“It was a make-believe band [Derek – Ed], we were all hiding inside it…I mean, being Derek was a cover for the fact I was trying to steal someone else’s wife. That was one of the reasons for doing it, so that I could write that song, and even use another name for Pattie [Boyd, George Harrison’s wife – Ed]. So Derek and Layla – it wasn’t real at all.”Eric Clapton (122)

Thorn Tree In The Garden

“I had a little dog and a cat. I was living at the plantation in the valley – you remember the shootout at the plantation in the Leon Russell song. I was living there with Indian Head Davis and Chuck Blackwell and Jimmy Constantine – there were about 13 of us in this house in Sherman Oaks in the valley. I had a little dog and a little cat. One guy told me to get rid of my dog and cat because there wasn’t room. I took my cat out to Delaney’s house in Hawthorn, and when I got back my little dog was gone. This one guy in the house had taken my dog and done away with it. That was my only friend – this was the first time I had been anywhere outside of Macon, Georgia or the Memphis area. All of this was new to me, and I have an animal thing. I wanted to punch him out, and I thought, “No, you can’t do that,” so I went to my bedroom and sat down. I was thinking about a snake in the grass and some other ideas and I thought, “He’s the thorn tree in my garden.” I had this beautiful garden built in my consciousness where I was safe and secure with my little dog and my cat, and there’s this thorn tree – that would be the guy who had my little dog put away. I wrote the song and it just came out of me. I hadn’t even put it on paper, and I went out of my bedroom and knocked on his door. I said, “Come here, I want to play you something.” We sat down at the table in the kitchen and I played him that song. He said, “Wow, Bobby, that’s beautiful.” I said, “You’re the thorn tree. There’s going to come a day when I have the opportunity to record this song, and the whole world will know about it. You’ll know what you did to me for the rest of your life.” I didn’t realize it was going to go on the end of one of the biggest-selling records of all time. That was the furthest thing from my mind.”Bobby Whitlock (123)