Eric Clapton, who turns 72 today, performed at Madison Square Garden last week during his limited tour of the U.S. Naturally, that got us listening to a bunch of the guitarist’s tracks from the past 50-plus years, including Derek and the Dominos’ 1970 album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.
That, in turn, led us to dig up this fascinating clip containing the isolated guitar and vocal tracks from that album’s title cut, “Layla.”
In addition to Clapton’s lead vocal, the clip contains lead guitar in the verses and choruses, a rhythm guitar on the chorus, and Duane Allman's slide solos, plus acoustic guitar on the song’s piano coda and another guitar played through a Leslie rotary speaker.
“The song and the whole album is definitely equal parts Eric and Duane,” said Tom Dowd, the album’s producer who introduced the two guitarists and watched their partnership blossom over the record’s creation.
“There had to be some sort of telepathy going on because I’ve never seen spontaneous inspiration happen at that rate and level. One of them would play something, and the other reacted instantaneously. Never once did either of them have to say, ‘Could you play that again, please?’ It was like two hands in a glove. And they got tremendously off on playing with each other.”
According to Dowd, “Layla” features six tracks of overlapping guitar. “There’s an Eric rhythm part; three tracks of Eric playing harmony with himself on the main riff; one of Duane playing that beautiful bottleneck; and one of Duane and Eric locked up, playing countermelodies.”