By Taylor Swift for Harper's Bazaar
Taylor interviews Rock ’n’ Roll icon Pattie Boyd on songwriting, Beatlemania, & the power of being a muse.
In the 1960s and ’70s, Pattie Boyd stood at the intersection of fashion, rock ’n’ roll, art, and fame. Widely considered one of the greatest muses of all time, Boyd, who was married first to
George Harrison and later to Eric Clapton, inspired the hits “Something” by the Beatles, and “Layla” and “Wonderful Tonight” by Clapton. Recently I devoured this intriguing woman’s
memoir, Wonderful Tonight. A few weeks later, I had the pleasure of sitting down with her in the kitchen of her beautiful Kensington flat. As the sunlight poured through the windows, her
blue eyes lit up as she spoke. There is a playful quality about her and, surprisingly—considering how much she has experienced in her life—a lightness.
TAYLOR SWIFT: I have been so excited to talk to you because we’re both women whose lives have been deeply influenced by songs and songwriting. I stand on one side of it, and
you on the other. Does the concept of being called a muse feel like a correct fit?
PATTIE BOYD: I find the concept of being a muse understandable when you think of all the great painters, poets, and photographers who usually have had one or two. The artist
absorbs an element from their muse that has nothing to do with words, just the purity of their essence.
TS: What do you feel might be a factor that artists want to communicate with you through song?
PB: I think in my case both George and Eric had an inability to communicate their feelings through normal conversation. I became a reflection for them.
TS: I wondered who and what situation “Wonderful Tonight” was written about, and now I know it’s about you getting ready for a party, changing clothes, and saying, “I don’t
like this, I don’t like that.”
PB: I came downstairs with trepidation thinking [Eric] was going to be so angry that I’d taken far too long, and instead he said, “Listen, I’ve just written this song.”
TS: That is so incredible to me.
PB: But you must do that too. You must be inspired by a few moments or something, the way your boyfriend turns or says something to you or a little bit of a smile or “Is he
thinking this or that?,” and that would inspire you. Can you write it the moment it’s happening?