Patricia Anne Boyd|
17 March 1944
Taunton, Somerset, England
(m. 1966; div. 1977)
(m. 1979; div. 1989)
Colin Ian Langdon Boyd|
Diana Frances Boyd
|Height||5 ft 6 in (168 cm)|
Patricia Anne Boyd (born 17 March 1944) is an English model and photographer. She was one of the leading international models during the 1960s and, with Jean Shrimpton, epitomised the British female "look" of the era. Boyd was married to George Harrison and experienced the height of the Beatles' popularity as well as sharing in their embrace of Indian spirituality. She was subsequently married to Harrison's friend and fellow musician Eric Clapton. As a muse for the two guitarists, she inspired Harrison's songs such as "If I Needed Someone", "Something" and "For You Blue", and Clapton's "Layla" and "Wonderful Tonight".
In August 2007, Boyd published her autobiography Wonderful Today. Her photographs of Harrison and Clapton, titled Through the Eye of a Muse, have been exhibited in Dublin, Sydney, Toronto, Moscow, London, Almaty, Uppsala and throughout the United States.
Boyd was born on 17 March 1944, in Taunton, Somerset, and was the first child to Colin Ian Langdon Boyd and Diana Frances Boyd (née Drysdale). The Boyds moved to West Lothian in Scotland, where her brother, Colin, was born in 1946. They then moved to Guildford, Surrey, where her sister, Jenny Boyd, was born in 1947. Boyd's youngest sister, Paula, was born at a hospital in Nakuru, Kenya, in 1951. The Boyds lived in Nairobi from 1948 to 1953, after her father's discharge from the Royal Air Force. The family returned to England, where Boyd gained two half-brothers, David (b. 1954) and Robert Jr. (b. 1955).
Boyd attended Hazeldean School in Putney, the St Agnes and St Michael Convent Boarding School in East Grinstead, and St Martha's Convent in Hadley Wood, Hertfordshire. She achieved three GCE O level passes in 1961. She moved to London in 1962 and worked as a shampoo girl at Elizabeth Arden's salon. A client who worked for a fashion magazine then inspired her to begin work as a model.
Boyd began her fashion career in 1962, modelling in London, New York City and Paris. She was photographed by David Bailey and Terence Donovan, and appeared on the cover of Vogue. Boyd appeared on the cover of the UK and Italian editions of Vogue magazine in 1969, with other popular models of the day, such as Twiggy, who based her early modelling appearance on Boyd. In the description of journalist Tom Hibbert, Boyd and Jean Shrimpton became "international celebrities" as the embodiment of the "British female 'look' – mini-skirt, long, straight hair and wide-eyed loveliness" that defined women's fashions following the arrival of the Beatles and other British Invasion musical acts in 1964.
Boyd appeared in a television advertising campaign for Smith's crisps, directed by Richard Lester. Lester then cast her as a schoolgirl in the Beatles' 1964 film A Hard Day's Night, where she met and befriended the group's lead guitarist, George Harrison. Her only line in the film was asking "Prisoners?", but she later appeared in the "I Should Have Known Better" segment.
Boyd's modelling career skyrocketed as a result of her subsequent romantic involvement with Harrison. She and Harrison were among the leading couples in the Swinging London era, when, according to a 1966 article in the Daily Express, "actors, pop singers, hairdressers, and models" were London's new "privileged class". UK underground writer Barry Miles later described her as "by far the most glamorous" of all the Beatles' wives and girlfriends, while author Shawn Levy writes that, even more so than Jane Asher, the London-born stage actress who was Paul McCartney's girlfriend for much of the 1960s, Boyd epitomised what "sixties stardom was meant to confer upon its chosen".[nb 1]
At the request of Gloria Stavers, Boyd began writing a column, titled "Patti's Letter from London", for the American teen magazine 16. According to Hibbert: "She reported on the latest trends in Carnaby Street, informed readers as to what the Beatles and Stones were wearing at the moment, and gave advice on how to turn dark and curly hair straight and blonde." However, with Boyd the target of hostility from the Beatles' female fans, Harrison insisted she abandon her career, to ensure their privacy. In July 1968, she and her sister Jenny opened a boutique in London's fashionable Chelsea Market. They named it "Jennifer Juniper" after Donovan's song of the same name. Boyd resumed her modelling career in the early 1970s, promoting designs by Ossie Clark.
Boyd began taking photographs of musicians and other friends during the 1960s. In a 2008 interview, she said that it was not until 2004 that she felt "emotionally ready" to revisit the images. She also said that her lack of professional status probably made for a more intimate and authentic mood in her work, since her subjects were relaxed in her company. Boyd first exhibited her photos of Harrison and Clapton at the San Francisco Art Exchange on Valentine's Day 2005, in a show titled Through the Eye of a Muse. The exhibition appeared in San Francisco and London during 2006, and in La Jolla, California in 2008. Through the Eye of a Muse was also shown in Dublin and in Toronto in 2008, and at the Blender Gallery in Sydney and in Almaty, Kazakhstan, in 2009 and 2010.
Boyd became involved in charity work following her separation from Clapton in the late 1980s. In 1991, she co-founded SHARP (Self Help Addiction Recovery Program) with Barbara Bach, the second wife of former Beatle Ringo Starr.
Boyd was in a serious relationship with photographer Eric Swayne when she met Harrison, on 2 March 1964, and so declined his initial date proposal. Several days later, after ending her relationship with Swayne, she went back to work on A Hard Day's Night, and Harrison asked her out on a date for a second time; she said "yes". The couple went to a private gentlemen's club called the Garrick Club, chaperoned by the Beatles' manager, Brian Epstein. According to Boyd one of the first things Harrison said to her on the film set was: "Will you marry me? Well, if you won't marry me, will you have dinner with me tonight?"
Boyd had her first encounter with LSD in early 1965 when the couple's dentist, John Riley, secretly laced her coffee with the drug during a dinner party at his home. As she was getting ready to leave with Harrison and John and Cynthia Lennon, Riley told them that he had spiked their drinks and tried to persuade them to stay. Outside, Boyd was in an agitated state from the drug and threatened to break a store window, but Harrison pulled her away. Later, when Boyd and her group were in a lift on their way up to the Ad Lib club, they mistakenly believed it was on fire.
Later in 1965, Boyd moved into Kinfauns, in Esher, Surrey, with Harrison. The couple were engaged on 25 December 1965, and married on 21 January 1966 in a ceremony at Epsom register office. In his "How a Beatle Lives" profile in the Evening Standard in March 1966, Harrison stressed the equality of their relationship and credited Boyd with broadening his outlook. In September and October, Boyd and Harrison spent six weeks in India, as guests of Indian classical musician Ravi Shankar. While in Bombay, as Harrison continued his sitar studies under Shankar's tutelage, Boyd began learning to play the dilruba, a bow-played string instrument. Due to the attention of fans and the press, they left the city with Shankar and stayed on houseboats on Dal Lake in Kashmir. On their return to England, Boyd and Harrison continued to adhere to a lifestyle of yoga and vegetarianism, and Boyd received further tuition on the dilruba from Shiv Dayal Batish.[nb 2]
On 25 June 1967, Boyd was among the crowd of friends who participated in the Beatles' Our World broadcast of "All You Need Is Love".[nb 3] Boyd shared her husband's interest in Eastern mysticism. She became a member of the Spiritual Regeneration Movement in February 1967 and, being keen to meet the movement's leader, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, suggested that she and Harrison and the other Beatles attend his lecture in London on 24 August that year. Impressed with the Maharishi, Boyd and the other Beatles' wives and girlfriends accompanied the band to his seminar on Transcendental Meditation in Bangor, the following day. Boyd accompanied Harrison on the Beatles' visit to the Maharishi's ashram in Rishikesh, India, in February 1968. That same year, she told Beatles biographer Hunter Davies that the four Beatles had a bond that she nor any other wife could penetrate; she also said she wished that the band would use their fame and influence to publicly further a cause, as Marlon Brando had done on behalf of homeless children. Boyd provided inspiration for several of Harrison's Beatles compositions, including "I Need You", "If I Needed Someone", "Love You To", "Something" and "For You Blue".[nb 4] In March 1969, as part of the British authorities' intolerant attitude towards the Beatles in the late 1960s, Boyd and Harrison were arrested at Kinfauns for possession of cannabis.
In March 1970, a month before the Beatles' break-up, Boyd moved with Harrison to Friar Park, a Victorian neo-Gothic mansion in Henley-on-Thames. By this point, Harrison's devotion to Indian spirituality, particularly the Hare Krishna movement, had begun to divide the couple. They were also unsuccessful in starting a family, and Harrison would not consider adoption.[nb 5] Boyd resumed her modelling career in May 1971, in defiance of Harrison's spiritual convictions. In 1973, she had an affair with Faces guitarist Ronnie Wood. Boyd said her decision to leave Harrison in 1974 was based largely on his repeated infidelities, culminating in his affair with Starr's wife Maureen, which Boyd called "the final straw".[nb 6]
Author Ian Inglis, discussing Harrison's 1973 song "So Sad", describes Boyd as the musician's "closest companion" and someone who shared in his "triumphs and tragedies". Among these key events, Inglis lists the international Beatlemania phenomenon, the Beatles' decision to retire from live performance, the 1967 Summer of Love, Epstein's death, the creation of Apple Corps, the Beatles' exploration of Indian spirituality, the band's break-up, Harrison's ascendancy as a songwriter and then as a solo artist, and his Bangladesh aid project. The couple's divorce was finalised on 9 June 1977. Boyd's solicitor, Paddy Grafton-Green of the London firm Theodore Goddard, later remarked on the sensitivity shown by each party towards the other, which he found particularly rare in his experience of high-stakes divorces. He said: "There was no overreacting, no greed or playing with each other's emotions – I wish all divorces were so well handled."
In the late 1960s, Clapton and Harrison became close friends, and began writing and recording music together. This is when Clapton fell in love with Boyd. In an effort to satisfy his infatuation, Clapton briefly dated Boyd's sister Paula. His 1970 album with Derek and the Dominos, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, was written to proclaim his love for Boyd, particularly the hit song "Layla". Clapton drew inspiration from The Story of Layla and Majnun by Persian writer Nizami, casting himself as the poet driven to madness by his unattainable love. When Boyd rebuffed his advances in late 1970, Clapton descended into heroin addiction and self-imposed exile for three years. Once cured of his addiction in 1974, Clapton again pursued Boyd, who now agreed to leave Harrison. She and Clapton were married in 1979. They remained friends with Harrison, who took to calling Clapton his "husband-in-law".
Boyd soon struggled within the marriage and took to drinking heavily, but these difficulties were masked by her public image with Clapton. He later admitted to being a "full-blown" alcoholic who was often violent towards his wife. Boyd left Clapton in April 1987 and divorced him in 1989. Her stated reasons were Clapton's years of alcoholism, as well as his numerous affairs, including one with Italian model Lory Del Santo. In 1989, her divorce was granted on the grounds of "infidelity and unreasonable behaviour". She subsequently suspected that Clapton's pursuit of her when she was married to Harrison "had more to do" with the competitive aspect of the two musicians' friendship, and that "Eric just wanted what George had."
In 2007, Rolling Stone referred to Boyd as a "legendary rock muse" for her role in inspiring the music of Harrison and then Clapton. Roger Cormier of mental floss similarly recognises her as "one of the most important muses in rock and roll history". In addition to "Layla", she was the inspiration for Clapton's songs "Bell Bottom Blues" and "Wonderful Tonight".
Boyd met property developer Rod Weston in 1991. The couple were married on 29 April 2015 in a ceremony held at the Register Office in Chelsea Old Town Hall, London. Weston was quoted as saying, "It's almost our silver anniversary so we thought we had better get on with it."
In August 2007, Headline Review published Boyd's autobiography, titled Wonderful Today and co-written with journalist and broadcaster Penny Junor. Re-titled Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Me for the US market, the book contains many of Boyd's photographs. At the time, she was said to be looking forward to the idea of her book competing against Clapton's autobiography, which was published concurrently. Boyd carried out interviews to promote the release.
Reviewing Wonderful Today for The Daily Telegraph, Lynn Barber described it as "absolutely gripping" and a memoir that "gives more insight into the weirdness of rock-star life than anything I have ever read". In the United States, the book debuted at the top of the New York Times Best Seller list.
divorce was finalized in 1977
ceremony took place on March 27, 1979
The couple were formally divorced in 1989.
And after a lifetime in front of the cameras, Pattie Boyd was still smiling as she married her third husband in an intimate ceremony yesterday.
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