After reading Pattie Boyd's memoir, Wonderful Tonight, Taylor Swift was so inspired that she decided to interview her. Touching on topics such as Boyd's being a muse to both George Harrison and Eric Clapton, and Swift's songwriting, the two stars spoke casually for Harper's Bazaar magazine in a piece published on July 10.
“There are definitely moments when it’s like this cloud of an idea comes and just lands in front of your face, and you reach up and grab it. A lot of songwriting is things you learn, structure, and cultivating that skill, and knowing how to craft a song. But there are mystical, magical moments, inexplicable moments when an idea that is fully formed just pops into your head,” Swift says in the interview. “And that’s the purest part of my job. It can get complicated on every other level, but the songwriting is still the same uncomplicated process it was when I was 12 years old writing songs in my room.:
Best known for her role as an inspiration for legendary tracks like “Wonderful Tonight” and “Something,” Boyd has left her mark on music in a unique way, too.
“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,” Boyd says. “The artist absorbs an element from their muse that has nothing to do with words, just the purity of their essence.”
After hearing the famous anecdote about how “Wonderful Tonight” was written when Boyd took too long to get ready to go out with Clapton, Swift was amazed. “That's so incredible to me,” she says.
Boyd replies with a bit of sagely songwriting advice: “But you must do that too. You must be inspired by a few moments or something, the way your boyfriend turns or says something to you or a little bit of a smile or “Is he thinking this or that? and that would inspire you. Can you write it the moment it’s happening?”
When questioned about her time with Harrison, Boyd confesses that nothing could prepare her for the way she was treated by envious Beatle fans. Her first experience was especially traumatic.
“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,” she recalls. “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.”
She adds that as time passed, those same fans mellowed out and have since become appreciative of her and the role she played. “It was such a long time ago, and the fans haven’t held on to the same antagonistic feelings toward me. Actually, they seem happy that I’m sharing the photographs I took.”
As the interview closes, Swift seizes the opportunity to ask Boyd for any life advice she might have for a 28-year-old person, pop superstar or otherwise.
“You have to remember that nothing remains the same. It’s always going to change,” says Boyd. “The whole world keeps changing, we keep changing, things in our lives keep changing. Nothing remains the same. If you’re happy or you’re sad, it’s not going to last forever. You just have to keep remembering that.”