MarsEarth

Old world wisdom, new world insight – poems, poetry, philosophy, dreams, commentary, ideas

The Saddest Songs of Rock and Roll – # 1

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by Lawrence J. J. Leonard

Eric Clapton

Can you believe we have reached the Top Spot?
Thank you for following this blog and sharing it with your friends and family.
I always appreciate your interest and comments.
And now, “The next voice you hear . . . “
This song, the saddest of rock and roll,  expresses the ultimate experience
a person could ever engage in

for the sake of a perceived want or for the sake of love. 
For the loser, the loss cannot be calculated.
For the hurt, the despair is of a depth which can never be plumbed.
When we ourselves decide there is no other way to secure a valued relationship,
we – without question – cross a line . . .

Historically, forbidden love is exciting. But even the modern day seeker of forbidden love must follow rules, especially when a sweetheart belongs to another. How far have men gone to give a passionate embrace to another woman? King David made that bad choice. How far would a woman go to get the man she thinks is her soul mate? Well, let’s see. We have infamously stained dresses and a very high divorce rate among Los Angeles and New York actors for infidelity. Just the same, there has been no female version of “Say Anything.” Let’s not hold our breath for a woman so single-minded. What does a lovelorn man do when the object of his desire and passion is already taken?

Once upon a time there was a fairytale ending. It was epic. It was glorious. It was hormones on overdrive. It was laughter in the rain. It was a choice in favor of the forbidden.

Pattie Boyd and George Harrison

In 1966 George Harrison, current member of The Beatles at the time, married model Pattie Boyd. Meanwhile, Eric Clapton, about to start a new producer/writer role with his Derek and the Dominos music project, became friends with George.  This was just a few months after George’s union with Pattie. For seven (count’em) years Eric remained smitten with Pattie. His crush became a songwriter’s obsession. He felt so deeply for her that the infatuation inspired an album of 14 love songs.

This was developed through the Derek and the Dominos band. Eric’s obsession first came about through an involvement in the “American soul” revue Delaney & Bonnie and Friends. Together with his fellow future Dominos keyboardist Bobby Whitlock, bassist Carl Radle, and drummer Jim Gordon, Eric toured Europe and the United States.

Bobby visited Eric when the D&B&F broke up.  They collaborated on acoustic guitars, writing the Dominos catalog. Tragedy dogged the group throughout its brief life. Eric was devastated by the death of Jimi Hendrix. There was a tribute version of “Little Wing” out of respect to iconic guitarist on the new album. A few months later Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident. Eric said he considered Duane a “musical brother.” 

Derek and the Dominos + producers

When it was finally time to release the new “Layla” album, critics only gave it nominal reviews. There was little radio airplay.  The lovelorn and saddened Eric began using drugs to cope with the loss of his friends and the confusion over his career move as a stage character, “Derek.”

Eric later told a reporter that developing the “Derek” personality was just a cover. He had been pretending in order to steal away Pattie  from George. Eric had used the name in the song entitled “Layla” as a substitute for Pattie’s name.  

The Dominos songs seem to confirm that Derek/ Eric was conflicted with this choice. Some of the other track titles are: “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out” and “I Am Yours” and “Tell the Truth” and “Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad?” and “Thorn Tree in the Garden.” Clearly Eric was revealing what was going on inside himself. Pattie may have been persuaded to leave George earlier in her marriage, but Eric was addicted to drugs. When Eric finally got clean in 1978, Pattie left George and married Eric a year later.  As is true with most addictive personalities, Eric stumbled into another addiction, alcoholism, after his marriage to Pattie. She separated from him in 1987 and they divorced two years later. Is it true that the sadness all around us is influenced by the struggles we fight alone, inside our own souls?

Number #1
The song “Bell Bottom Blues” was  the second track on the “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs” album released November of 1970.  It was recorded in the studio before Duane joined the recording sessions. What makes the song so very sad is (First) Eric was the only guitarist on the song. He layered several guitar harmonies. We can hear his cries and his anguish in his guitar work throughout the tune. The other musicians were Bobby on Hammond organ and some background vocals, Carl on bass, and Jim on drums.  The song was released as a  (45 rpm) single twice. The first made it to #91 on the Billboard Hot 100  in the USA.  The second had “Little Wing” as a B-side and this pairing popped up to the #78 position. This  track was a blues song but a transitional one, and it brought the blues more into the mainstream of rock and roll.

(Second) There was a definite forlorn heartache coming out of Eric’s voice that can only be experienced in the studio track. The song’s inspiration came upon Eric during an incident of happenstance, it seems. Eric reportedly remembers a time when Pattie asked him to get her a pair of bell-bottom blue jeans from the United States. Bells or bell-bottoms are a style of out-flaring at-the-ankle pants that became synonymous with 1970s fashion fads. The tone of Eric’s voice on the track virtually struggles, as if he were fighting the urge to breakdown and sob.

(Third) The song lyrics imply that two lovers are having an argument, and one of them is about to be — leftalone. “Bell Bottom Bluesbegins with a declaration of heartbreak. The conflict accelerates when we hear the age-old question: “Do you want me to beg?” There seems to be no reply and this is causing the singer to ask again and again. Not angrily. Eric does it in such a melodious way that the words evoke the sight of a man welling up with tears the entire song’s length.

Why is it so intense when we come across a person who casts a kind of spell of rapture over our soul? Couples absorb a tsunami of that love chemical, oxytocin, and quite literally lose their minds. It is a wonderful thing to feel it and experience the euphoria. Unfortunately for all of us, that feeling incites no urge to plan for the future. Neither does it snap us back into the reality of being humans who always act with integrity and honesty. Otherwise that John Cusack and Ione Skye film I mentioned would have been entitled “Did Something Practical.” Even Hollywood cannot generate buzz for that plot.

So it comes down to what is acceptable or what is verboten. What we believe is the right course of action versus the worst possible action. As TobyMac once exclaimed, “Love is a verb.” Because it is something we do and not a thing we feel, it changes our personality. We can experience love in our lives: Agape – love from and for G_D, if we believe in one; Storge – affection from or for a parent; Philia –  friendship; and Eros – intimate love or passion from or for another person.  The pain comes when the person we want does not have the same passion for us that we have for them. This is a tortuous thing for the impractical human mind under the influence of love’s grip. For this creative person, making the choice to do what the heart is passionate about is the slow-burning fuel that inspired a very, very sad love song. 

Lyrics written by: Eric Clapton and Bobby Whitlock

Bell bottom blues, you made me cry.
I don’t want to lose this feeling.

And if I could choose a place to die
It would be in your arms.

Do you want to see me crawl across the floor to you?
Do you want to hear me beg you to take me back?
I’d gladly do it because
I don’t want to fade away.
Give me one more day, please.
I don’t want to fade away.
In your heart I want to stay.

It’s all wrong, but it’s all right.
The way that you treat me baby.

Once I was strong but I lost the fight.
You won’t find a better loser.

Do you want to see me crawl across the floor to you?
Do you want to hear me beg you to take me back?
I dare to do it because
I don’t want to fade away.
Give me one more day, please.
I don’t want to fade away.
In your heart I want to stay.

[guitar lead]

Do you want to see me crawl across the floor to you?
Do you want to hear me beg you to take me back?
I dare to do it because
I don’t want to fade away.
Give me one more day, please.
I don’t want to fade away.
In your heart I want to stay.

Bell bottom blues, don’t say goodbye.
I’m sure we’re gonna meet again.

And if we do, don’t you be surprised
If you find me with another lover.

Do you want to see me crawl across the floor to you?
Do you want to hear me beg you to take me back?
I dare to do it because
I don’t want to fade away.
Give me one more day, please.
I don’t want to fade away.
In your heart I want to stay.

I don’t want to fade away.
Give me one more day please.
I don’t want to fade away.
In your heart I long to stay.

I don’t want to fade away.
Give me one more day please.
I don’t want to fade away.
In your heart I long to stay.

Another version of the song was performed in Year 2000. It is second – a very distant second – but a good rendition. Click here.

~~~   ~~~   ~~~

Depressed? Do something about it. Please find help before making any rash decisions.  Click here: the National Institute of Mental Health.

Eating disorder (ED)? CLICK HERE to get more information from the NIMH.

Read up on PTSD – post traumatic stress disorder Click Here.

Don’t try suicide. Talk to somebody. Click here for the phone number and information.

Think BEFORE you drink. Click here for AA.

Copyright © 1960-2018 Lawrence J. J. Leonard All rights reserved.

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Author: SpindoctorUSA

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