Eric Clapton was a member of the legendary British blues/rock group the Yardbirds that also included at one time or another other guitar virtuosos Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page. After leaving the band, Clapton formed the highly successful supergroup, Cream, with Jack Bruce (bass) and Ginger Baker (drums). Following the breakup of Cream, Clapton worked on projects like Blind Faith and with Delany and Bonnie. At the time in his native England he was regarded as a guitar god. His name on a play bill guaranteed a sellout performance but it also concerned concert promoters who were concerned of damages to the venues and bodily injury to concern goers. When Clapton began the Derrick and the Dominoes project in 1970, the group’s name originated from the interest in keeping Clapton’s membership in the band low key.
Clapton had become close friends with George Harrison of The Beatles, having played uncredited on Harrison’s signature song, While My Guitar Gentle Weeps on The Beatles’ White Album. Harrison had reciprocated playing guitar under a pseudonym on some of Cream’s songs. Through his association with Harrison, Clapton met and fell madly in love with Harrison’s wife, Pattie Boyd. His unrequited affections inspired him to compose a ballad Layla, the centerpiece of the double album recording sessions of the supergroup.
Along the way Clapton met and became close friends with Duane Allman of the Allman Brother’s Band who contributed guitar work during the recording session, most significantly the opening guitar riffs on Layla as well as slide guitar and solos. Allan’s work transformed the ballad into a rocker.
The album features some of the most innovative guitar work to that time and produced two songs that received airplay on progressive FM stations, the title track as well as Bell Bottom Blues. However, the album was not initially a commercial success in either the UK or the US, partially due to the lack of association of Clapton to the project. The length of the track Layla limited its airplay on commercial radio stations though it would be chart as part of a Clapton Compilation album. A later UK release of the song would peak at #4 in the UK.
Member of the group included: Eric Clapton, guitars, vocals; Duane Allman – guitars; Jim Gordon, drums, piano; Carl Radle, bass; Bobby Whitlock, piano, organ, background vocals.
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