Pattie Boyd, the wife of both George Harrison and Eric Clapton, co-wrote an autobiography called Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Me about her artist-fucking days in the '60s, '70s and '80s. In Sunday's New York Times Book Review, Salon senior writer Stephanie Zacharek ponders the importance of muses. Zacharek questions the necessity of a book written by a famous plus-one. "To some readers — and you know who you are — there's no reason to bother with a memoir by Pattie Boyd, the former wife of both George Harrison and Eric Clapton and the inspiration for songs like 'Something' and 'Layla.' Who cares what Boyd, one of the great beauties of '60s Britain, has to say? What did she ever create? She was only a wife, far less interesting than the great men she was married to."
But I'm interested in the book, just as Zacharek is, not just because it's a "cultural history" from a summer of love insider, but also because I, too, was once obsessed with the allure of the artist.
For a three year span I only dated fine artists. There was a painter and a photographer and a sculptor, and while I would not have admitted it at the time, I wanted so badly to inspire them. Mostly I wanted them to make art about me so I could put it up in my dorm room and then when people asked about it I would say nonchalantly, "Oh that old thing? Yeah, that's just something my boyfriend made about me." Anyway! After a few years of dating complete narcissists (which most artists are) I realized what took Patti Boyd several decades to figure out:
"[Boyd] tells the story of the song "Wonderful Tonight," which [Clapton] wrote as he was watching her take forever to dress for a night out: 'It was such a simple song but so beautiful and for years it tore at me. To have inspired Eric, and George before him, to write such music was so flattering. Yet I came to believe that although something about me might have made them put pen to paper, it was really all about them.'"Also, I want to read the book because I'm sure there are a lot of really sordid stories of wife-swapping and LSD-laden orgies. I mean, Clapton and Harrison were best friends, George cheated on with Ringo's first wife, Maureen — this book is going to be juicy!
Layla [New York Times]