The Beatles – If I Needed Someone and Something. Eric Clapton- Layla and Wonderful Tonight. Donovan – Jennifer Juniper
The Boyd sisters, Pattie and Jennifer, are the benchmark for girls who have collectively inspired the most number of famous songs, beginning with elder sister and Swinging 60’s London model Pattie, who met George Harrison on the set of A Hard Day’s Night in 1964 (Pattie below with Paul McCartney). George was smitten, he asked the doe-eyed nineteen- year-old former convent-educated girl for a date, and she rebuffed him. But his persistence paid off and they were married in 1966 (see further below), George’s If I Needed Someone was inspired by Pattie and featured on the Rubber Soul album (1965), but it was Something that would be George’s definitive ode to Pattie, and it surfaced on the Beatles Abbey Road album (1969). After the demise of the Beatles, George became preoccupied with his solo career and other interests, namely his garden at Friar Park and the teachings of Hare Krishna. In the video all the Beatles appear with their current partners – Pattie (George), Linda (Paul), Maureen (Ringo) and Yoko (John), but they were not filmed together, evidence that the band was breaking up, so were the couples, who would all be parted in the future.
The increasingly neglected Pattie soon found comfort in the arms of George’s friend Eric Clapton and in 1970 Clapton played his ode to Pattie at his apartment in South Kensington, it was Layla, and he had recorded it under the pseudonym of Derek and the Dominos, the cover art featured a stylised image of Pattie (below). George learnt of the affair and for the next three years his marriage endured his heroin addiction, and affairs with Alice Ormsby-Gore, Ronnie Woods wife Krissie, and Ringo’s wife Maureen Starkey, until Pattie divorced him in 1977.
Boyd would marry Clapton in 1979 (below right) and he would write the ballad Wonderful Tonight about her, following a chance remark by Pattie when she asked him if she looked all right before they departed home for a charity concert they were attending, the couple were divorced in 1989 after a turbulent decade of alcohol and substance abuse.
Pattie’s younger sister Jenny was also a model and member of the Beatles inner circle after her sister married George Harrison. She appeared in a photo shoot with Donovan (together below) for his album A Gift From A Flower To A Garden in 1967, and he was inspired to write Jennifer Juniper about her. She had a brief fling with the Scottish troubadour, but would ultimately marry Mick Fleetwood in 1970, and following their divorce, hook up with former King Crimson drummer Ian Wallace in 1984, Jenny definitely had a penchant for drummers.
The song is heavily coded with inspirational milestones and memories in the life of James Taylor and it was the standout track on his 1970 album Sweet Baby James. Taylor had battled heroin addiction for some time after his US band Flying Machine broke up (“Sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground…”) and Taylor headed to London to record with the Beatles Apple label. Whilst there a close friend, Suzanne Schnerr (below), committed suicide in New York, but his friends concealed the news from Taylor, concerned that it might distract him whilst recording overseas (“Just yesterday morning they let me know you were gone/ Suzanne the plans they made put an end to you…”).As Taylor’s drug addiction intensified he was placed in rehab in Manhattan (“body aching and my time is at hand”), and then received electro-convulsive therapy at the Austin Riggs hospital in Massachusetts, which was the “fire” of the song’s title.
Donald Fagen and Walter Becker met whilst studying at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson in New York in 1967, they shared an interest in jazz music, and formed a student band, in which Chevvy Chase was the drummer. They performed on campus and at other local venues, which was where Rikki Ducornet (above), a young faculty wife expecting her first child, caught their act, and was impressed. Fagen was smitten and he gave her his number, hoping to date her, unaware she was already married and pregnant, but she lost the note. Ducornet went on to become a famous writer and Fagen found fame as half of the celebrated performance ensemble Steely Dan, they included the song Rickki Don’t Lose That Number on their second album Pretzel Logic in 1974, it became a timeless classic.
The cover of a Life magazine edition in 1962 featured a photograph of a young girl in a smart riding outfit cantering around a paddock, the caption read “The Fun of Being Caroline Kennedy – On Her Pony Macaroni” – the young equestrian was 5-year-old Caroline Kennedy, daughter of the US President John F. Kennedy (pictured together below). Neil Diamond was moved by the innocence and carefree nature of the young girl and mentally filed away the image for future reference. In 1969 Diamond was in the process of divorcing his first wife Jayne Posner, with whom he had two daughters, Marjorie and Elyn, and it was the painful disintegration of his family which prompted him to return to the memory of that innocent image from seven years ago. Sitting in a hotel room in Memphis he wrote Sweet Caroline in about an hour, both the music and the lyrics, it became one of his biggest hits, but he promised himself he would never reveal the inspiration for the song until he had first told Caroline Kennedy. Invited to perform at Caroline’s fiftieth birthday in 2007, he privately confided in her that she was his inspiration for the song, Caroline was touched and grateful.
Patti D’Arbanville was a model, actress and member of Andy Warhol’s Factory when as a sixteen-year-old she appeared in his risque movie Flesh, she subsequently met and began co-habiting with Cat Stevens in London in the early 1970’s. Stevens wrote Lady D’Arbanville which was included on his hit album Mona Bone Jakon, in 1970. He was inspired by D‘Arbanville’s departure for New York on a modelling assignment, about which Stevens was depressed, and seemed to equate it with her death, as depicted in the lyrics to the song “Lady D’Arbanville why do you sleep so still”.A year later he had more reason to feel grief-stricken as she left the Cat for Mick Jagger, which again sparked his creative urge with the song Wild World, and here he provided some over-protective words of advice to his departing muse “Now that I’ve lost everything to you/ You say you want to start something new/ And it’s breaking my heart you’re leaving/ Baby I’m grieving/You know I’ve seen a lot of what the world can do/ And it’s breaking my heart in two/ Cause I never want to see you sad girl/ Don’t be a bad girl.”