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YouTube’d Memories: Layla

Back to our regular light programming, here is one of my all-time favorites.

For some reason, the strongest recollections of this song put me inside my Dad’s old Pontiac, driving the length of Ocean Parkway and loudly singing along. I believe they come from the time when Natasha worked cash register at a supermarket on Brighton Beach and I was in college. Occasionally, our schedules allowed me to drive her to work. The car was too old to have a CD-player, and I never owned Clapton on tape, so the song must have been a regular on LiteFM or Z100 or something…



  1. Brian Greenberg

    Yes, yes – I bought this CD. Having never heard the original Layla (I know, I know – lame..), I loved the ballad, and subsequently thought the original “ruined” it.

    Also, “Tears in Heaven,” the song about his 6 year-old son who was killed after falling out his apartment window, gets me every time. That’s the best cut on the CD, and I believe this was it’s debut…

  2. jason

    Ah, a great song and a great arrangement thereof (although I have to admit I prefer the “louder” original… love the long piano coda and the little bird tweet at the end). This version immediately takes me back to my first year out of college, when I was flailing about trying to figure out what to do for a living and about a particularly complicated love life. It wasn’t a bad time, exactly, but it was… tumultuous. “Layla” was playing everywhere and it seemed to fit the mood of that point in my life perfectly.

    Brian, I believe you’re right about “Tears in Heaven” debuting on the Unplugged album… it’s a beautiful, heartbreaking song.

  3. Vince

    I like both versions, but will date myself when I admit I bought the Derek and the Dominoes album when it first came out, and the original remains my favorite. However, as the song was written for George Harrison’s then-wife Patty, I think the acoustic, more melancholy version better fits the sentiment the song is trying to portray – unrequited love (which was later requited.)

  4. Ilya

    This is the only version that I know, but there are admittedly huge gaps in my knowledge of pre-90’s American/British music.

  5. jason

    Ilya, this is the original, complete with the long piano outro I mentioned:

    In the early ’70s, Clapton was trying to live down the cult that had grown up around him during his days with the band Cream, so this song was recorded by “Derek and the Dominoes.” I think it came out in ’72 or ’73, and it’s still a staple on classic rock stations. It was also used to very memorable effect by Martin Scorsese in the movie Goodfellas. Just FYI. 🙂

  6. Ilya

    Thanks, Jason. I have to honestly say that the rock-ier style of the original version would never put this song amongst my favorites. But I have never been a hard rock kind of guy. Conversely, the blues-y version suits me perfectly 🙂

    It did not register with me that the song was in Goodfellas (and I never wait for the soundtrack credits to roll in) – or, maybe, I recognized it, thought it to be some cover, and put it out of my mind…

  7. jason

    Well, to each their own, of course. 🙂

    In Goodfellas, the song appears over the scene where everybody who’s been too loose-lipped about the big heist is getting whacked. At least the piano bit is used there — it’s been a while since I’ve watched that one, so I don’t recall if the rock portion of the song is there too.

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