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The Perfect Coda August 29, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Music & Dance, People.

Last week, I read an article about 20 of the Best Rock Codas. 

The list included hits by the Beatles (Hey Jude), Prince (Purple Rain), and more than a few bands of recent vintage I’d never heard before (and likely will never hear again). 

As I watched the video clips I remained unimpressed until I got to this one.

At last, The Perfect Coda!  


A brilliant marriage between guitars, played by Eric Clapton and Duane Allman, and a gorgeous piano coda which takes center stage for the entire second half of the song. 

A few fun facts from Wikipedia:

* Inspired by Clapton’s then unrequited love for Pattie Boyd, the wife of  friend and fellow musician George Harrison, Layla was unsuccessful on its initial release.

 * The song is often hailed as being among the greatest rock songs of all time.  Two versions have achieved chart success, first in 1972 and again twenty years later as an acoustic Unplugged performance.

* In 2004, it was ranked #27 on Rolling Stone‘s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, and the acoustic version won the 1993 Grammy Award for Best Rock Song.

Although Eric Clapton has sung this song with Mark Knopfler, the Rolling Stones, and other notables, here’s my favorite version of Layla (the original) by Derek and the Dominoes ~ not much to look at, but it captures the coda:

Here’s a more acoustic version, with Mark Knopfler sharing the stage and the magic with Clapton:


1. Agatha82 - August 29, 2010

Layla was recorded in Criteria Recording Studios in Miami, when I was studying music/video management many years ago and we had our audio engineering class, I had the honour of being shown the very piano Clapton played during that solo towards the end. I remember touching it, thinking “wow” 🙂

nrhatch - August 29, 2010

According to something I read while researching this post, Layla was recorded in two places on different dates, then spliced together in the studio!

That wowed me.

BTW: I didn’t know that Clapton played the piano. I thought he was a Guitar man, not someone who tickled the ivories. : )

Agatha82 - August 30, 2010

That’s amazing, the engineer who told us this had worked with some very famous people so I definitely believed him but I had no idea it had been recorded in two places, very cool.

A lot of musicians are multi talented and play more than one instrument, it just comes naturally I think. I started on guitar, moved on to bass but I never mastered the piano.

nrhatch - August 30, 2010

Jim Gordon who wrote and played Layla was also a drummer according to the linked article. ; )

I started on piano, switched to clarinet, and ended on the guitar. The guitar suited me ~ portable, and perfect accompaniment for singing.

I took the guitar to St. Thomas and bartered my way on to the boat by entertaining the passengers. I’ve sung in a few weddings, accompanying myself with the guitar, and I’ve played a few Open Mike nights.

I’ve developed no true proficiency, but have enjoyed myself immensely.

2. nrhatch - August 29, 2010

Found it (Wikipedia/Layla):

One night a few weeks later, Clapton returned to the studio. Gordon was playing a piano piece he had composed separately and Clapton, impressed by the piece, convinced Gordon to let it be used with the song.

“Layla”‘s second movement was recorded three weeks after the first had been completed, with Gordon playing his piano part, Clapton playing acoustic guitar, and Allman playing slide guitar.

After Dowd spliced the two movements together, “Layla” was complete.

Agatha82 - August 30, 2010

Interesting…maybe the engineer got things confused lol. Clapton used Criteria recording studios for another album I think as well. It’s an amazing recording studio with lots of history.

nrhatch - August 30, 2010

Maybe it’s like the game “telephone” where tour guides change the story a bit each time:

* This is the piano played during the Coda in Layla
* Clapton sat at this piano while Gordon played Layla
* Clapton used this piano to record Layla
* Clapton played this piano to record Layla
* Clapton built this piano with his own hands & used it to record Layla
* Etc.

3. withduckandgoose - August 29, 2010

i ADORE eric clapton…and if he wrote me a song, i’d fall in love with him too, lol.

i do have to say though that i prefer the acoustic version of that song. the original faster version kind of rubs me the wrong way. good choice on his part to slow it down and try again.

nrhatch - August 29, 2010

I love the accoustic version too, but it doesn’t have much of a coda. : )

I have 7-10 Clapton CD’s and one of the 3 songs sung during our wedding ceremony:

Let It Grow!

Good luck in the baby contest!

4. cindy - August 30, 2010

I also like the original best.

nrhatch - August 30, 2010

There is something about it …

Knowing that piano is coming to link up with the guitar delights me every time.

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