ALL THINGS MUST PASS AWAY

Anyone with a passing interest in rock gossip knows about Clapton’s infatuation with Pattie Boyd, the wife of his good friend Harrison and muse for “Layla,” which Clapton wrote for the Derek and the Dominoes album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. She also inspired the Harrison-penned Beatles song “Something.” But this book isn’t about that romantic triangle, except in passing; nor is it about the personal friendship of the musicians, a bond so deep it endured after the breakup of Harrison’s marriage and the marriage of Clapton and Boyd (which didn’t last). Music historians and Beatles experts Womack and Kruppa mostly look at the development of a musical relationship. Clapton played on Harrison’s songs, Harrison was featured on one of Clapton’s with Cream, and both left their respective bands within the musical upheaval of the end of the 1960s. The authors deliver laborious accounts of the recording of Harrison’s All Things Must Pass (on which Clapton appeared) and Derek and the Dominoes’ Layla, featuring musicians who had also contributed to the Harrison sessions. The narrative is only intermittently insightful in the critical sections, and the authors draw heavily on Clapton’s autobiography and the wealth of literature on Harrison and the Beatles. Readers won’t learn anything deeper about the friendship or the music of the early 1970s. This is more of a historical account, drawn from secondary sources, of minutiae from the recording of two landmark albums—who played on what and when, etc.—making it most appealing to die-hard Clapton and Harrison fans.

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