Author Oscar Wilde once famously wrote, “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.” But how can that be true when love—an undeniably huge part of life—influences so much art?
In some cases, it’s not only love—but the lover herself who ignites creativity. Take ’60s pop icon Pattie Boyd, for example. The former wife of both George Harrison and Eric Clapton was the ultimate rock ’n’ roll muse, inspiring Harrison’s “Something” and Clapton’s “Layla.” Boyd tells her story in Wonderful Tonight (Harmony Books), her autobiography that comes out today.
But Boyd wasn’t the only musician’s muse—many other songwriters have turned to femme fatales to inform their work. Here, other great muses:
Yoko Ono: Aside from taking the blame for breaking up the Beatles, Ono was a creative companion to John Lennon—she gave as much as she took from him.
Kim Mathers: This is an example of the muse misused: Rapper Eminem’s acidic songs about his now ex-wife drove her to attempt suicide.
Kate Moss: The subject of countless photographs, and increasingly, works of art, model-muse Moss occasionally collaborates with on-and-off boyfriend Pete Doherty (of band Babyshambles).
Gwyneth Paltrow: Married to Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, Paltrow inspired much of the band’s terribly earnest third album, X&Y.
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Photograph of Pattie Boyd by Jean-Claude Volpeliere