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Pattie Boyd - Harrison & Clapton's Former Wife Finally Speaks

Posted by Miss Ess, January 20, 2008 07:08pm | Post a Comment
At long last, Pattie Boyd has written a book!

pattie boyd george harrison wife beatles

I read it last weekend.  It's entitled Wonderful Tonight and it's quite a page turner.

You'll remember Pattie Boyd-- she's the beautiful blond who met George Harrison on the set of A Hardpattie boyd george harrison wife beatles Day's Night and married him a few years later.  She lived the high life, literally, during the entire height of Beatlemania and beyond.  She and George discovered India and meditation together. Years after all that, Eric Clapton came a-calling, wrote "Layla" for her and soon she was Mrs. Clapton...until all that ended unhappily in divorce as well.

Her story is one that I have always wanted to know more about.  There are plenty of juicy details in this book!  Perhaps I was hoping for even more juice though, seeing as this woman lived through some of the most exciting musical times right in the vortex of the whole thing.  Her writing is a bit polite, a bit hesitant, but the book is still a good one, still highly readable.

pattie boyd george harrison wife model Pattie Boyd grew up in Africa, and moved back to England when she was about 10 or so.  She ended up a model, working with Twiggy and for Vogue, among many other publications.  When she met George, she was swept away by his charm and fame.  (Who wouldn't have been?)   In the book she recounts their many years together with affection, but also notes that eventually a pattern emerged:  for a few months George would become so absorbed in his meditation and Eastern Thought that he would neglect everything around him, and then he would go completely the other direction and party so hard she lost respect for him.  Then he'd turn back to transcendental meditation again for a while, and so on.  During one of his party phases, he declared his love for Maureen Starkey, Ringo's wife, and Pattie had had quite enough. (Ringo was not pleased either.)

When Eric Clapton began writing her fiery love letters, she found herself unable to resist him.  Unfortunately, despite the fact that he was very obviously a raging alcoholic, she moved in with him andpattie boyd eric clapton george harrison wife layla quickly married him.  His relentless alcoholism kept her from ever knowing really who the real Clapton was.

It is interesting that she reports that her main regret in life is not standing up for herself in her first marriage.  She feels she should never have left George.  [I read an interview with Clapton recently where he also says his regret is messing with the Harrison marriage.]  Also, not being able to have children has haunted her all her life, and she writes extensively about her anguish over being childless.

Boyd seems to have lost herself continually in her relationships.  She played the part of the dutiful wife, although she was in the midst of the 60s/70s feminist movements.  Seeing as she was married to two gale force personalities who lived quite draining and drug/drink addled pattie boydlives, she wanted to steady the boat.  She aimed to please, to hang on to her man at all costs.  She paid a price for this, as she ended up twice divorced and having to pick up the pieces and discover who she truly is in her 50s.  Her life story shows how easy it is to continue making the same mistake (in her case, marrying attractive, successful, highly addicted musicians) until one finally learns the err of her enabling ways.  The addiction is what ultimately corroded her relationships.

The most  compelling portions of the book for me were when she describes The Bepattie boyd george harrison wife beatlesatles' stay in India with the Maharishi and when Eric's young son (by another woman-- this portion of the book is kind of agonizing), Connor, dies.

Despite the fact that sometimes I felt this must be the PG-13 version of what her life actually entailed, I enjoyed reading the book.  Pattie comes across as a shy, intimidated girl who literally got lucky and rode this luck all her life.  Who can really blame her? She's still likable, and she has intimate knowledge of two of the most celebrated musicians of all time, which at last she has been kind enough to share (in part) with all of us.

Relevant Tags

George Harrison (19), Beatles (97), Eric Clapton (5), Pattie Boyd (1)