Derek and the Dominoes’ Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs album cover, 1970

Derek and the Dominoes’ Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs album cover, 1970

The story is among the most famous in rock and roll history: in the late 1960s, the guitarist Eric Clapton, collaborator and friend of George Harrison, fell in love with Harrison’s wife, Pattie Boyd. Anguished, his love unrequited, Clapton found a kindred spirit in Nezami’s 12th-century tale of Qays ibn al-Mulawwah, “Majnun,” a young man driven mad by love, inspiring the song “Layla.”