[Slowhand] Clapton’s ex reveals lost love song

daniel shearon dshearon at gmail.com
Sat Jul 8 23:37:44 EDT 2006

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The Sunday Times July 09, 2006

Clapton's ex reveals lost love song Maurice Chittenden

See and hear the video

WHEN Eric Clapton takes to the stage in front of 25,000 fans in the
ancient Roman arena of Verona tomorrow night, one ideally suited song
will be missing from the set list.

The legendary rock guitarist wrote Lady of Verona 20 years ago for his
then girlfriend, Lory Del Santo, a 26-year-old Italian television
presenter who comes from the city.

Del Santo will give the world its first hearing of the song this week
after discovering a broken cassette tape of it stuffed inside a
waterlogged bag of her possessions. It has now been restored and burnt
onto a CD. Clapton aficionados describe it as a lost masterpiece.

Clapton has never released it on record or performed it live. The song
has been locked away until now after the couple's relationship broke
up following the death of their four-year-old son Conor, who died when
he fell out of the window of a 53rd-floor Manhattan apartment. Only a
few Clapton insiders have ever heard it.

Clapton had a huge international hit with Tears in Heaven, a song he
subsequently wrote in memory of Conor and which won a Grammy award in
the United States.

However, he has never agreed to the release of Lady of Verona, even
though it includes a coded message to Del Santo about Conor: "You know
what she gave to me, I'll treasure until my dying day."

The song was first hidden away because he wrote it when he was still
married to Patti Boyd, the ex-wife of George Harrison, the former
Beatle. He had met Del Santo in Milan on a previous Italian tour.

The song was consigned to the vaults when his relationship with Del
Santo, which was already strained because both had been seeing other
people, fell apart after Conor's death.

Del Santo plays part of the recording that Clapton gave her during an
interview to be broadcast on American television tomorrow night. To
watch and hear the clip, click on the link above. Clapton sings:

I fell in love with a lady
from Verona, She's just as sweet as she
can be.
All of her life she's been
a loner Because she likes to stay
so free.

Later Clapton sings that he loves his lady from Verona "because she
makes me feel so good". He recorded the song in a studio while laying
down tracks for an album that he subsequently called August in homage
to the month in 1986 when Conor was born.

Del Santo believes that if their child had not died she and Clapton
would still be together.

In an interview with Daphne Barak, the American journalist, to be
broadcast on CBS's Entertainment Tonight, she says that prior to
Conor's death, Clapton would lapse into silent moods when he could not
stand any noise or even music. She discovered that he was drinking
heavily after finding empty vodka bottles.

She says that the one line in the song that best describes her is "
'because I make him feel so good' . . . It's not easy to make him
happy. Because you have to learn. One day he told me, 'Talk only when
I ask you a question. Otherwise, no'."

Mother and son had lived in Clapton's apartment at 57th Street and
Fifth Avenue in New York. The couple were estranged at the time. Conor
fell to his death in March 1991 after a cleaner had allegedly left a
bedroom window open and Conor went rushing into the room.

She would like to see Lady of Verona released. Clapton originally gave
it to her on a cassette tape while she was pregnant with Conor. "He
said, 'Here you are. I wrote a song for you'."

The tape became broken when she asked Conor to turn it off and he
broke it in the middle of the song.

Marc Roberty, author of Eric Clapton: The Complete Recording Sessions,
said: "It has never been released but it is very catchy and would have
been a good hit single."

A spokesman for Clapton, now 61, said it was the first he had heard of
the song and he had no idea if it would ever be officially released.
He said that Clapton was unavailable for personal comment.

Daniel Shearon
GPS Specialist
Hayes Instrument Co.
daniel at hayesinstrument.com
dshearon at gmail.com

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