Patricia Anne Boyd was born on March 17, 1944 in Hampstead, England to RAF pilot Colin Taylor Lee Boyd and Diana Jones. This stunning beauty would transcend her humble beginnings to become the Helen of Troy of British rock in the 1960s. She passively influenced some of the greatest songs of the decade and became immortalized as Eric Clapton's Layla.
In 1962 Patti moved to London and began a short carrier in hair styling, which ended when one of her clients, a modeling agent, discovered her. She appeared as a model in several print and television ads. She also took part in fashion shows all over Europe and the United States. However, she never reached "super model" status, as did some of the girls she worked with, such as Twiggy.
At the age of 19, in the midst of here modeling, she was offered a small speaking part in a movied. She had worked with the director previously in commercials. The movie was the Beatles first motion picture A Hard Day's Night. She can be seen in the first 15 minutes of the film as one of the girls on the train. It was on set where she met her future husband George Harrison.
George was quite stricken by her, and asked her out on a date. She declined at first because she had a boy friend. But in 1964 what girl could resist the advances of a Beatle? She soon broke up with her boy friend to pursue a relationship with George and with in a month they began looking for a house together. The two were married at the Epsom Registry Office in Surrey, England on January 21, 1966. She kept here maiden name hyphenating it, Boyd-Harrison. When asked about their union, George's father said, "Mrs. Harrison and I were delighted. Of course, to the rest of the world it might have been 'Beatle Marries Model,' but to those that really knew them it was clear that this was a genuine modern-day love story." After they married, Patti gave up her modeling carrier as per George's request that she be a stay-at-home wife.
Patti certainly had an influence on the Beatles and their music. She sat in on as many recording sessions as she could, and gave them her opinions on the music they laid down. Also it was her who convinced the other Beatles to join her and George in India in early 1968, which most cite as the cause of the second major change in the Beatle's music. When they returned from India they recorded the White Album.
Something to note about Something, George claims he did not write it with her in mind, as it seems he did. In an interview he said, "...everybody presumed I wrote it about Patti, but actually, when I wrote it, I was thinking of Ray Charles....I could hear in my head Ray Charles singing it."
Patti quickly became British rock royalty and she attended all the best parties and concerts. She developed close relationships with Stones Keith Richards and Mick Jagger and her brother-in-law Mick Fleetwood.
A year before George and Patti married, George met Eric Clapton at the Hammersmith Odeon, where Clapton's band, the Yardbirds, was opening for the Beatles. Eric and George quickly became best friend. He introduced Patti to Eric shortly after their wedding.
Like most marriages, Patti's soon suffered problems. George often ignored her, finding an escape from her in his music, meditation or other women. Feeling neglected she began to seek attention from the other men around, including Eric. During one of their separations she moved in with him for a short time. When she moved out and back in with George, Eric was sent into a downward spiral of depression. He commented "Pattie was just trying to get George's attention, get him jealous, and so she used me. The problem was that I soon fell madly in love with her."
It was during this depression that he wrote the songs for the double album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, which was released in 1970, for his newly formed band Derek and the Dominos. Of course, Layla was Patti but in some ways all of the songs on the album had been written for her. Even the album's cover bares an abstract likeness of her.
Patti stayed with George until late 1974 when Eric finally persuaded her to leave. In fact, at a party Eric confessed his love for Patti to George. George coldly replied, "Fine, you get her, I get your girlfriend." George later said, "I thought that was the best thing to do, for us to split, and we should've done it much sooner." And on June 9, 1977 George and Patti's divorce was finalized. Despite problems early in their relationship, Pattie and Eric were married on March 27, 1979 at the Apostolic Assembly of Faith in Christ Jesus in Tucson, Arizona.
Through all this George and Eric stayed friends. Commenting on it in an interview George said, "...I didn't get annoyed at him and I think that has always annoyed him. I think that deep down inside he wishes that it really pissed me off, but it didn't, because I was happy that she went off, because we'd finished together, and it made things easier for me." However, Eric never stopped feeling guilty, "We get on fine. We both put quite a lot of work into our relationship. We go out of our way to touch base and see one another, and I love him dearly. Someone like George has a very deep meaning for me in my life."
Patti and Eric's marriage was anything but a fairy tale. It was pledged with alcoholism and infidelities. Eric fathered two illegitimate children while married to Patti (one of which was Conor, for whom he wrote Tears in Heaven). In 1984 Eric returned home from a tour to find that Patti had moved out. Although Eric maintained, for quite some time after, that she was the love of his life, he granted her a divorce, which was final in 1989.
Patti never had any children. After her divorce from Eric she took up photograph and charity work in the London area. Also she helps people who have been affected by drugs and alcohol in their lives.
Yes, I omitted the drug stuff. It was the '60s and she went to a lot a parties and is friends with Keith Richards. You do the math. Clapton started using heroin heavily after she rejected him (the first time). Although she was busted twice (in 1967 and 1969) by Sergeant Pilcher's Lonely Heart Club Band, she was never a drug addict and I didn't really feel like adding that undertone to the piece.