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Layla (Atco/Polydor, 1971)

Layla was written by Eric Clapton and Jim Gordon for their blues rock band Derek and the Dominoes. It appeared on their only album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs in 1970. The piano part has been controversially credited to Rita Coolidge, who was Gordon’s girlfriend at the time. Layla was inspired by a love story that originated in 7th century Arabia and later formed the basis of the book The Story of Layla and Majnun by 12th century Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi, which was given to Clapton as a gift. Profoundly moved by it and his unrequited love for Pattie Boyd, the wife of friend George Harrison, Clapton and Gordon composed Layla. (Clapton and Boyd eventually married in 1979 and divorced in 1989.) Clapton rereleased it as an acoustic song for his 1992 MTV Unplugged performance. In 1972, Layla hit #1 in Puerto Rico, peaking at #7 in the UK and #10 in the U.S. In 1992, Layla topped the Canadian and Japanese charts and peaked at #45 in the UK and #12 in the U.S.

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