Album Cover Art Wednesday: Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs

Layla is Eric Clapton’s signature song, and the centerpiece of his greatest album by far. Clapton proves the adage that you’ve got to suffer to play the blues. All I can say is that booze, heroin, and suffering led to a helluva album featuring, of course, the guitar work of the late, great Duane Allman.

There’s another story that’s less well known, the selection of the cover art:

The album cover is a painting by French artist, Frandsen De Schonberg. The painter was the father of a friend whose house the band had stayed in when playing in France. Clapton chose this particular painting for the album cover because it reminded him of Pattie Boyd-Harrison, the inspiration for the title song. Eric Clapton had fallen madly in love with friend George Harrison’s wife and her rejection is at least partially credited with pushing Clapton into his heroin addiction. Ironically, the couple married in 1979, but Pattie divorced Clapton in 1988 as a result of his heroin addiction and alcoholism.

It was relatively easy to find a good scan of the cover, but that was not the case with the back cover or the interior photo montage. In short, I muddled through.


Here’s the back cover:


Here’s the interior gatefold:


Finally, the whole consarn album:

8 thoughts on “Album Cover Art Wednesday: Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs

  1. I’ve never understood the adulation surrounding “Layla,” the song. It’s not Clapton’s best work; hell, I’m not sure it’s even the best song on the album. Kinda like “Stairway to Heaven.”

    1. Layla was his love for George Harrisons wife Patty Boyd. Eric Clapton tried to won her over but she stayed with George so he went to Miami. Grabbed Duane Almmon few others and wrote, produce those love song. One on there was for Jimi Hendrix who died while making. The albulm didn’t work. Patty still stayed with a George, eventually they got together and rest is history. Next I’ll tell you story stairway to heaven…..

  2. I believe it’s important to see the album in it’s totality. This is an album about getting your heart smashed not once, not twice, but on a constant basis because you can’t escape seeing her. In other words, it’s about every man who ever offered his heart only to have it sliced, diced, and spit back at him by THAT WOMAN. Or to put it another way, the underlying theme of all rock and roll. As far as the quality of the playing goes, I think they were never able to make a follow up album because, to use a too often used sports metaphor, they “left it all on the field”.

  3. As far as the playing goes, yes, it’s fine, but I think Duane was under-utilized. His work on “Layla” is a good example. Lots of nice slide, but he never gets close to what he was doing with his own boys. It reminds me of Carlos Santana on the live Mike Bloomfield-Al Kooper album; he never just stood up and ripped, and you wonder why. Well, maybe not.

  4. @Brad: Duane’s role was to support EC and he did it superbly.
    I quite agree with my old friend Mike about the album as a whole: it’s sequenced brilliantly including the last number, which I do not care for. My favorites are Nobody Loves You and Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad but I love the whole album

  5. I’m another boomer with typical boomer adulation for Eric Clapton, but I really don’t think this album has aged well. In particular I find the mix just clotted– listening to it and trying to pick out a particular guitar part is like trying to find casual acquaintances in a crowded bar. And while that works for some of this stuff (“Bell Bottom Blues” sounds great in that crowded bar) most of it deserves better.

  6. Heh. I’m listening to Key To The Highway as I type, recalling how we listened to this in my high school art class when I was a freshman in 1970. (The “60s” were over! Right.) Hand-in-hand was Idlewild South, The Allman Brothers Band. Revival and Layla were “on the radio”. I’m a guitar player, and I listened to Layla with other guitar players as we cruised around the home ground in North Alabama. Mussel Shoals? Right. The thing about innovative work is years later, what was new then everybody does now. Both Layla and Idlewild were innovative. Each lick counted. No throw away, boiler plate fill. Both were landmarks in quality performance.

    “I’ll know my song well before I start singing.” -That Dylan Fellow- I’d go track by track with you on this, but I just know I have a character limit, and when I hit “enter” it’ll say I’ve run over one more time. The song “Layla”? It was the riff baby. It was the riff. Solid.

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