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music friday: delaney & bonnie, “never ending song of love”

Recently, I tried to put together a playlist that combined a group of musicians from the late-60s/early-70s who showed up on each other’s albums. Not sure what got me started on this, but I was thinking of people like Leon Russell, Derek and the Dominos, Dave Mason. I quickly realized that what I was latching onto was the extended universe of Delaney & Bonnie.

As an example of this, take their album Motel Shot, from which “Never Ending Song of Love” comes. Among the people on that album: Duane Allman, Stephen Stills, Joe Cocker, Jim Keltner, Bobby Keys, Dave Mason, Gram Parsons, Carl Radle, Leon Russell, Clarence White, and Bobby Whitlock. Missing was Eric Clapton, but he’d already been accounted for … one of their earlier albums was called On Tour with Eric Clapton. (Besides Clapton, that album also featured George Harrison, Jim Gordon, Jim Price, and Rita Coolidge.)

These people were everywhere for a few years, most notably on Layla. Delaney & Bonnie were never big stars on their own … On Tour was their best chart performer, hitting #29. Motel Shot made #65, and “Never Ending Song of Love” was their top-charting single, at #13.

The stories are told about Delaney & Bonnie’s rough relationship (they divorced in 1973 after six years of marriage), which I suppose adds a layer of irony to the fact that “Never Ending Song of Love” was their biggest hit.

Here’s Bonnie and friends, singing in the backyard:

Bonnie was the first-ever white Ikette, and in later years, she spent some time on the sitcom Roseanne: