"Layla" is a song written by Eric Clapton and Jim Gordon, originally released by their blues rock band Derek and the Dominos, as the thirteenth track from their only studio album "Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs" (November 1970).
Inspired from a book Eric read entitled, “The Story of Layla and Majnun”, about a man in love with a woman he could not marry. This hit home with Eric as he was in love with George Harrison’s wife, Pattie Boyd.
It’s ranked #27 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs
The version I have here is the original version and not the re-released acoustic arrangement (although also nice). It's famous for its great guitar riff (some say it came from an Albert King song, "As the Years Go Passing By"), Duane Allman's slide guitar, passionate vocals and a beautiful piano coda (though listen to Rita Coolidge's song "Time" on the Booker T album "Chronicles"...hmm).
Carl Radle played the bass on "Layla" and did a fantastic job. This is one of my favorite basslines.
Carl was from Tulsa, Oklahoma and played on Eric's albums in the seventies. He did session work and played on albums by George Harrison, JJ Cale, Joe Cocker and others.
He was known for his simple, repetitive basslines that supported the song and "Layla" is a great example. The focus is on the guitars and vocal, so Carl lays back and plays a simple groove on the root notes. Then, as the song moves into the verse section, Carl lets his bass take a walk up the neck in a series of three note phrases that knocks me out every time I listed to it.
Sadly, we lost another great bassist in 1980 when Carl died from a kidney failure complicated from drug and alcohol use.