Wonderful Tonight by Pattie Boyd – The Improved iBook
It was the most famous love triangle in rock ‘n’ roll history, spawning one of the most iconic songs of all time, and possibly the best-known guitar riff of all time.
Mention the name Pattie Boyd and most people over 40 will know who you mean. He mentions the word ‘Layla’ and the younger, bewildered eyes light up. Any kid learning to play the guitar wants to play those opening notes.
Pattie Boyd’s story is extraordinary. It represents the wild excesses and free love of sex, drugs, and the rock ‘n’ roll years, an era that ignited in the early 1960s and died out in the early 1980s with most of the protagonists dead o hopelessly addicted to alcohol. drugs, or both. The gangs that remained were shattered by infighting between the surviving members. Hard rockers who threw televisions out of shattered hotel room windows were replaced by fluffy new romantics who would never zip through a hotel lobby on a motorcycle for fear of ruining their hairdo or smearing makeup.
Memorabilia from the sixties and seventies change hands at auction for increasingly ridiculous amounts of money and Pattie Boyd clearly has a ton of stuff. This ‘enhanced’ version of his autobiography, ‘Wonderful Tonight’ (the original paper version was strangely called Wonderful Today in the UK) is crammed with letters, photographs, drawings and images that have apparently not seen the light of day for decades. .
The opening chapters talk about his childhood years, usually a dull necessity in an autobiography, but before moving on to the juicy snippets, his childhood photos are worth a look. Presented as a movie slideshow, Pattie speaks through a series of snapshots, like a friend showing her her photo album. It is an original approach that is repeated later in this iBook with a collection of photographs of The Beatles in India, with the Maharishi.
A photograph of George & Pattie with Frank Sinatra is accompanied by an audio description of how they joined Sinatra in the studio for their ‘one take’ recording of My way.
Later in the iBook, he talks about George’s solo album cover photo., Living in the material world, explaining that the chauffeur and the babysitter were just part of the set.
The Beatles anoraks, or anyone interested in that era, will be fascinated by memories such as the postcards written by George to Pattie while they were on tour with the Fab Four, George and Pattie’s marriage certificate, a children’s Christmas card created for Pattie for George and even George’s Concept for her own record label.
A letter written by George to Pattie while in New York for the Concert for Bangladesh It has also been given the audio commentary treatment. In his letter, George writes that the trip on the SS France to New York was not as fun as the previous one on QE2. Pattie explains that Tommy Cooper had entertained them on the QE2 trip. Why does George write that he has seen a toilet but doesn’t know if they can afford it? He was surely one of the richest rock stars on the planet! Pattie explains that they never brought money and had no idea whether they were rich or poor. Cleverly, the presentation allows the reader to listen to the comment and then read the letter.
Perhaps most magical of all is a letter written by John Lennon that has been buried in a drawer for almost forty years. In the letter he talks about the grass outside his window (Central Park), which fortunately he does not have to mow. He describes an amazing new invention he has discovered, the Polaroid camera, and how the image jumps out of the camera and unfolds before your very eyes. He suggests that Apple (the Beatles record label that was causing them great pain at the time) should be turned over to the highest bidder or sent to the slaughterhouse, and talks about spending old age at the Wilfred Pickles Memorial Home. It really is Lennon at his eccentric prime.
The story everyone wants to know is exactly what happened between George Harrison, Pattie Boyd, and Eric Clapton, and this version of iBook puts it all on the table. She recounts how a letter arrived addressed to ‘Dear L …’, which she assumed was from a loony fan; of how Eric sat her down, put her on a tape, and it was the most powerful song she’d ever heard and knew it was about her. The song, of course, was Layla. At this point, you can tap on your iPad screen, connect to the iTunes store, listen to Layla and buy it, if surprisingly, you don’t own it yet.
The madness of the period between 1970 and 1974, when she and George finally divorced, is extraordinary and difficult to follow. Popular opinion was that Harrison and Clapton got into a fight and there was a lot of animosity between the two, but in this iBook, Pattie shows a note from George to both of them that seems to bless their adventure.
In addition to the letters, the iBook contains another Christmas card, this time drawn by Eric. Were these ’70s rockers so desperate to hold onto their childhoods that they created greeting cards like the exuberant elementary school kids?
Ronnie Wood, who allegedly had an affair with Pattie during the George / Eric kerfuffle, gives his thoughts on this special enhanced version of the book with a video foreword, and appears later in the book to talk about a drawing he made of Pattie. in Friar Park (the Harrison mansion).
Wonderful Tonight, the enhanced iBook, is an exceptional example of what can be done with Apple’s iPad platform. The theme and accompanying content really lend themselves perfectly to 3D e-book processing and using clever techniques (like comments in photo slideshows) works very well.
If you’re interested in The Beatles, Eric Clapton, or just taking a look at the future of publishing, this iBook is worth a look.
Wonderful Tonight, the enhanced version, is available on the Apple iBook store for iPad and iPhone.