← Eric and Pattie (circa long time ago).
In my humble opinion, one of the most beautiful songs of all time, both lyrically and musically, is Eric Clapton’s Wonderful Tonight.
It was written for his then girlfriend and future wife, Pattie Boyd. His nickname for her, was Nell.
In his memoir entitled Clapton, Eric gives us the context of the song’s composition:
“What it was about, for me, was drinking and escaping my responsibilities as a bandleader, so I could just hang out and play for sheer enjoyment, and the music reflected this. Very homespun and mostly acoustic, it was in just this spirit that the song ‘Wonderful Tonight’ was written. I wrote the words for this song one night at Hurtwood [his estate] while I was waiting for Nell to get dressed to go out to dinner. We had a busy social life at that time, and Nell was invariably late getting ready. I was downstairs, waiting, playing the guitar to kill time. Eventually I got fed up and went upstairs to the bedroom where she was still deciding what to wear.
I remember telling her, “Look, you look wonderful, okay? Please don’t change again. We must go or we’ll be late."
It was the classic domestic situation; I was ready and she wasn’t. I went back downstairs to my guitar, and the words of the song just came out very quickly. They were written in about ten minutes, and actually written in anger and frustration. I wasn’t that enamored with it as a song. It was just a ditty, as far as I was concerned, that I could just as easily have thrown away.”
I’m glad he didn’t throw it away.
The song ended up on the Slowhand album, released in 1977.
Here it is [below] performed on a recent concert DVD.
I love the arrangement on this, and of particular note is the lovely Katie Kissoon on vocals at the end. It’s worth waiting for… oh yes!
by Eric Clapton
It's late in the evening, she's wondering what clothes to wear.
She puts on her make-up and brushes her long blonde hair.
And then she asks me, "Do I look all right?"
And I say, "Yes, you look wonderful tonight."
We go to a party and everyone turns to see
This beautiful lady that's walking around with me.
And then she asks me, "Do you feel all right?"
And I say, "Yes, I feel wonderful tonight."
I feel wonderful because I see
The love light in your eyes.
And the wonder of it all
Is that you just don't realize how much I love you.
It's time to go home now and I've got an aching head,
So I give her the car keys and she helps me to bed.
And then I tell her, as I turn out the light,
I say, "My darling, you were wonderful tonight.
Oh my darling, you were wonderful tonight."
← The new memoir, by Pattie Boyd.
Why, oh why do you girls take so long to get ready, when you were already so gorgeous before you started?
When you already looked so wonderful, tonight?