Derek and the Dominos were a blues rock band formed in the spring of 1970 by guitarist and singer Eric Clapton with keyboardist Bobby Whitlock, bassist Carl Radle and drummer Jim Gordon, who had all played with Clapton in Delaney, Bonnie & Friends. Duane Allman was also invited by Clapton to sessions to add slide guitar to a number of tracks.
The seeds of Derek and the Dominos can be found in the band members' involvement with Delaney, Bonnie & Friends of which they were all members, including Duane Allman who had played with the act before Clapton. From late August to early October 1970, working at Criteria Studios in Miami under the guidance of Atlantic Records producer Tom Dowd, the band recorded “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs,” a double album now regarded by many critics as Clapton's masterpiece. The “Layla” LP was actually recorded by a five-piece version of the group, thanks to the unforeseen inclusion of guitarist Duane Allman of The Allman Brothers Band. Shortly after the release and a tour the band dissolved.
When the album was released in December 1970, it was a critical and commercial flop. The album failed to make the Top 10 in the United States and did not chart in the United Kingdom. But the song “Layla” was also included on the album, “History of Eric Clapton,” in 1972, and Atlantic issued the song as a single. It was a smash hit, charting in both the U.S. at #10 and in the U.K. at #7 and again charting in 1982.
Most of the material, including the hit single, “Layla,” was inspired by Clapton's unrequited love for Pattie Boyd, who was married to his best friend George Harrison. It was not until several years later that Pattie would consent to an affair and later moved in with Clapton in 1974, marrying him in 1979. They separated in 1985 when Clapton started a relationship with Lori Del Santo, and they divorced in 1988.