Sunday, March 17, 2019

Pattie Boyd and Pot

Wonderful Tonight, the 2008 autobiography of rock muse Pattie Boyd, for whom George Harrison wrote "Something" and Eric Clapton wrote "Wonderful Tonight" and "Layla," confirms some rock-and-roll drug stories and reveals others. Boyd married Harrison after meeting him on the set of "A Hard Day's Night" and was a top model who became a photographer.

After George returned from the Beatles' U.S. tour, where he told Pattie that Bob Dylan turned the Fab Four onto pot, he rolled a joint and told his wife to inhale deeply. "It was quite dark in the room, we were listening to music, chatting away, until all of a sudden we were roaring with laughter and realized we were stoned," Boyd wrote. "Everything seemed hilarious."

While The Beatles were doing uppers in Hamburg to play long hours, Boyd was doing diet pills to stay Twiggy-skinny. "Drugs were part of our lives at that time and they were fun. We didn't take anything hard--none of us used heroin...but we took acid regularly." After they were first dosed with LSD, George said, "It was as if I had never tasted, talked, seen, thought, or heard properly before. For the first time in my whole life I wasn't conscious of my ego." But later, Boyd traveled to San Francisco's Haight Asbury district with George, who got turned off to the scene by what he saw. In 1967, one month after the Beatles signed on to an advertisement in the London Times calling for marijuana legalization in protest over the Rolling Stones' pot bust, they traveled to India to study with the Maharishi and vowed to give up all intoxicants.

Boyd stands up for the relative safety of marijuana over hard drugs in the book, but repeats a fiction now popular in England that today's so-called "Skunk" is much stronger and more dangerous than what her crowd smoked. "Dope in the sixties...was about peace, love, and increasing awareness. It was the basis of flower power; it was innocent. Cocaine was different and I think it froze George's emotions and hardened his heart." She recounts her painful relationship with Clapton, whose abuse of alcohol, cocaine and heroin are also documented in his recent book. The couple nearly reconciled after taking Ecstasy together, and Boyd finally found peace during an Ayahuasca journey after Harrison died and Clapton remarried. 

Boyd turns 75 today. Her photographs of Harrison and Clapton, titled Through the Eye of a Muse, have been widely exhibited.

UPDATE 10/22: In her new book, My Life In Pictures, Boyd "reveals unseen private memories from her marriages to The Beatles’ guitarist George Harrison, and then to his best friend, rocker Eric Clapton," according to publisher Telegraph Books.

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