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Pattie or Jane? Rock’s Most Famous Lady

Jane and PattieSo, who do you like the most? Jane Herman or Pattie Boyd?. Kelly, I’m not familiar with either of these ladies, who are they? I’m looking for the woman who has inspired the most rock’n’roll or pop hits, and the best as I can tell it comes down to these two lovely dames.

Pattie Boyd has a better chance of being known by my generation since she was George Harrison’s girlfriend and then wife, before she became Eric Clapton’s wife. George and Eric were best friends and there was no animosity when she left George for Eric, as George had moved on. Pattie was a real looker, even with a gap in her front teeth. She was a model and aspiring actress when she met George during the filming of “A Hard Day’s Night”, where he promptly asked her:  “Will you marry me? Well, if you won’t marry me, will you have dinner with me tonight?”

Jane Herman is less well known, but she was the impetus of Maroon 5’s “Songs About Jane” album. Jane was Adam Levine’s (the frontman for Maroon 5) high school sweetheart and love until the relationship finally went sour. According to Levine, there is a least a sentence in each song on the album about Jane. Let me say this, Adam Levine doesn’t date ugly women. Jane is a contributor to Vogue, where she was once an editor, and Jane’s claim to fame now is a blog about jeans, called jeanstories.com.

An analysis of the songs about these ladies is quite amazing. Boyd inspired, according to George and Eric, the following songs: “For You Blue”, “Something” and “I Need You” (Beatles, but George was the author), “Layla” and “Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad” (Derek & The Dominoes, but Eric was the author) and “She’s Waiting” and “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric.

“For You Blue” was the B side on the single that featured Side A “The Long and Winding Road”. The single went to #1, but that was undoubtedly on the strength of side A.  “I Need You” was a quality Beatles song, but it wasn’t released as a single so there is no chart ranking. “Something” was a monstrous #1 hit for the Beatles. Acclaimed by his fellow Beatles and other artists as the best love song ever, “Something” remains a huge hit on today’s radio.

Eric’s infatuation with his best friend’s wife resulted in their relationship taking flight in 1974, with George’s blessing. Eric’s songs about Pattie did well on the charts. “Layla”, critically acclaimed now as one of the greatest songs of all time, attained a chart ranking of #7. A bit of local talent helped out on “Layla”, that being none other than Duane Allman. Eric was a huge fan of Duane’s, and vice versa. Duane was invited to the studio by Eric and told to bring his guitar, where they became instant buddies. Duane’s work on “Layla” included the rift that made Layla the fantastic song it is today.

“Wonderful Tonight”, written as Eric waited for Pattie to get ready for a Paul McCartney party, climbed to #16 on the charts. “Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad” was not released as a single, but the album “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs” charted at #16. “Bell Bottom Blues”, inspired by Patti asking Eric to bring her some Bell bottom jeans from America, ranked only #91 but is a staple on soft rock stations. Eric wrote other songs about his relationship with Pattie, but these were the most notable.

Maroon 5’s “Songs About Jane” album peaked at #6 on the US Hot 200. The song “Harder to Breathe” peaked at #18 on the US charts. “This Love” hit #1 on the charts and won Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals at the 2006 Grammy Awards. “She Will Be Loved” was the third huge single off the album and hit #5 on the US charts. “Sunday Morning”, the fourth single off the Jane album, hit #31. The fifth, and final single, was “Must Get Out” which failed to chart.

Maroon 5’s “Songs About Jane” was certainly successful, but Jane didn’t inspire the volume of songs, the chart rankings and the duration that Pattie Boyd’s love charms created. Pattie remains the most written about female, in terms of rankings, of anyone in history. If you have someone you think tops Pattie, tell me about her.

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