Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs is the first and only studio album by Derek and the Dominos, released in 1970. Fresh off the sessions for All Things Must Pass, Eric Clapton and houseguest/songwriter Bobby Whitlock commandeered the rhythm section from combative soul singers Delaney and Bonnie to form Derek and the Dominos, a short-lived Blues Rock band in which - by contractual force when necessary - Clapton would be merely an anonymous member of an anonymous band, touring small clubs to little fanfare and towing in a young hotshot guitarist to record an unheralded album. Thus hidden from critical expectations, Clapton expressed his seemingly doomed love for Patti Boyd, the wife of his best friend George Harrison, throughout a double album full of blues covers and soul-influenced originals.
The album was a moderate success in the United States on the strength of the single "Bell Bottom Blues" but vanished without a trace in Clapton's native UK. After drug problems tore the band apart, Clapton's handlers began re-releasing old material to keep the guitar hero's career warm, calling attention to the Layla album when the title track appeared alongside "Bell Bottom Blues" on a greatest hits compilation. Suddenly a massive success, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs was everywhere at the same time Clapton himself was withdrawing from the world, thoroughly strung out from heroin and his failure (at the time) to win Boyd away.
LP OneSide One
- "I Looked Away" (3:04)
- "Bell Bottom Blues" (5:06)
- "Keep on Growing" (6:22)
- "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out" (4:57)
- "I Am Yours" (3:32)
- "Anyday" (6:37)
- "Key to the Highway" (9:47)
LP TwoSide Three
- "Tell the Truth" (6:45)
- "Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad?" (4:50)
- "Have You Ever Loved a Woman?" (6:51)
- "Little Wing" (5:23)
- "It's Too Late" (3:45)
- "Layla" (7:10)
- "Thorn Tree in the Garden" (2:51)
Note: early CD releases are across two discs; releases since 1990 are on a single disc.
- Eric Clapton - lead vocals, guitar
- Jim Gordon - drums, percussion, piano, tabla, snare
- Carl Radle - bass, percussion
- Bobby Whitlock - organ, piano, vocals, guitar
Do you wanna see me list tropes all here for you? Do you wanna hear me tell you how they all work? I'll gladly do it...
- Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: Unlike Bessie Smith and Bobby Baker, who made "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out" famous during Prohibition, a British Rock Star isn't quite believable blowing his money on bootleg whiskey.
- Alliterative Title: "Bell Bottom Blues".
- All Love Is Unrequited: As some of the song titles might give away, the Clapton/Harrison/Boyd Love Triangle was a bit of an influence...
- Big Rock Ending: "Layla" has one of the seminal codas in rock history.
- Blues Rock: The genre this album belongs in.
- Country Music: "It's Too Late" is a country blues recorded specifically to get the band onto The Johnny Cash Television Program.
- Cover Version:
- "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out" by Blind Bobby Baker
- "Key to the Highway" by Big Bill Broonzy
- "Have You Ever Loved a Woman?" by Freddie King
- "Little Wing" by The Jimi Hendrix Experience
- "It's Too Late" by Chuck Willis
- Early-Installment Weirdness: A downplayed example. The opening tracks feature multiple guitar overdubs and the album switches to live-in-studio once Duane Allman joins in.
- Epic Rocking: Six of the album's fourteen tracks top the six-minute mark: "Keep on Growing" (6:22), "Anyday" (6:37), "Key to the Highway" (9:38), "Tell the Truth" (6:45), "Have You Ever Loved a Woman?" (6:51), "Layla" (7:04). "Key to the Highway" would have been even longer had the producer captured the beginning of the band's performance.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The album features "Layla" and other assorted love songs.
- Friendly Rival in Mourning: Jimi Hendrix died during the band's initial tour. When the time came to record the album, the Dominos recorded "Little Wing" as a tribute.
- My Friends... and Zoidberg: The album title puts "Layla" in a more important position, compared to the other love songs on the album.
- One-Woman Song: "Layla".
- One-Word Title: "Anyday".
- Pun-Based Title: "Bell Bottom Blues" is likely a reference to the "Black Bottom Blues", a Dance Sensation during The Roaring '20s.
- Questioning Title?: "Why Does Love Have to Be So Sad?", "Have You Ever Loved a Woman?"
- Rearrange the Song: The older blues covers are rearranged as rockers while "Little Wing" gets a grander arrangement than The Jimi Hendrix Experience's original.
- Silly Love Songs: ...and Other Assorted Love Songs indeed. Though one is about a dog...
- Sixth Ranger/Special Guest: Duane Allman joined for the recording of "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out" and remained for the entirety of the sessions. Though strictly speaking not officially a member of the band, he is absent on only three tracks on the finished album.
- Something Blues: "Bell Bottom Blues"
- Surprisingly Gentle Song: Even more striking coming right after "Layla", "Thorn Tree in the Garden" is an acoustic ballad - a White Guy with Acoustic Guitar Song, if you will.
- Textless Album Cover: Just a picture.
- Truck Driver's Gear Change: In the vocal portion of "Layla", the Epic Riff is in D minor, then it jumps to C-sharp minor for the verse, which resolves in into E major, before it falls back down into D minor for the chorus, then repeats that pattern over and over. A notable example of a big modulation in a rock song that isn't just restricted to the last verse. The coda is in C major.
- Unrequited Love: A theme in some songs. See All Love Is Unrequited.
- Updated Re Release: CD releases of the album from 1990 onward manage to store the entire 76:44 album across a single disc, owing to unofficial revisions to the Compact Disc format around that time that increased the maximum capacity from 74 minutes to 80; prior to this, the album had to be released across two CDs.
- Vocal Tag Team: Clapton and Whitlock did the vocals In the Style of Stax duo Sam & Dave, often with the singers alternating verses before singing together on the choruses.