It has always struck me as rather odd that these three song titles are fairly similar. It is almost like a trilogy of names – linked only by similar titles. Here we will take a brief look at three songs called “Layla”, “Lola” and “Lyla”.
Lola – Kinks
What a clever songwriter Ray Davies was. Here was a song that on casual listening is somewhat pure in meaning but delving further into the lyrics reveals a much ‘darker’ story. The story that influenced this song is meant to revolve around a night the bands manager has spent in a nightclub dancing with a transvestite. Whether it was a true incident or not is beside the point; the song speaks for itself. The music was written by Dave Davies, brother Ray taking on the lyric writing. The Kinks hadn’t reached the top 10 in the UK charts since 1967, they needed and wanted another big hit – Lola was to be the answer. On release in 1970, the song raced to number 2 in the UK charts and number 9 in the US. It hit the top spot in Holland, Italy and New Zealand. The Kinks had a worldwide smash hit on their hands – it was enough to keep them in tours for the rest of the decade. An interesting aside about the lyrics of the song: the band wanted to mention Coca-Cola but at the request of the BBC (who don’t like any type of product placement) it was changed to Cherry Cola. At that time Coke didn’t make a Cherry version; it wasn’t until 1985 that they introduced it.
Layla – Derek and the Dominos
The song was in the bag. Eric Clapton had composed the song loosely based on his unrequited love for Pattie Boyd (wife of George Harrison). The title was based on a 12th century Persian poem. At that time, the song was a balled. Rumour has it that Clapton played it for Pattie Boyd the same night he declared his love for her; it caused some problems between Clapton and Harrison but their friendship somehow kept going. Years later, after the divorce from Harrison, Boyd and Clapton got married, but all of that is to jump too far into the future at this point. In 1970, Duane Allman became a member of Eric Clapton’s band Derek and the Dominos, it wasn’t long until Layla was being worked on. Allman was responsible for adding the signature riff that turned the ballad into a rocker. There are arguments though that Allman ‘borrowed’ the riff from an Albert King song called’As The Years Go Passing By’ but even if that is true, it shouldn’t take anything away from Allman’s input to the song. When the song was released as a single in 1972 it reached a peak of number 4 in the UK charts. Many, many years later, Clapton took to playing Layla in its original form; stripped of the signature riff, it became like a totally different song but it was how it was originally meant to be.
Lyla – Oasis
The story of Oasis can easily be described as epic and is well worth looking into for any music fan. Their debut album ‘Definitely Maybe’ brought them fame, their second album ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory’ sent their career into the stratoshpere. Some might say that it was their third album ‘Be Here Now’ that saw the beginning of the end but their fan base and reputation maintained high chart placings for every subsequent release. Oasis took a ‘break’ after their third album, returning three years later with a much trimmed band line up. Original members ‘Bonehead’ and ‘Guigsy’ had departed, leaving the group essentially as a trio. By the time of their next album in 2002, ‘Heathen Chemistry’, the band had been augmented by Gem Archer and Andy Bell. By the time the album ‘Don’t Believe The Truth’ was released in 2005, another line-up change had occurred. Drummer Alan White was out and Zak Starkey (son of Ringo Starr) was in. The first release from that album was Lyla and it raced to the number one spot in the UK (becoming their 7th number one hit). It was certainly a different sounding Oasis from the original sound but the fans still lapped it up. In the years since then, Oasis are no more, with brothers Noel and Liam falling out. Not the first time that has happened but the first time that it seems final enough not to see a re-union.
P.S. This article was originally published by the same author on Triond on the 19th of February 2010 and can be found by clicking HERE.