Certain Songs #306: Derek & The Dominos – “Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad?”

layla and other assorted love songs art_0 Album: Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs
Year: 1970

When people wonder what’s so awesome about Eric Clapton and Duane Allman being on the same album together, this is the song I mention. Of course, no one’s ever asked me that and no one ever will, but that’s not the point.

A high-speed raver from the very beginning, “Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad?” is of course one of those songs where the answer to the title question is in the question, and while Clapton and Bobby Whitlock scream the title question over and over again with the requisite amount of passion, that’s not the point.

And while Carl Radle’s bass is doing some amazing things and Jim Gordon attacks his drum kit like he’s got some love sadness of his own he needs to work out, that’s not the point.

From the beginning of the song, Duane Allman and Eric Clapton are fucking on fire, playing with each other, on top of each other and around each other in an absolute frenzy of virtuosity and passion. I’m sure one of my guitarist friends knows which guitar is Clapton’s and which guitar is Allman’s. And they probably know which guy uncorks that first solo that is dripping with so much power it suddenly explodes into a half-dozen solos, but that’s not the point.

Nope, the point isn’t just the amazing guitar solos, because there are tons of songs with amazing guitar solos. Wellll, OK, maybe five with this many solos at this high of a level. But that’s not the point.

To me, the point is the image it conjures up of Allman and Clapton facing each other down in the studio, playing “can you top this?” as they uncork one amazing lick after another, just to make the other guy laugh with jealousy and recognition and love.

Of course, maybe it didn’t happen this way at all, but that’s not the point.

Fan-made video for “Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad?”

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