By JOHN E. BIALAS
Yeah, this post’s lead image features the cover of Pattie Boyd’s memoir, “Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Me.”
I enjoyed reading the book shortly after it was published in 2007 because I was curious to know about the rock music muse who was also among the influencers in the fashion world of London’s Swinging Sixties.
“Something.” “Layla.” Youth. Sophistication. Glamour. Hippie chic.
The look: “Mini-skirt, long straight hair and wide-eyed loveliness.” Those are the words of the late English music journalist and film critic Tom Hibbert.
I’ve often wondered if Boyd was on stage when Clapton performed at City Park Stadium in New Orleans in 1974, 10 years after the Beatles played there. I was a good distance from the stage at the Clapton concert and I thought I saw her standing there. If you were there and saw her, please tell me.
I remember seeing singer Yvonne Elliman, who is just one month younger than me. She was with the band as the backup vocalist and Clapton wrote about her in his memoir, published the same year as Boyd’s. Oh, Clapton also wrote about Boyd, but I bet you know that.
Norman wrote about Boyd in his 2018 biography about her second husband: Clapton, a friend of George Harrison, the Beatle who was married to Boyd from 1966 to 1977. Clapton was married to Boyd from 1979 to 1989 and Boyd’s perhaps-the-third-time-is-a charm wedding didn’t come until 2015, this time to property developer Rod Weston, when she was 71 years old and he was 61.
You may already know that info, but it’s obligatory when someone, anyone writes about the Divine Miss B, as the young kids like to call her.
Her bio is repeated all over Reddit, where Pattie Boyd search results came up with such posts as “Pattie Boyd ex wife of both George Harrison and Eric Clapton was the inspiration for the following songs; If I needed someone, Something, For you Blue, Layla and wonderful tonight”; “Three of the most iconic rock songs ever made (Something – Beatles/Harrison —Layla, Wonderful Tonight – Clapton) were about this woman”; and “1 Woman inspired 2 musical greats to write 3 hit songs – “Something”, George Harrison (her husband) – “Layla”, Eric Clapton (complicated) –- “Wonderful Tonight”, Eric Clapton (her boyfriend).”
That’s plenty enough for you to get the idea.
Then there’s outright bullcrap speculation and misinformation.
Wild and crazy. False. Not true.
I’m talking about the Tumblr post titled “1966 – Pattie Boyd posing to the album Otis Blue/Otis Readding Sings Soul, From NME Magazine.”
Check out the snip.
Incorrect: “Pattie Boyd posing to the album “Otis Blue/Otis Readding Sings Soul.”
Oh, I want to rewrite that sentence and fix the glaring typo.
Correct comment: “The model is not Pattie Boyd.”
The Otis Redding website says “the woman on the cover has never been identified, but it is most likely German model Dagmar Dreger.”
In 2015, the 50th anniversary of “Otis Blue,” the Otis Redding estate went to Facebook with this post: “SOLVE ONE OF MUSIC’S GREAT MYSTERIES!!! WHO IS THE WOMAN ON THE COVER OF OTIS BLUE?
“The photographer, Peter Sahula, thinks that it might be a model he worked with regularly named DAGMAR DREGER.”
The guesses: Inger Stevens, Dusty Springfield, Joyce Ingalls, Nancy Sinatra, Dorothy Docherty, Cilla Black, Julie London, Bo Derek, Sandy Smith and Angie Dickinson.
Anybody know if the mystery was solved?
I know this to be true: I really like the cover of Boyd’s autobiography, where my copy is among many stacks at home, and a young woman with an Instagram account recreated the image in a post on Aug. 20, 2020.
Her name is Kitt Carson and I would snip the photo from her IG, but I don’t want to get in a copyright dispute and I’m too lazy to seek permission because I’m on a tight deadline to publish an article in September. This just happens to be the last day of the month.
So the easiest thing to do is link to the picture and here it is: https://www.instagram.com/p/CDZ1mpMMIar/
The post has received nearly 1,300 likes.
Her bio is a word list: “60s & 70s music & fashion enthusiast,” “chicago,” “model,” “grad student” and “retired tuba player.”
The compliments for her Pattie posts, and she gets many compliments, include: “Are you Pattie Boyd’s twin!? You look exactly like her!” “PATTIE IS THAT YOU😍😍.” “OMG this is absolutely incredible!!!! 😍😍💖💖 You look JUST like her, but even more so!!! 😍😍🔥🔥”
I’m not sure how many other young 21st-century women model themselves the Pattie Boyd way, but the IG has pages devoted to P.B.
I suspect this has something to do with what is called “The Taylor Swift Effect,” the singer’s 2018 Harper’s Bazaar interview with Boyd.
Swift was on the cover, where she appeared as a 28-year-old Boyd lookalike, and the two teamed up for a photoshoot.
Swift, in advance of the issue, wrote this on her Instagram:
I’m assuming Swifties and non-Swifties saw the love, became Miss Pattie fans and started creating Gram accounts dedicated to Pattie Boyd. I’m thinking of pattieboydaesthetics, launched in 2020; pattieeboyd, 2019; pattie.boydd, 2018; and sisters.boyd, 2018, which also features Jenny Boyd, Pattie’s sister.
The sisters account includes one of the grooviest reader comments you will ever see: “Pattie, genetically blessed for your satisfaction.”
Boyd started her own Instagram, pattieboydofficial, in 2019 and the most popular of her 92 posts is the September 2020 video about her new food podcast. The post comes with the pandemic-appropriate #lockdownrecipes hashtag.
I believe the photo for the “Wonderful Tonight” cover might come from a 1968 Robert Whitaker shoot for a Vogue UK article titled “Pattie Harrison and The Painted House,” the Harrison home also known as Kinfauns and the acid house. George and Pattie lived in the Surrey home, 30 miles southwest of London, from 1964 to 1970 and they painted it with psychedelic colors.
Boyd told Swift that Kinfauns was “nearly a psychedelic monster,” a description that came 50 years after the Vogue UK story.
An eBay UK seller lists a used copy of the Vogue issue at £90.00 and that doesn’t include postage.
From the seller:
The Painted House has quite a history that fascinates thousands, maybe millions. The People of Pinterest appear to be taken by it based on what I’ve seen and they enjoy pinning images like this one, which is from the Vogue UK article.
I enjoyed my hours of research inspired by the ’68 photo that became the book cover.
Who do I thank? Pattie Boyd and Kitt Carson. Of course.