Music Lyric Sheets: Everything I know about Layla

Eric Clapton is to auction 100 of his guitars to raise money for Crossroads, the treatment centre for drug addicts which he founded in Antigua last year. Among the guitars is "Brownie", the Stratocaster on which he played his 1972 hit "Layla".

Once upon a time, one summer

When I was witless and 19

I arranged to meet this girl in a pub

Somewhere on a hill in St Albans

We'd been going out for several years

In teenage terms. At least two months,

And it was grinding to a tortuous end.

Her hanging out with a hipper set

Me, frantically following her around.

It being "underground rock night"

The place was suitably darkened

With two red lights and chemical slides

This was going some. For St Albans.

The DJ played a song called "Layla"

Which up until then, I had never heard.

Instantly, it prompted knowledgeable

And self-conscious headshaking

From my girlfriend and her new set.

You know how when you're young

The playing of certain pop songs

Can be almost a declaration of war?

Well, with "Layla" it was just like that.

After four Triple As (strong barley-wine)

And several attempts at forced gaiety

Which cuts no ice with females. Ever.

I'm afraid I lost it and became noisy.

After being asked to leave the table,

"Uncool" and "immature" were the charges

All the long lonely way home to heartbreak

"Layla" would not get out of my head.

And then the next day and day after that

For the whole of my last teenage summer

The song was on the radio. And never once

Did I ever listen to the lyrics. Which are

Actually about a geezer being dumped.

And now, the guitar with which Eric Clapton

Wrought the riff for this wretchedness

Is going to be up for auction at Christie's.

Perhaps I'll go along. And try to outbid her.

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