Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight

When you play in a bar band…you better know this song. I played it so many times that while I still like listening to the song…I dreaded playing it but it was hard to avoid. Just to add a little fun to it I would add a naughty description in the lyrics…no I won’t repeat here…trying to make the guys laugh. I’d get a wink from some of the slow dancers but no one seemed to mind…it added a little spice to this slower than slow song.

It’s another song inspired by Pattie Boyd. The list is long with Pattie. She inspired a lot of great songs. George Harrison wrote “Something” and “For You Blue” for her, while she inspired Clapton to write this, “Layla,” “Why Does Love Have To Be So Sad,” and “Forever Man.”

Pattie Boyd on Twitter: "Hmm ..... 'train sequences for A Hard Day's Night'  ... sounds familiar ...… "

Pattie was married to George Harrison when Clapton expressed his love for her in the song “Layla.” Clapton and Harrison remained good friends, and Harrison even played at their wedding in 1979. Eric and Pattie divorced in 1988.

The song peaked at #16 in the Billboard 100, #15 in Canada, #2 in New Zealand, and #81 in the UK in 1977. The song was on the album Slowhand.

Pattie Boyd: “Clapton was sitting round playing his guitar while I was trying on dresses upstairs. I was taking so long and I was panicking about my hair, my clothes, everything, and I came downstairs expecting him to really berate me but he said, ‘Listen to this!'”

From Songfacts

A fixture at proms and weddings, Eric Clapton wrote “Wonderful Tonight” in 1976 while waiting for his girlfriend (and future wife) Pattie to get ready for a night out. They were going to a Buddy Holly tribute that Paul McCartney put together, and Clapton was in the familiar position of waiting while she tried on clothes.

On March 28, 1979, the day after they were married, Clapton brought Pattie on stage and sang this to her at his show in Tucson, Arizona.

Clapton released a live version in 1991 recorded in London with the National Philharmonic Orchestra. This is the version that charted in the UK. It is included on his album 24 Nights.
In the time she had taken to get ready Clapton had written this song.

In the 2000 Friends episode “The One With the Proposal,” this plays in the background while Chandler and Monica are dancing. It also shows up in the 1984 Miami Vice episode “One Eyed Jack” and in the 2013 movie Captain Phillips. >>

This was used in the movie The Story Of Us with Bruce Willis and Michelle Pfeiffer. The song plays in the background as they eat dinner together at home, even though they had separated.

In 1997 the boy band Damage recorded a cover reaching #3 in the UK. A then unknown Craig David sent in a self-written song called “I’m Ready” for a competition Damage was running, which they used as the B-side.

Wonderful Tonight

It’s late in the evening; she’s wondering what clothes to wear.
She’ll put on her make-up and brushes her long blonde hair.
And then she asks me, “Do I look all right?”
And I say, “Yes, you look wonderful tonight.”

We go to a party and everyone turns to see
This beautiful lady that’s walking around with me.
And then she asks me, “Do you feel all right?”
And I say, “Yes, I feel wonderful tonight.”

I feel wonderful because I see
The love light in your eyes.

And the wonder of it all
Is that you just don’t realize how much I love you.
It’s time to go home now and I’ve got an aching head,
So I give her the car keys and she helps me to bed.

And then I tell her, as I turn out the light,
I say, “My darling, you were wonderful tonight.
Oh my darling, you were wonderful tonight.”

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

31 thoughts on “Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight”

  1. when i think of this relationship I always think of a line in the original Star Trek- Spock of course saying “After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true. ”

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes…she is about class. Not a tell all book or anything and she was/is her own person. She was different than the rest.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It was big news since they were engaged. …. I think she will take whatever secrets she has concerning The Beatles to the grave. She caught Paul with an Apple Scuff.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I can’t even begin to count how many times I waited for my wife to get ready when we were going out someplace. A few times we arrived so late that there was no food left and that pissed me off. I guess that besides playing bass, that you also sing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great ballade! But there are some people who say, that Eric still suffers, because despite everything he hasn’t found the blues yet in his music and still plunks white schmaltzy songs on his guitar with all his skills.


  4. fine song… I don’t know if I ever heard a bar band doing it back in the day when I used to sometimes end up in bars seeing bar bands… the guitar in it is deceptively intricate and would take a bit to play well, I expect. Any video of your band doing it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is video somewhere…not in my possession. There are pictures also. That small guitar part that you hear was the fun part of the song. We would switch up doing it. We played it a lot! Another slow song we played a lot was Stand By Me but I never got tired of that one.


  5. I laughed out loud at ‘ this slower than slow song’. I never thought about the bar band point of view. I bet it does feel like the song is never going to end. I love the song. It has been terribly overplayed, so I don’t stop and listen when it comes on the radio. But it’s still lovely, not to mention telling a story nearly everyone has lived at some point. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes and the funny thing is I can still listen to it and be fine… I just cannot play it anymore… I’m sure Eric would like that because of what I did to it at times.


  6. Every night on 96 Rock in Atlanta, the same woman called the station and asked for this one at the beginning of the request hour.

    I always thought a perfect song for George would be “My Best Friend Ran Off With My Wife, and I Miss Him.”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh, I have a big teenage memory attached to this one. I bought the 45 as a kid. At 15, I was dating a big wrestler. I remember slow dancing with him in my mom’s living room to this while it played in that huge stereo cabinet. Burned into my mind…

    I still like the song but, it has been played to death.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just think of laughter from the drummer after I would describe some events. Yes it has been played to death… we played it more than I heard it though.


      1. I keep a pg rated site lol… she did more than comb her hair… I promise you that.


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