Eric Clapton began performing in the US with his band Cream in the 1960s and met drummer Jim Gordon. They formed a new group called Derek and the Dominos and wrote the titular song together in 1970. The Unplugged version of Layla didn't come out until much later.
Layla was inspired by a story of Arab origin and a real-life experience, and was written by Eric Clapton and George Harrison. Duane Allman played a crying bird sound at the end.
Layla: The Studio Version, released in 1970, struggled to gain traction due to its length. In 1971, a shortened version of the song began enjoying more radio time, breaking into the top 10 of the Billboard 100 charts and placing seventh on the UK singles chart.