Leaving Treadmarkz Across the Universe

Is “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton About a Disabled Man and an Able-Bodied Woman?

with 5 comments

by Treadmarkz,

Here’s a weird one.

I was flipping through http://www.songfacts.com and I came across “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton. Songfacts is a site where fans can submit “facts” or, mostly opinions actually, and a lot of misinformation, about any song you can think of. Under “Wonderful Tonight” I found an entry from someone putting forth the theory that “Wonderful Tonight” (one of the greatest love songs of all time, next to “Layla” also by Clapton) was written about a man in a wheelchair and his able-bodied girlfriend/wife. Let’s analyze the lyrics to see if we can’t find a nugget of truth in this hypothesis:

“We go to a party/Everyone turns to see/this beautiful lady/walking around with me” – If the stress and focus is on the word “walking” it could suggest that the person she is with is not, himself, walking. But that is really suspending disbelief, so let’s move on.

“I give her the car keys/she puts me to bed” – This is about a man who is unable to drive. Not able to at all or just as a result of intoxication or fatigue? More and more disabled people are driving, but in the 1970s when this song was recorded, this may not have been so. And the second line may have something to do with a woman physically lifting the man from his wheelchair into bed.

That’s about all I see backing up the aforementioned claim. But the overall theme of the song is a man who is desperately in love with his woman, who “just doesn’t realize how much” he loves her. I am married to a woman who is not “disabled” in the usual sense of the word (She told me herself that she believes that everyone is disabled to some degree), so I can identify with that feeling, the desperation to tell that person how much their unconditional love means to you. However, I would hope that anyone in love has felt it that strongly.

And so, upon deep reflection on this matter, I think that “Wonderful Tonight” is just a regular, boring, good ol’ fashioned walkie love song. Case closed. I have spoken. Turn out the lights. Don’t let the door hit ya.

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5 Responses

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  1. “Wonderful Tonight”……analyze the lyrics to see if we can’t find a nugget of truth in this hypothesis…..no matter of what, I liked that song so much…

    Bannie

    September 3, 2008 at 3:30 AM

  2. Wonderful Tonight is about Pattie Boyd. She was first married to George Harrison and then Clapton. He apparently wrote it while watching her take forever to take off a dress after a night out. She has been given credit as also being the inspiration for Layla, as well as some of Harrison’s songs. A professional rock and roll muse.

    Nikko

    November 4, 2008 at 2:34 PM

  3. That analysis ought to be deleted and forgotten for eternity. It makes me sad, that you’ve tried to analyze one of the greatest songs in the world, and that you’ve found out that it’s about a disabled man?? You should stick to analyzing poems, and leave the music alone! As Nikko writes, the song was written to Pattie Boyd and you will discover, if you read Eric Clapton’s autobiography, that the song is about Clapton and Boyd. Then you wouldn’t have wasted our’s and your own time! Man that’s stupid!

    Christoffer J, Weissert

    January 13, 2011 at 6:54 AM

  4. Christoffer, Thank you for your opinion. But did you really read the posting at all? Did you? Honestly? I said in the beginning that the idea came from a site which is full of misinformation. And my conclusion was that the song was not at all about a disabled man. I am well aware about the facts behind the Divine Intervention which led to the creation of this most Sacred of Rock and Roll Scriptures, played by the undefiled fingers of, words sung from the Holy lips of God Clapton. Speaking of Divine Intervention, how did I waste your time? I am not that powerful, brother. Namaste.

    treadmarkz

    January 14, 2011 at 12:19 AM

  5. This theory was invented by a man named Karl Pilkington. He was a producer on ‘The Ricky Gervais Show’, and loves songs with a story. After listening to this song, he had a nagging feeling that the man in the song was in a wheelchair.

    The radioshow episode in which he mentioned this is from June 25th, 2005. I know this because I’m listening to him right now on my iPod.

    Darris Pratt

    March 2, 2011 at 6:20 AM


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