The Loop

Rock muse Patti Boyd exhibits rare photos of Eric Clapton and George Harrison

She was George Harrison’s “Something” and Eric Clapton’s “Layla.”  She also inspired Clapton to write “Bell Bottom Blues” and “Wonderful Tonight.”  Clapton and Harrison even had a guitar “duel” over her.

Now, Pattie Boyd has unveiled a new photographic exhibit featuring rare photos both men, along with numerous photos she took of The Beatles in the late sixties.  The exhibit at the San Francisco Art Exchange also showcases the original art that inspired the album cover for Clapton’s album Layla. 

Boyd married Harrison after meeting on the set of the movie Hard Day’s Night.  Over time, their friend Eric Clapton became infatuated with Patti and the two began an affair.  Harrison once caught them at a party, talking alone, and asked what was going on.

Clapton said to him, “I have to tell you, man, that I’m in love with your wife. Harrison decided it was time for a showdown and invited Clapton and Boyd to his mansion for “proper conversation.”

Actor John Hurt, a friend of both men, was staying at the time with Harrison, who insisted he remain to witness “the duel.”

“George dearly needed a small audience. He got down two guitars and two amplifiers and put them in the hall,” Hurt recalls.  “It was an extraordinary contest because George had quite clearly given him the inferior guitar and inferior amplifier.”

Then, as Ray Coleman relates in his authorized biography of Clapton, “Survivor,” “The two men improvised for two hours in an historic guitar battle of superstars.”

It was the consensus of those present that Clapton had won.

“He was unbeatable,” says Hurt. Harrison got rattled and tried to be too clever, whereas Clapton “concentrated on playing a few meaningful notes in contrast to Harrison`s instrumental gymnastics.”

The photographs will remain on exhibit until 31 March. Visit the San Francisco Art Exchange website to see the photos.