Formed: 1970 in New York, NY
Group Members: Jim Gordon, Duane Allman, Eric Clapton, Carl Radle, Bobby Whitlock
Styles: Album Rock, British Blues, Hard Rock, Blues-Rock
Derek & the Dominos was a group formed by guitarist/singer Eric Clapton (born Eric Patrick Clapp, March 30, 1945, Ripley, Surrey, England) with other former members of Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, in the spring of 1970. The rest of the lineup was Bobby Whitlock (b. 1948, Memphis, TN) (keyboards, vocals), Carl Radle (b. 1942, Oklahoma City, OK - d. May 30, 1980) (bass), and Jim Gordon (b. 1945, Los Angeles) (drums). The group debuted at the Lyceum Ballroom in London on June 14 and undertook a summer tour of England. From late August to early October, they recorded the celebrated double album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (November 1970) with guitarist Duane Allman sitting in. They then returned to touring in England and the U.S., playing their final date on December 6.
The Layla album was successful in the U.S., where "Bell Bottom Blues" and the title song charted as singles in abbreviated versions, but it did not chart in the U.K. The Dominos reconvened to record a second album in May 1971, but split up without completing it. Clapton then retired from the music business, nursing a heroin addiction.
In his absence, and in the wake of Allman's death in a motorcycle accident on October 29, 1971, the Dominos and Layla gained in stature. Re-released as a single at its full, seven-minute length in connection with the compilation album History of Eric Clapton (Atco 803) (March 1972), "Layla" hit the Top Ten in the U.S. and the U.K. in the summer of 1972. (It would return to the U.K. Top Ten in 1982.) A live album, Derek and the Dominos in Concert (January 1973), taken from the 1970 U.S. tour, was also a strong seller.
Time has only added to the renown of the group, which is now rated among Eric Clapton's most outstanding achievements. The 1988 Eric Clapton box set retrospective Crossroads featured material from the abortive second album sessions. The Layla Sessions was a 1990 box set expanding that album across three CDs/cassettes. Live at the Fillmore (1994) offered an expanded version of the In Concert album.
- William Ruhlmann (All Music Guide)