Today’s song is ‘Wonderful Tonight’. This is a ballad that was written by Eric Clapton. It was included on Clapton's 1977 album ‘Slowhand’. Clapton wrote the song about Pattie Boyd. The female vocal harmonies on the song are provided by Marcella Detroit (then Marcy Levy) and Yvonne Elliman.
On 7 September 1976, Clapton wrote ‘Wonderful Tonight’ for Boyd while waiting for her to get ready to attend Paul and Linda McCartney’s annual Buddy Holly party. Of ‘Wonderful Tonight’, Boyd would say: "For years it tore at me. To have inspired Eric, and George before him, to write such music was so flattering. 'Wonderful Tonight' was the most poignant reminder of all that was good in our relationship, and when things went wrong it was torture to hear it.” The song is mentioned in her autobiographical book ‘Wonderful Night: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Me’.
Anyone who is or has ever been in love will have an image of a time when their partner looked ‘wonderful tonight’ on one occasion at least. It need not be a night when they wore the most spectacular dress. It could have been a night when they were wearing their scruffiest jeans or on another occasion it might have been during the day when they were looking very silly or were caught in a highly embarrassing situation.
Such varied occasions reveal that it is usually an overall action that makes a person look wonderful and not some stunning appearance. Here are just a few examples from my own experiences and people I have known.
#My first example of when my partner looked ‘wonderful’ was probably the most common illustration of every man; their wedding day. The second most common event could be that warmest of smiles that emanates from the face of your wife as she holds your newly born infant in her loving arms in the hospital Maternity Ward.
A Probation Officer colleague of mine from the Huddersfield Probation Office called David and his wife once lost their dog after the spaniel had slipped out of the house one evening as the dog awaited its evening walk. David’s wife had owned the spaniel dog when she had first met her husband, and she loved it as much as her husband (‘but in a different way’, she would always add). The couple searched high and low for the dog down the nearby country lanes of their Halifax farm-type house, calling its name out loudly as they searched. They lived in an isolated area on the tops of Halifax and would often allow the dog to roam in the adjacent field.
The couple’s pet dog had strayed into a muddy ditch and barked in distress as it trapped its paw. David and his wife searched all over for their pet and when they eventually found him, David’s wife hurriedly scrambled down into the ditch and freed the dog. David said he would never forget that look of relief and happiness on his wife’s beaming face as she emerged, cradling the dog lovingly, and crying tears of joy at having found him. As both woman and dog emerge from the ditch covered in mud, the female owner smiles broadly at her husband saying, ‘He’s safe. Thank God that wire he was trapped in didn’t cut him”. As she passed the pet spaniel to David, he remembered that precise moment as being ‘wonderful’ and his wife as being ‘wonderful’. I have not the slightest doubt that it was because she was wonderful!
I once recall going out on a first date with a young woman in Montreal, Canada. She was a beautiful looking young woman who came from a very large and very poor family. She did not possess a wardrobe full of fashionable clothes to wear and often had to make do with hand-me-down dresses and skirts. On the night in question, she wore a nice dress of plain design which could never have done full justice to her attractive form and slender figure. As we sat in a quiet corner of the restaurant by an open fire, I noticed the left-hand shoulder area of her dress. It had a hole in it the size of a shilling. Not once did the young woman show any signs of being embarrassed by the damaged dress, neither did she apologise for it, refer to it or draw my attention to it in any way. And I shall always remember her as ‘looking wonderful that night’ even though I cannot remember her name (it was 56 years ago).
When I first married at the age of 26 years old, I lived in a crescent of newly-weds. We all occupied new builds and before very long we became close friends, going out together, dining out, going dancing and entertaining in weekly rotation in each other’s homes. We even went on group holidays for three or four years until the children started to arrive on the scene.
One of the men was called Chris. Chris was to become my best mate until he and his wife separated and divorced, after which I never saw him again. Chris was married to June and she would often go around (according to common gossip of the group wives) without wearing knickers during hot summer months. On the occasion in question, June came home from work earlier than usual one summer’s afternoon and discovered when she went to her bag to extract the door key that it wasn’t there. She had seemingly pulled the door closed when leaving for work that morning, forgetting to take the house keys.
After worrying about what to do, she seemed truly stumped. None of her friends was around. She knocked on a neighbour’s door whom she vaguely knew. The man of the house was in. June told him the story of her predicament and indicated that her back-bedroom window was open wide enough on the latch to gain entry if someone had a long ladder to reach it. The neighbour said he had the long ladder in the garage but showed June his heavily bandaged hand that he’d recently injured. “I can lend you the ladder and even place my weight behind it to steady it for you, but you will have to climb up!” he told June, showing her his injured hand.
June agreed and five minutes later climbed up to her bedroom and gained entry to her house. It was only after the event when she was relating the incident to the rest of us at a house gathering that she realised how she may have looked to her neighbour at the time of her brave climb up the ladder. She had suddenly realised she had climbed the ladder to her bedroom without wearing any knickers beneath her dress. If the neighbour got an eyeful as he looked up at June climbing up the ladder, he was too much of a gentleman ever to say what he saw!
I dedicate my song today to my Facebook friend, Janet Dufton who lives in Liversedge, near Heckmondwike, West Yorkshire. Janet is a very positive person who is always game for a laugh. Thank you for being my Facebook friend, Janet, and have a nice day. Bill x
Love and peace Bill xxx