Later linked to Eric Clapton, Pattie Boyd first fell for George Harrison—who, in turn, penned "Something" about her mysterious allure. Here, we revisit the story behind the Beatles' ballad and other anthems inspired by rock 'n' roll's most beautiful muses.
“Something,” The Beatles
THE MUSE: Pattie Boyd
THE BACKSTORY: She played a schoolgirl in "A Hard Day's Night" and married George Harrison in 1966. In her 2009 memoir, she recalls that George told her "in a matter-of-fact way" that he'd written "Something" for her.
UPDATE: A photographer and former model, Boyd recently exhibited her Beatles-era photos in Sweden.
“Crazy Love,” Van Morrison
THE MUSE: Janet "Planet" Rigsbee
THE BACKSTORY: Their first meeting, she said, was "alchemical whammo." Rigsbee inspired not just "Crazy Love" ("I can hear her heartbeat for a thousand miles") but also "Tupelo Honey" (that's her on the album cover). The couple split in 1973.
UPDATE: Morrison's ex is a songwriter living in California. Their daughter Shana, born just after the release of "Moondance," has recorded five albums of her own and often shares the stage with her father.
“And I Love Her,” The Beatles
THE MUSE: Jane Asher
THE BACKSTORY: McCartney, who wrote "And I Love Her" in 1964, called it "the first ballad I impressed myself with." By 1967 he and the English actress were engaged, but a year later they went separate ways.
UPDATE: Long married to illustrator Gerald Scarfe, Asher has become an entrepreneur. Last year she redesigned her London shop, Jane Asher Party Cakes.
“Walk Away Renee,” The Left Banke
THE MUSE: Renee Fladen-Kamm
THE BACKSTORY: Keyboard player Michael Brown, then 16, wrote the 1966 hit about bass player Tom Finn's girlfriend, who was in the studio when the band recorded "Walk Away Renee." As Brown recalled, "My hands were shaking."
UPDATE: Fladen-Kamm, a singer and vocal coach, lives near San Francisco.
“Jersey Girl,” Tom Waits
THE MUSE: Kathleen Brennan
THE BACKSTORY: They met while working on the soundtrack for "One From the Heart." Although she was born in Illinois, Brennan lived in New Jersey when Waits wrote "Jersey Girl," which became a rare cover by Bruce Springsteen.
UPDATE: Married since 1980, Brennan and Waits have three kids, live in California and often collaborate. "I'm a lucky man," Waits says.
“The Girl From Ipanema”
THE MUSE: Helo Pinheiro
THE BACKSTORY: This 1960s bossa nova classic is the second-most-recorded song ever (after "Yesterday"). Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes wrote "The Girl From Ipanema" as a tribute to Pinheiro, who captivated all the guys during her daily walk to the beach in Rio.
UPDATE: Pinheiro owns a bikini boutique in Sao Paolo. She posed nude for Brazilian Playboy in 2003, at age 58.
“Girl From the North Country,” Bob Dylan
THE MUSE: Echo Helstrom
THE BACKSTORY: Some say the "Girl From the North Country" is his college girlfriend Bonnie Beecher, but the smart money is on his first love. "Everyone said she looked like Brigitte Bardot, and she did," Dylan later wrote.
UPDATE: Helstrom stayed up north, settling in Minneapolis, where she worked at National General Pictures.
“In Your Eyes,” Peter Gabriel
THE MUSE: Rosanna Arquette
THE BACKSTORY: Gabriel and Arquette were living together in 1986, when the song reached No. 1. "In Your Eyes" took off again in 1989 after it was featured in the boom-box scene in "Say Anything."
UPDATE: Since the couple's 1992 breakup, Arquette has appeared in movies and TV shows ranging from "Pulp Fiction" to Showtime's "Ray Donovan."
“Layla,” Derek and the Dominos
THE MUSE: Pattie Boyd
THE BACKSTORY: Eric Clapton told Boyd he was in love with her when she was still married to his friend George Harrison. In 1970, the guitar virtuoso released "Layla" ("You've got me on my knees") to drive the point home. He and Boyd wed in 1979.
UPDATE: She divorced Clapton in 1989, citing "infidelity and unreasonable behavior."
“Jennifer Juniper,” Donovan
THE MUSE: Jenny Boyd
THE BACKSTORY: Jenny—Pattie's sister—was a model until 1968, when she traveled to India with Donovan to meditate with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Two years later, she married Mick Fleetwood.
UPDATE:"Jennifer Juniper" is now Dr. Jenny Boyd, having earned a PhD in psychology at UCLA. She co-authored a book about the sources of musicians' creativity.
“Suzanne,” Leonard Cohen
THE MUSE: Suzanne Verdal
THE BACKSTORY: Originally a poem, "Suzanne" was inspired by Cohen's attraction to the ethereal Verdal, who lived on the Saint Lawrence River in the mid-'60s. She later described their friendship as "a spiritual union." Said Cohen, "Everyone was in love with Suzanne."
UPDATE: In recent years Verdal, a former dancer, became homeless, drifting between Montreal and Venice Beach.
“Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” Crosby, Stills & Nash
THE MUSE: Judy Collins
THE BACKSTORY: The folk star who recorded "Suzanne" before Leonard Cohen received her own tribute in this "Suite" of songs, which Crosby, Stills & Nash performed at Woodstock. It was written by Stephen Stills when his relationship with Collins was on the rocks.
“Donna,” Richie Valens
THE MUSE: Donna Ludwig
THE BACKSTORY: Although Valens pioneered Chicano rock with "La Bamba," his biggest hit was this ode to his high school sweetheart.
UPDATE: Valens stayed in touch with Ludwig when he was on the road, until February 3, 1959, when he and Buddy Holly died in a plane crash. Now a grandmother, Ludwig remains close to Valens' family.
“Wild World,” Cat Stevens
THE MUSE: Patti D'Arbanville
THE BACKSTORY: It might be the most condescending love song ever written ("I'll always remember you like a child, girl"), but "Wild World" emerged as a hit in 1970, as did Stevens' earlier "Lady D'Arbanville."
UPDATE: D'Arbanville dumped Cat Stevens (now called Yusuf Islam) for Mick Jagger. She later appeared in films and TV shows including "My So-Called Life."
“Je T'aime … Moi Non Plus,” Serge Gainsbourg
THE MUSE: Brigitte Bardot
THE BACKSTORY: Gainsbourg wrote this erotic duet (the title means "I Love You … Me Neither") in 1967 when Bardot asked him to compose a beautiful love song for her. He later recorded it with his new flame Jane Birkin, and their scandalous single sold big despite radio bans.
“Maybe I’m Amazed,” Paul McCartney
THE MUSE: Linda McCartney
THE BACKSTORY:Paul's most moving love song as a solo artist expresses gratitude to his wife for supporting him through the breakup of the Beatles.
UPDATE: He went on to write countless love songs for Linda, who died of breast cancer in 1998, surrounded by her husband and their four children.
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