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I received as a Christmas gift a personalized autographed copy of “Wonderful Today.” This is a very good marketing device for a premium price, but worth it for those who value the author’s dedication in their own handwriting.
Beatle George Harrison wrote “Something” for her and it remains one of the most covered Beatle songs ever. Eric Clapton, the guitar hero of the world for over three decades wrote the Derek and the Dominoes 1974 Album “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs,” that fast and furious super-hot rock and roll epic about his love for this model and former wife of George Harrison and eventually Eric’s-Pattie Boyd. She’s the only woman to have two superstars write songs to her, and in her prime, her intoxicating beauty was that of a sexual siren driving men’s souls to the rocks in pure passion. Her new book “Wonderful Today” is a biography that seems to want to tell all, and indeed sheds light on this wonderful woman who came from an abused childhood to make it as one of the world’s top models. Ms. Boyd begins in a chronological fashion with pictures of family and tales of Kenya with snakes, tigers, and scary natives. Quite the childhood, but then when her parents separate she is forced back to England with an abusive and cruel step-father.
The voice of the book is sweet and innocent, but the sixties flower children go through an innocence of their own and as the drugs they use to free their minds and give them empowerment for hope eventually drive them to pure misery as well. She became the wife of Mr. Harrison at the end of a fairy-tale courtship, but due to the heavy hand of the Beatle’s Manager Brian Epstein, was denied a proper wedding, as the public was not to know George was “no longer available” in the heady days of Beatlemania. She and George lived a simple life, in a relatively small house with George off to the studio each day and Pattie embracing the role of wife, lover, cook, and home keeper. It was all she wanted and needed. George on the other hand became intensely involved in meditation, ironically because of Pattie’s suggestion, to fill a need for a childhood he never completely experienced, and they all went off to the Yogi Master Maharishi Mahesh in India.
For those who haven’t read past books on the Beatles, her book is full of references such as their Los Angeles house on “Blue Jay Way” and Prudence Farrow, Mia’s sister, was the “Dear Prudence” who would not leave her house in India with the Maharishi. Sergeant Pilcher was the British police officer who busted John Lennon, George, and many other rock and rollers of the day for drugs including Mick Jagger. “Jennifer Juniper” was a Donovan song for Pattie’s sister Jennifer who was also Mick Fleetwood’s main squeeze off and on and there are many other tidbits of rock trivia that have their place in history connected to Pattie’s life with George.
George eventually became emotionally unattached to her as he began binging on drugs and then meditation trying to find his way through a lost childhood. Eric Clapton then appears writing her passionate letters and begging her to leave George for a life with him. At first, she thinks this is all very nice and flattering, but then Eric goes on a heroin binge because of her refusal to give in and be with him much like a spiteful boy. Eventually George’s lack of attention and Eric’s determined persistence, get the best of Pattie and she leaves George to follow Eric on tour. Years go by and the addiction to drugs, alcohol, and heroin take their toll on “Slowhand” and he shows no attempt to stay faithful to any one woman. As much as Pattie wants to understand and deal with the issues of his dalliances and drunkenness, she indeed compromises her own principles in doing so, the relationship grinds to an inevitable crash as Eric “keeps on keepin’ on,” in full persona of what a rock star “is all about-After Midnite”-sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Pattie was and is only looking for love with someone who can make her laugh, and treat her as an equal. This book is not a kiss and tell epic, and one would love to hear some of the intense times of emotion and vase throwings I’m sure, but one can sense the immense pain she had in finally putting this to words for all to read without destroying her relationships especially with Clapton. Her only mistake was believing in young men that couldn’t tie their shoes on their own, and needed to grow up and take their marriage seriously. But now at last she is on her own, enjoying her life without expectations and has accepted her responsibility in enabling these “boys” and being a part of the problem. She still maintains great beauty within and without and is and will always be the mythical lady immortalized much like Helen of Troy in that Pattie launched a million flickers of light for encores at concerts everywhere in the world.
“Layla, you still got me on my knees…”