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Song of the Day for March 11: "Bell Bottom Blues" by Eric Clapton

Associated Press
Models Lynn Brophy, left, and Joyce Sklar display bell bottom beach pajamas to the nation's fashion editors attending the spring and resort fashion showing in Beverly Hills, Ca. on Nov. 4, 1965. The Cole of California "long jams," worn with a casual long sleeve striped shirt or a midriff halter top. (AP Photo)

Our Song of the Day, “Bell Bottom Blues” isn’t about people trying to put on the bell bottoms they wore 50 years ago. But it’s a good lesson in why people should clean out your closet every five years.

Bell bottom blues, you made me cry. I don't want to lose this feeling.

Levi Strauss introduced its first pair of bell bottom jeans on March 11, 1969. They weren’t a new thing. Some U.S. sailors wore bell bottoms in the early 1800s. The English Navy picked up on the idea in the mid-1800s.

Bell bottoms started their ascent into counterculture history in 1963 England when a med student asked his mother to open a seam on his drainpipe jeans. She wasn’t the best seamstress and left the bottom of the pants baggy. He had no choice but to wear them. As the weeks passed, he noticed more and more people were doing the same. The fad spread through Europe and North America. Sonny and Cher even wore them on their TV show.

It’s all wrong, but its all right. The way that you treat me baby.

Eric Clapton recorded “Bell Bottom Blues” in 1970 for the “Layla and other Assorted Love Songs” album. But it’s disputed as to how he came up with the song.

Band member Bobby Whitlock said that Clapton wrote it about a French woman who wore the flared jeans.

Clapton said he wrote it for Pattie Boyd. He was in love with Boyd but she was married to Beatle George Harrison. Apparently she had asked him to buy her some bell bottoms from the United States. The lyrics describe a lover’s quarrel.

I don’t want to fade away. Give me one more day, please.
I don’t want to fade away.  In your heart I want to stay.

Clapton might not remember much from that time. He was heavy into heroin during the recording session, as well as hurting because of his love for Boyd.

Clapton and Boyd would marry in 1979. They would divorce ten years later.