George Harrison always knew there was something special about muse, fashion model and photographer, Pattie Boyd. She was married to the Quiet Beatle from 1966-77 and then to his best mate and guitar God, Eric Clapton from 1979-89. She was the inspiration for many great love songs, including Harrison’s “Something” and Clapton’s “Layla” and “Wonderful Tonight.” She has lived an exotic and glamorous life with rock stars and this charmed existence is the subject of a speaking tour and exhibition at Sydney’s Blender Gallery this May.
Boyd will chat with Rockwiz’s Brian Nankervis in Sydney and Melbourne this week. Some fortunate Sydneysiders also got a taster of these events when Boyd appeared at the Blender Gallery on Saturday. She spoke about her photographs, including ones she took herself and others from her private collection and was generous in answering lots of different questions.
The striking shot of Boyd and Harrison in front of their rose bush was described by Boyd as one of the “World’s first selfies.” She’d set up the camera on a tripod with a timer but the shot took some time for it to take. This is why George Harrison looks a little preoccupied while a pensive and anxious-looking Boyd is in the foreground wondering if this picture will “even work.”
Another shot was taken in 1972 from a shoot that would feature in the gatefold of Harrison’s album, Living In The Material World. Boyd got a great picture after Harrison had just cracked open a bottle of champagne. Other intimate shots of Harrison include a stunning one of him lounging in bed after the pair had spent months chanting away in the Himalayas. Boyd was integral in introducing Harrison to meditation, mysticism and Eastern religions.
The pictures of Clapton are also quite candid and personal. He’s seen seated and chatting with Mick Jagger before Live Aid and at the wheel of one of his expensive sports cars. Ronnie Wood and Clapton also pose with their guitars for Boyd and there is a shot taken during the rehearsals for The Last Waltz film with songstress, Joni Mitchell front and centre. Boyd is and was acquainted with many famous people. She remembered the famous Australians living in London during the sixties, like artist, Martin Sharp and writer and Oz magazine founder, Richard Neville.
This exhibition is proof that Boyd was on-hand to capture some significant moments in musical history, even if she may not have realised how important these shots were at the time. She is also a fascinating raconteur full of exciting anecdotes and stories from back in the day. Boyd’s exhibition celebrates the warmth and passion found in two of rock’s most famous couples and includes never-before-seen pictures. This is ultimately a fitting tribute to the gorgeous and intelligent lady who was there at the centre of it all.
Pattie Boyd will be appearing at An Evening with Pattie Boyd: George Harrison, Eric Clapton & Me in Sydney and Melbourne on May 15 and 16. For more information and tickets please visit: https://www.pattieboydtour.com/
Pattie Boyd’s photo exhibition is part of Sydney’s annual Head On Photo Festival and runs from now until June 2 and details can be found at: https://blendergallery.com/