In an unexpected move, Taylor Swift has broken a long press silence to do an interview and photo shoot for Harpers Bazaar with Pattie Boyd, ex-wife and “muse” of both George Harrison and Eric Clapton, and the inspiration for the songs “Something” and “Wnderful Tonight.”
“Recently I devoured this intriguing woman’s memoir, ‘Wonderful Tonight,’” Swift wrote in a brief introduction. “A few weeks later, I had the pleasure of sitting down with her in the kitchen of her beautiful Kensington flat.” Indeed, Boyd’s story is a page-turner: As a young actress/model, she met Harrison in 1964 on the set of “A Hard Days’ Night” and the two married early in 1966. Yet as the years passed she found herself drawn to Harrison’s best friend and frequent collaborator, Clapton, and a simmering romance brewed between the two that found an outlet in the guitarist’s legendary 1970 song, “Layla,” and other songs from that album. Ultimately Harrison and Boyd divorced and she married Clapton in 1979 — which Harrison ultimately endorsed: “He’s great — I’d rather she be with him than some jerk,” he told the Daily Mail at the time. Boyd and Clapton divorced 10 years later.
The extensive photo shoot is almost entirely of Swift in Swinging London-inspired garb, with a shot of the pair together in matching black outfits. The interview is focused largely on Boyd’s history, yet some commonalities emerge in their discussion about artistic inspiration and dealing with fame.
Swift says, “I wondered who and what situation ‘Wonderful Tonight’ was written about, and now I know it’s about you getting ready for a party, changing clothes, and saying, ‘I don’t like this, I don’t like that.’”
“I came downstairs with trepidation thinking [Eric] was going to be so angry that I’d taken far too long, and instead he said, “Listen, I’ve just written this song,’” Boyd replies, then asks Swift if she doesn’t have similar moments of inspiration.
“There are definitely moments when it’s like this cloud of an idea comes and just lands in front of your face, and you reach up and grab it,” Swift says. “A lot of songwriting is things you learn, structure, and cultivating that skill, and knowing how to craft a song. But there are mystical, magical moments, inexplicable moments when an idea that is fully formed just pops into your head. And that’s the purest part of my job. It can get complicated on every other level, but the songwriting is still the same uncomplicated process it was when I was 12 years old writing songs in my room.”