Her intimate bond with two of the greatest musicians of each generation has resulted in songs that are still played and revered by fans around the world to this day.
But Pattie Boyd, the 1960s muse behind some of George Harrison and Eric Clapton’s best-known hits, admits she hasn’t seen a dime in royalties despite being responsible for their creation.
The model, now 78 and a successful author, married sweet-hearted Beatles guitarist Harrison in 1966, two years after meeting on the set of the band’s first feature film, A Hard Day’s Night.
But she would then be doggedly pursued by a lovelorn Clapton, a close friend of the couple and a Beatles collaborator, who had provided lead guitar on Harrison’s 1968 hit While My Guitar Gently Weeps, and the couple eventually married themselves in 1979.
Clapton’s then unrequited obsession with the model, who would reject his declarations of love to stay with Harrison until his own repeated infidelities led to their divorce in 1974, would inspire one of the rocker’s biggest hits – Layla.
Released during his short-lived stint with Derek And The Dominoes in 1970, the iconic song served as the basis for the band’s one and only album, Layla And Other Love Stories, and has since become a stalwart of the classic rock cannon.
A paean to unrequited love, the song served was inspired by a love story that originated in 7th-century Arabia and later formed the basis of the 12th-century Persian tome The Story of Layla and Majnun, of which playwright Ian Dallas gave a copy. to Klapton.
The book – which describes a story of a young man who falls hopelessly in love with a beautiful young girl who does not immediately return his affection – could then touched the then 25-year-old Clapton so deeply that he went on to write Layla, a song that has since been hailed as one of the greatest songs of all time and has been broadcast millions of times.
Despite its success, Boyd — who married Clapton five years after Harrison’s divorce — now claims she hasn’t received a single royalty check in the 52 years since the song’s release.
Changed briefly: Pattie Boyd, the 1960s muse who inspired some of George Harrison and Eric Clapton’s best-known hits, admits she hasn’t seen a dime in royalties from either one (pictured with Clapton in 1993)
Opening: The model, now 78 and a successful author, has reflected on her marriage to Beatles legend Harrison and his close friend, guitar virtuoso Clapton
Past: Boyd married sweet-hearted Beatles guitarist Harrison in 1966, two years after meeting on the set of the band’s first feature film, A Hard Day’s Night.
Tongue in cheek, she told The Sunday Times’ Style magazine: “I asked for that when I got divorced, and he said, ‘Are you kidding me?’”
Boyd, who also inspired Clapton’s 1977 song Wonderful Tonight, then scoffed, “That’s why I have to write books.”
Boyd, an English model and photographer from Somerset, served not only as a muse for Clapton – when a young musician who began working with Harrison shortly after the Beatle married Boyd, and the two quickly became good friends – but also for her first husband.
Boyd, an English model and photographer from Somerset, served not only as Clapton’s muse – when a young musician who shortly after the Beatle married Boyd began working with Harrison, the two quickly becoming close friends, as well as for her first husband
She inspired some of Harrison’s finer work with The Beatles – most notably I Need You, If I Needed Someone, Love You To and the 1969 ballad Something – one of the highlights of their classic album, Abbey Road.
Harrison would also write the 1973 solo song So Sad about his then-deteriorating marriage to Boyd, who bore no children and was plagued by Harrison’s then rampant alcohol and drug use, as well as numerous affairs – including with bandmate Ringo Starr’s ex-wife, Maureen. Starkey Tigrett.
During this time, Clapton secretly had a romance with Boyd, which put her on good terms before finally getting married in 1979.
The song Layla was inspired by this period, with its signature chord progression, plaintive chorus and long climax coda since the song has become one of the most instantly recognizable rock songs of its time.
Obsessed: But she would be doggedly pursued by a lovelorn Clapton, a close friend of the couple and a Beatles collaborator, with the musician later writing the classic song Layla about her
Muse: Boyd also inspired some of Harrison’s finer work with The Beatles, most notably I Need You, If I Needed Someone, Love You To and the 1969 ballad Something.
Iconic: Boyd became synonymous with the swinging counterculture of the 1960s thanks to her association with The Beatles
After writing the then-unreleased love song for Boyd, Clapton secretly met the still-married Boyd in London to serenade her with the tune, as he attempted to steal his friend’s wife – a heated set up a meeting between the two rockers.
“We met in secret in a flat in South Kensington,” Boyd told the New York Post. “Eric asked me to come because he wanted me to listen to a new song he wrote.
“He turned on the tape recorder, turned up the volume and played the most powerful, moving song I’d ever heard. It was ‘Layla’.’
She told the paper: “My first thought was, ‘Oh, God, everyone will know this is about me.
That night Boyd and Clapton met at a party at manager Robert Stigwood’s house. When George arrived, he kept asking, “Where’s Pattie?” But no one seemed to know. He was about to leave when he saw me sitting in the yard with Eric,” Boyd recalled.
George came up to me and asked, ‘What’s going on?’ To my horror, Eric said, “I have to tell you, man, I’m in love with your wife.”‘
“I wanted to die,” the aging model continued. George was furious. He turned to me and said, “Well, are you going with him or with me?”
Boyd was supposed to go home with George, but their relationship was left on thin ice.
Shortly after, in 1973, George began an affair with Starr’s wife Maureen – a discretion that propelled Boyd to Clapton even more.
The couple would divorce the following year, after which Clapton and Boyd began dating and eventually married in 1979. The couple would stay together for the better part of a decade and divorce in 1989.
Despite her troubled marriage to Harrison — who died of brain cancer in 2003 — Boyd said on Sunday that she still fondly remembers the Beatle, despite receiving no compensation for the various songs she inspired.
Recalling her first meeting with the Beatles legend on the set of A Hard Day’s Night, she said: ‘He looked so good and was so sweet, chatting. She [The Beatles] all wore little dark suits and little black ties.’
Two years later, the couple married at the Epsom Registry Office, but after nearly six years of Harrison’s infidelity and hard partying, Boyd was thrust into the arms of Clapton, now 77.
“Yes, he was very beautiful and sexy, very stylish,” she recalled of her first meeting with the musician, at the height of the Beatle mania in the mid-1960s.
‘[Beatles manager] Brian Epstein had a theater and Eric played there. We all went back to Brian’s flat and he befriended George.’
The couple would divorce in 1989 – with Boyd Sunday admitting she knew her rock star novels were over after their divorce.
“I didn’t have to tell myself,” she said. ‘I already knew that.’
The model has since married for the third time to marriage real estate developer Rod Weston in 2015, after meeting while on holiday in Sri Lanka.