
He died on his way to the hospital.
But that's a different story to tell on another occasion.
Leila and Magnon forever.
Patty Boyd and Eric Clapton (Photo: GettyImages)
Eric Clapton returned to London with the new double record he had recorded in the US. After a brief deliberation, he decided to call Patti and ask her to listen to the album. She heard the passion through the guitars, she heard the pain through the words, she heard the truth in his voice - but it was big on her. When the second record was over, she thanked Eric, wished him good luck, and left the apartment. George Forever.
The final parting from Patti was the first in a series of beatings that fell on him. His father (who was actually his grandfather) passed away, as did his good friend Jimmy Hendrix. If that wasn’t enough, the revealing album he worked so hard on, physically and mentally, totally failed commercially. Today "Leila" is considered a timeless masterpiece, but in real time it did not even enter the British sales parade. Eric sank into a deep depression and locked himself in his house. In his autobiography he said he was angry with Jimmy Hendrix who left him alone. He became addicted to heroin, and disappeared from the public eye for almost four years. He had no reason to live or quit his severe addiction until good news came: Patty and George were no more.
George's romances have already become routine, Patty has also developed a brief affair with Ronny Wood of the Rolling Stones, and it seems the couple could have lived in peace with that. But then the "spiritual" canceler decided to take revenge on his wife who slept with his best friend in the most painful way possible - and slept with her best friend, Maureen Starr. Yes, Ringo's wife. "Maureen is the last person I thought would stab me in the back," Patty would write of her in her autobiography. Following George's affair with Ringo's wife, the two couples divorced. Ringo responded honestly: "It was not really because of the part she had with George. I can not really be angry with her for that because I cheated on her a lot of times."
After breaking up with George, the road to a relationship with Eric was almost inevitable.
But the relationship did not start from the same place that Eric was when he wrote "Layla" for her.
He was a broken man, and a full-time addict.
For Patti's love, he managed to quit heroin, but replaced the severe addiction with an equally severe addiction to alcohol.
When the couple moved in together in 1974, Clapton would drink two bottles of Corsica cognac a day.
He would have rage attacks on stage, and more than once vomited during performances, or simply lost consciousness.
The situation at home was no better, but the "crazy" love of both of them lasted, and five years later they were married in a solemn ceremony.
The guest of honor, who even performed a song at the wedding, was George Harrison.
Farewell after ten years of marriage and five eternal songs.
George Harrison and Patti Boyd (Photo: GettyImages)
It was supposed to be the happy ending of this love triangle, which ended in a reconciliation of the two friends and a wedding of the two obsessive lovers. To the arsenal of great hits written about her, Patty added "Wonderful Tonight," one of the songs most associated with Clapton to this day. But it's not one of those stories that ends in a Hollywood ending.
In an interview in 1999, on the occasion of the opening of a drug and alcohol rehab institute, Clapton said his addiction caused him to be violent towards Patty, and he admitted that he abused her and raped her while they were married. The abuse was not just physical. While Patty dreamed of becoming a mother, and tried to conceive (including failed attempts at intrauterine fertilization), she was forced to find out that Eric had conceived two different women. One gave birth to his eldest daughter, Ruth. The other is his son - Colin, as Patti's brother. Eric offered Patty to raise his son as if he were her own son, but the offer was "like snatching a knife to the heart." It was the straw that broke the camel's back. In 1988 the couple divorced.
She agreed to suffer the rape and physical abuse, but not the pregnancies.
Eric Clapton and Patty Boyd (Photo: GettyImages)
Olivia Harrison with her son, Dahani Harrison, at an event in George's memory.
London, 2003 (Photo: GettyImages)
Shortly after breaking up with Patty, George Harrison met Olivia, and the two married in 1978, a month after the couple had their only son, Dahani. Many songs have been written about Olivia, though none of them are as famous as the songs he wrote about Patty Boyd. And that's okay. The couple lived together for 27 years, until Harrison died of cancer 20 years ago, in 2001. Olivia organized a concert in memory of her husband at the Royal Albert Hall in London, the musical producer of the event was his good friend, Eric Clapton.
"When I heard George was dead I burst into tears," Boyd said in her autobiography, "I could not imagine a world without George. When I left him for Eric, he told me that if things did not work out with him, I could always come back to him. It was a thing. I like to say so much. " In her book Boyd tells of the late remorse she had when she left George for Eric. In hindsight she realized that more than Eric loved her,He liked the idea of winning a competition for her heart in front of his good friend.
The letter Conor sent to his father before he died (Photo: screenshot, from the "SOMETHING" clip)
After several failed attempts, Eric Clapton finally quit alcohol after the birth of his son Conor.
Eric started his new life.
Conor was the first person in his life he was sure of.
He was his correction to his twisted childhood, and he raised him with great love.
"Maybe it's the blood relationship, but something in it completely changed me forever," Clapton explained of the positive change that has taken place in his life since he began raising his son.
When Conor was 4, his father took him to a New York circus.
The next day, Conor stumbled and fell from the 53rd floor window of an apartment building in Manhattan.
Thousands of letters of condolence have been piled up in Clapton's home.
One of the envelopes protruded from the pile.
She was colorful and childish.
Eric opened it and to his surprise it was a letter from his dead son, probably sent a few days before the tragic accident.
In large English letters, as befits a toddler's letter, it read: "I love you, I want to see you again. A kiss. Love. Conor Clapton."
In response to the letter, Eric wrote the song "Tears in Heaven", where he asks his son if he will recognize him in case he sees him again, in heaven.
Patty Boyd Pink Weston at the Cinema in Leicester Square, at the premiere of "Get Back", November 2021 (Photo: GettyImages)
After breaking up with Eric, Patty reinvented herself as a photographer.
After years of working as a model, this time she began to specialize in the other side of the camera.
"It took me a while to reinvent myself," she later explained, "I was 43 and divorced again, and for the first time in years I didn't have to treat an alcoholic."
She began doing exhibitions of photography she took during her rock'n'roll days, and made a name for herself within the world of photography.
In 1991 she met entrepreneur Rod Weston.
After 25 years of marriage, the two decided to get married in a ceremony held at Chelsea City Hall.
About a week and a half ago, Patty came along with Rod for the premiere of Peter Jackson's "Get Back," at a movie theater in Leicester Square in London.
Not sure how much the new docu has renewed for Patti, who lived the story of last year's Beatles first-hand story.
One can only assume that as usual, Patty was delayed while getting ready to leave, while her husband had to assure her that yes, she looked great tonight.