Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Some years ago, there was a PBS televsion show starring James Burke, called Connections. Burke would come out, and through a series of fascinating links, show how something like the flying buttress on a medieval castle wall had a direct-through line to the invention of the picture tube in a TV set.
Something like the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon ...
Our younger dog is named "Layla," after the Eric Clapton song. (Actually it was the Derek and the Dominios song, but that's another story.) We've always loved the tune and the name.
If you don't know the story behind it, Clapton wrote Layla for Patti Boyd, who was, at the time, married to his best friend, George Harrison. He had fallen in love with her, but since she was married to Harrison, that was a problem. Supposedly he also wrote Bell Bottom Blues, from the same album, because Patti gave him a pair of flare-leg jeans ...)
Harrison, meanwhile, had written his wife a song: Something (in the Way She Moves) which wound up on the last Beatle album, Abbey Road.
Later, Harrison and his wife divorced, and Clapton and Boyd got together and were married. Whereupon Clapton wrote another song for her, Wonderful Tonight.
I had known about the genesis of Layla for years, but only discovered the other songs connected to Boyd whilst doing some research into the name. My wife and I found some old pictures of Boyd in a Beatle book we have, and were puzzled: She was attractive enough, but wasn't a stunning beauty or anything as a young woman; what was it she had that drew two of the biggest rock 'n' roll artists ever to the point they married her? (She was married to Harrison for eleven years, to Clapton for a decade.)
Actually, both John Lennon and Mick Jagger confessed to having serious crushes on Patti, as well ...
Meanwhile, Patti's sister, Jennifer, was the singer/songerwriter Donvovan's muse, most notably in the song Jennifer Juniper. And she went on to marry Mick Fleetwood ...
Something about the Boyd girls ...
Saturday was my daughter-in-law's birthday, and we went to her house for a barbecue. Her parents, Tim and Angela, were here, visiting from England, and we sat on the new deck my son had built, drinking wine in the cool-but-sunny spring evening and chatting.
The subject of music education for children came up. I allowed as how I had been exposed to the ukulele in junior high, which led the conversation to a British entertainer well-known for playing one of these, George Formby, who died in 1961.
Yes, I'd heard of him. Which led me to speak of George Harrison, who, I had heard from Paul McCartney's onstage patter during one of his concerts, had been a fan of Formby's, and who had amassed a great collection of ukuleles. Harrison had given one of these ukes to Paul and taught him how to play Something on the instrument. Which he then did for the audience.
Which led to Angela -- I'm not sure what that our legal relationship would be -- an in-law once removed? -- telling us that she had gone to school with George Harrison's first wife, Patti. They were classmates and friends.
Which led to me wondering aloud what it was that Patti had that caused so many rock stars to orbit around her. Well, she said, Patti wasn't gorgeous, neither was she the most intellectual of young women. And while Angela, being very circumspect, actually never said aloud what it was, I think I got the gist of it, and it was most likely what I had guessed -- being a man and all ...
Connections. Gotta love 'em.