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"Badge"

  (by George Harrison & Eric Clapton,
23. Oktober 1968)




"If he asks me for something", said Eric Clapton in a Rolling Stone interview about George Harrison,"he gets it - as good as I can and whenever I can." The feeling was mutual and was the basis of a musical and personal friendship, which held almost 40 years and not even broke, when Clapton unbrotherly unharnessed the woman of his fraternal friend. (on "Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs", his 70 album with Derek and the Dominos, Clapton sang openly and bluntly about his love for Patti Boyd.)

The two met in late 1964 as Clapton's band, the Yardbirds, managed to get hold the coveted spot as opening act before the Beatles at the Christmas shows at London's "Hammersmith".
"He checked on me", Clapton recalls, "and I checked him - wanted to see if he was a real guitar player. He was."




(Cream "Badge" at YouTube)






"Bagde," till this day one of the standards in Clapton's live repertoire, was their first co-writing adventure and was created for "Goodbye", his last album with the group Cream. George Harrison, who appears in the credits as "L'Angelo Misterioso" - also plays rhythm guitar,  and his melodic sensibility dominates the whole song. Eric Clapton was still playing in two bands - Blind Faith and the Dominos - before embarking on the solo path, but Harrison's pop influence on his later, less purist music is already perceptible in "Badge".

The song is a bit cryptic quoted reflection, textually, on a failed relationship, interrupted by a typical Clapton riff played by Leslie boxes. This middle section, the bridge, gave the song his name as George Harrison said:
"I had finished the text, Eric had listed the bridge and the first chords. When I wrote down the text and came to the middle part, I wrote: -Bridge-. Eric sat opposite me and asked, 'What does that mean - Badge -?' It stayed because he always had to laugh at the title."

In "I Me Mine" Sir George recalled:
"It's funny, now Eric Clapton actually sings in concert at the end of the song, 'Where is my badge?' Later Ringo came in - he was absolutly plastered - and we were up to the lines: 'I told you not to drive around in the dark, I told you ....', and Ringo said,' about the swans that live in the park.' It's a bit silly i know, but that's what happend, folks."


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