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Bobby Whitlock

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Bobby Whitlock (born 18 March 1948 in Memphis, Tennessee) is a session musician, best known for being a member of Derek and the Dominos.

Raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Whitlock began his musical career while still a teenager, as a session pianist at the legendary Stax Studios. Early on, Delaney Bramlett and Bonnie Bramlett, the husband-and-wife team behind Delaney, Bonnie & Friends, heard Whitlock perform at a club and invited him to join them as keyboardist. Whitlock appeared on Eric Clapton’s first solo album in early 1970. His friendship with Clapton began when Whitlock toured with Clapton and his band, playing lead guitar.

After the other band members left to join Mad Dogs and Englishmen with Joe Cocker, Whitlock collaborated with Eric Clapton in England. They played sessions together, most notably on George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass, where Bobby and Eric sang background (as the “O’Hara Smith Singers”). Uncredited on All Things Must Pass, Whitlock played pump organ (Harmonium), Electric Wurlitzer, Hammond Organ, tubular bells and piano on various songs.

During the sessions, Clapton met Harrison’s wife Pattie Boyd. Clapton’s unrequited affections for Boyd prompted most of the material for a new album, Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs, released in 1970. During the recording, the tape rolled non-stop for the entire album, with the exception of “Key to the Highway”. Whitlock explains that this is why you hear this cut fading in. Originally, Jim Keltner was to be the drummer, but Jim Gordon intervened when he heard that Clapton was looking for a drummer and Keltner was busy finishing up his session with Gábor Szabó the jazz guitar player.

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