‘We Hate You': Pattie Boyd Recalls Jealous, Hair-Pulling Beatles Fans
When you've inspired classic songs like the Beatles' "Something" and Eric Clapton's "Layla" and "Wonderful Tonight," the label of "muse" can't be far behind. It's a role that Pattie Boyd, whose marriages to Clapton and George Harrison have fascinated fans for decades, relished — but there was also a dark side.
In a new interview for Harper's Bazaar, pop star Taylor Swift sat down with the model and photographer to learn how she roused the creativity of these famous men and the price she paid for it, including Beatles fans who told her, "We hate you."
"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," she told Swift. "The artist absorbs an element from their muse that has nothing to do with words, just the purity of their essence."
But no one prepared her for what the role would entail, with her then-boyfriend a member of the biggest band in the world. She met Harrison on the set of A Hard Day's Night when she was only 19.
"In my first experience, I found it absolutely terrifying," Boyd says of her run-ins with obsessed Beatles fans. "I got to see the Beatles play at a theater in London, and George told me that I should leave with my friends before the last number. So before the last song, we got up from our seats and walked toward the nearest exit door, and there were these girls behind me. They followed us out, and they were kicking me and pulling my hair and pushing us all the way down this long passageway."
But times change. Fans continue to revere the classic rock pioneers, though their sometimes violent obsessions have calmed. To boot, they appreciate the tidbits of history that Boyd has provided with her photographs and memoir Wonderful Tonight. "It was such a long time ago, and the fans haven’t held on to the same antagonistic feelings toward me," Boyd says. "Actually they seem happy that I’m sharing the photographs I took. One time I was having an exhibition, and these girls turned up dressed like me in A Hard Day’s Night."
"That is amazing that you could go from a place of feeling incredibly frightened by the idea of this attention from people who loved the Beatles, and now there is just a huge amount of gratitude from them," Swift noted.
The revelations Boyd provided to fans even come in the form of Clapton's love letters, which he gave her permission to disclose long after their divorce. "I think time must play a big part," she said of their now cordial relationship. "Because it all broke up for whatever reason, there is no need to carry on some sort of hate or dislike for this person. And then with time I thought, 'I’ll just call on Eric and see if he’ll let me use these wonderful letters that he wrote, and if he needs anything from me, he just needs to call me, same thing, and I would say yes to him.' I think this is all based on my memories of how it was when we were first married and what fun we had, the love that we’d enjoyed together as well."