100 Days Project

Ben: 100 Writings / 100 Opening Guitar Hooks

various, random creative expressions / writings, inspired partially by 100 popular songs (songs that somewhat begin with a leading hook of a guitar.)

Day 85:

“Layla” (1971) by Derek and the Dominos

“Layla” (1971) by Derek and the Dominos

There are 8 things I think of when I instantly hear this song (which I'm finding difficult to remember each one whilst I'm quickly jotting down each one of 'em):

1 – Did you know it was actually Duane Allman who came up with that brilliant riff?  Clapton came up with all the other stuff in the song, but ultimately Duane came up with its most vital part – those first seven notes.  I heard a legend that Eric invited Duane to come in just to watch.  Duane was sitting behind the sound desk, when Eric, behind the glass couldn’t just let Duane Friggin Allman sit there.  He said, “Forget about watching.  Grab ya guitar.  We’re gonna jam.”  After a long session, which Layla was a product of, Eric tried to goad Duane into joining the Dominos.  Duane respectfully declined.  That didn’t, of course, stop the record company releasing this new Dominos material with Duane’s name included on it.  After a small legal change, from there on in, artists on another label are more than welcome to record with another artist, but they have to go by a pseudonym.  The more you know. 

2 – As beautiful and as recognisable as that riff is, you’d think the song had been used a billion times in a billion ways in adverts or in movies.  But it goes to show how genius Martin Scorsese is.  Any rookie like you or I would’ve opened the song on a scene of Mafia hit dead bodies.  But Scorsese instead chose the end piano part of the song – the least recognisable part (because we turned the song off by the time it got to the end.)  But the gorgeous piano coda is a far perfect fit for a passage of fallen corpses.  It showcases four things (which I’m trying desperately to remember as well), 1 – there are other parts of a song you can use in your film other than the most recognisable part.  2 – Another reason Martin Scorsese is a Virtuoso.  He looks at every single detail.  3 – Goodfellas is still my favourite film of all time.  4 - … um, nah … too late, forgot it.

3 – It’s not often we look at the tab of a guitar riff.  We only distinguish it’s audio.  But, apart of Guns N’ Roses “Sweet Child O Mine”, this riff really looks so pretty on paper.  Should Google it!

4 – As just when you think you’ve heard that riff a billion times, he did it again with his “Unplugged” album.  And hence with the name of the album, it was toned down, pristine and yet still glorious.

Like Santana winning Record of the Year in 2000, when Eric won in 1992 with this album, I really don’t think it’s truly worth it.  It’s a great album but nothing in comparison to momentous punk and rap insurgencies with Dr. Dre’s ‘The Chronic’; Pavement’s ‘Slanted and Enchanted’ and Sonic Youth’s ‘Dirty’.  I guess the voters back then were just conservative.  And plus, they felt guilty that Eric, nor Santana, had even been nominated before.  According to that logistic, I guess Dr. Dre will win Record of the Year in 2021.

5 – They finally gave him a Grammy because of the amount of amazing work he did, especially from 1965 to 1970.  That era was incredibly busy but more so incredibly productive: In 1965, he was in the Yardbirds, then moved to the Bluesbreakers.  The following year he made Cream and helped Powerhouse.  (Pretty impressive so far.)  Then in 1968, he helped Jimmy Page and then created Blind Faith, whilst still continuing the other bands at certain times.  Then he helped John Lennon out and then created the Dominos.  Then in 1970 he helped Delany & Bonnie and then helped George Harrison.  This guy had his hand in so many music pies of the 1960’s.  He was also a Beatle for a moment.  When George got into a fight with the other three, he left the recordings of the White Album for a while.  Stuck in a rut, the other three called up the next best option: Eric Clapton, who played guitar on, funnily enough, George’s greatest song: “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

Eric Clapton is God.

6 – I’d never heard the term before George used it in an interview.  But I’ve always looked for an opportunity to speak of it.  Unfortunately the subject matter can be offensive to some nuptials.  And, in addition, I can’t stand talking to married people – they talk about the same stuff all the time.  Anyway, the term is “Husband-In-Law.”

George Harrison was married to Patti Boyd.  He wrote “I Need You” for her.  He, of course, became good friends with Eric Clapton, who somehow fell in love with Patti.  He wrote this song for her.  Eventually George and Patti divorced and Patti and Eric married. 

The most common form is "my wife's ex husband".  The most formal term can be "Ex Husband in Law".  But since Eric and George were still good friends, George dropped the "Ex" and refers to Eric as his “Husband-In-Law”

7 – Clapton had his hand in so many pies, I had to ensure I wouldn’t double up on him in this project.  I’ve tried my best to choose one riff from one act, to keep it even, fun and to certify that I wouldn’t write about the same themes around the same peoples.  But I was gonna write about “Tears In Heaven” or “Had to Cry Today” or “Sunshine of Your Life”, but soon realised Eric Clapton was taking up all the spaces.  I settled on this one, because it’s his greatest.

8 – Nah, forgot it.