Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Good Read - Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Me
This is one of my favorite autobiographies by anyone in the sixties --- not because of the writing (which, at times, is less than superb...example: "We were all out on the town; we were young, we were gorgeous, everything was fabulous".... not exactly Hemingway…), but because of the essence of the story. I am not shy about my love for Pattie Boyd, so when she released her autobiography in late 2007 I was incredibly excited to say the least. It was rumored that Ms. Boyd wrote her account in order to dispel/compete with things that Eric Clapton’s autobiography (also released in late 2007) would claim; both Boyd and Clapton’s accounts match up for the most part (overlooking the George & Eric guitar duel for her honor that Pattie writes about). My favorite part of the book is about her and George’s happier times. She writes about their shy courting sessions on set of “A Hard Day’s Night,” their Tahitian vacation with the Lennons, and just hanging out at their honeymooner home Kinfauns. Things start to go downhill as George becomes more and more immersed in religion and music – oftentimes leaving Pattie alone for hours, days – and selling Kinfauns in favor of the gothic mansion Friar Park without even telling Pattie beforehand. This, alongside George’s philandering and Pattie’s growing relationship with Eric Clapton, led to some of the more heartbreaking chapters of this book. When Pattie tells her husband she’s leaving him to go on tour with Eric in the US, George’s quiet and solemn cry for her to “Please don’t leave” quite literally brought tears to my eyes. The next chapters of the book are even more depressing as Pattie recounts her new beau’s spiraling addictions and how helpless she felt to save him from himself. She also describes how Eric’s many affairs – most notably the conception of his son Conor with another woman – caused her to realize that the years of adoration and devotion Eric pledged to her while she was married to George were just the thrill of the chase for Eric. Though written with the aid of a ghostwriter, Pattie’s book is still immensely personal. It is obvious she hasn’t overcome the pain her second husband put her through, and views her leaving George as ‘the greatest regret of [her] life,’ who she now sees as her soul mate. I think that everyone should read this book, if not just to get a greater understanding of one of the most infamous love triangles in history. With “Wonderful Tonight,” Pattie proves she’s still got us own our knees.