Wonderful Tonight

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"Wonderful Tonight"
Single by Eric Clapton
from the album Slowhand
B-side "Peaches and Diesel"
Released 1977
Format 45 Record
Recorded May 1977
Genre Soft rock
Length 3:43
Label RSO
Writer(s) Eric Clapton
Producer(s) Glyn Johns
Eric Clapton singles chronology
"Lay Down Sally"
"Wonderful Tonight"

"Wonderful Tonight" is a ballad written by Eric Clapton. It was included on Clapton's 1977 album Slowhand. Clapton wrote the song about Pattie Boyd.[1] The female vocal harmonies on the song are provided by Marcella Detroit (then Marcy Levy) and Yvonne Elliman.


On 7 September 1976, Clapton wrote "Wonderful Tonight" for Boyd while waiting for her to get ready to attend Paul and Linda McCartney's annual Buddy Holly party. Of "Wonderful Tonight", Boyd would say: "For years it tore at me. To have inspired Eric, and George before him, to write such music was so flattering. 'Wonderful Tonight' was the most poignant reminder of all that was good in our relationship, and when things went wrong it was torture to hear it."[2] The song is mentioned in her autobiographical book Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Me.


In 1988, Clapton appeared in the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute concert as a guest guitarist for Dire Straits. The group became his backing musicians for a surprise performance of "Wonderful Tonight" during their set. The song was featured in the film Captain Phillips and in the Friends season 6 episode "The One With the Proposal Part 2" (18 May 2000) where Monica and Chandler dance to it at the end of the episode after getting engaged. The song was also featured on Ricky Gervais's radio show, where producer Karl Pilkington argued that the lyrics suggested that it came from the point of view of a disabled man in a wheelchair. Both Gervais and co-host Stephen Merchant dismissed Pilkington's claims as conjecture. Clapton performed an extended version of "Wonderful Tonight" between 1987 and 2003, featuring Katie Kissoon and Tracy Ackerman on backing vocals and David Sancious on saxophone. Clapton and Steve Winwood performed an acoustic version of the song during their 2011 tour in Japan.

Chart performance[edit]


Region Certification Sales/shipments
Chile (IFPI Chile)[17] 2× Platinum 30,000*
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[17] 2× Platinum 20,000^
France (SNEP)[7] Silver 250,000*
Greece (IFPI Greece)[17] 2× Platinum 40,000^
Iceland (IFPI Iceland)[17] 2× Platinum 12,000*
Japan (RIAJ)[18] Million 1,000,000^
Macao (IFPI Macao)[19] Gold 15,000*
Portugal (AFP)[17] 2× Platinum 100,000x
Russia (NFPF)[17] Gold 10,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[20] Silver 250,000^
United States (RIAA)[21] Gold 1,000,000^
Uruguay (CUD)[17] Gold 10,000x
Worldwide (IFPI) 4,000,000[17]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

Cover versions[edit]

Damage version[edit]

"Wonderful Tonight"
Single by Damage
from the album Forever
B-side "I'm Ready"
Released 28 April 1997
Format CD single, cassette
Genre R&B
Length 4:01
Label Big Life Records
Writer(s) Eric Clapton
Producer(s) Steve Mac
Damage singles chronology
"Love Guaranteed"
"Wonderful Tonight"
"Love Lady"

"Wonderful Tonight" was covered by British R&B/pop group Damage in 1997, and was released as the fifth single from the band's debut studio album, Forever. The single peaked at #3 on the UK Singles Chart, becoming the band's most successful single to date, also peaking high in several other territories, which was a first for the band. The song is prominently performed by Richards, with little vocal input from any other members of the band. The music video features the band performing the song in a recording studio with cut scenes of a girl preparing to go on a night out. The b-side, "I'm Ready", launched the career of Craig David, being the first song he had ever written to be released by himself or another artist.

  • CD1
  1. "Wonderful Tonight" - 4:01
  2. "I'm Ready" (Bromfield/Richards/Simpson/Jones/Harriott/Craig David, produced by Mark Lewis)
  3. "Wonderful Tonight" (Ethnic Boyz Mix)
  • CD2
  1. "Wonderful Tonight" (Acoustic Mix)
  2. "Just My Imagination" (Whitfield/Strong, produced by Howard Francis)
  3. "Love II Love" (Acoustic Mix)
  • Cassette
  1. "Wonderful Tonight" - 4:01
  2. "I'm Ready"
Chart performance
Chart (1997) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[22] 39
Ireland (IRMA)[23] 15
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[24] 26
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[25] 34
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[26] 12
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[27] 3

David Kersh version[edit]

"Wonderful Tonight"
Single by David Kersh
from the album If I Never Stop Loving You
Released March 14, 1998
Genre Country
Label Curb
Producer(s) Pat McMakin
David Kersh singles chronology
"If I Never Stop Loving You"
"Wonderful Tonight"
"Something to Think About"

"Wonderful Tonight" was covered by country singer David Kersh in 1998. His version went to #29 on the Hot Country Songs chart.

Chart performance
Chart (1998) Peak
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[28] 45
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[29] 29

Other cover versions[edit]

The song was covered by country music singer Butch Baker, whose rendition reached #66 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in 1989.

Also in 1989, a Spanish cover was recorded by Argentinian singer JAF.

Filipino musician and entrepreneur Ramon "RJ" Jacinto covered the song for his 2000 album, The Ultimate RJ Bistro Collection. It also later appeared on his 2005 compilation album, Rock 'n Roll Classics.

Country artist Don Williams covered the song and it appeared on his 2004 album, My Heart to You.

Michael Bublé covered the song on his album, Call Me Irresponsible in 2007.

R&B singer Babyface covered the song on his album Playlist, also in 2007.

Mandopop singer-songwriter Khalil Fong covered the song on his 2009 album, Timeless.

On the 20th anniversary edition of WWE's Monday Night Raw, The Rock performed a parody version of the song during a "Rock Concert" segment, poking fun at Vickie Guerrero.

In 2009, Olly Murs performed a cover of the song when he was in the bottom two with John and Edward on the 6th series of The X Factor.

In November 2013, actor Jeremy Irons performed the first verse of the song, accompanying himself on guitar, on the Canadian talk show George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight.

The song was frequently covered by 1990's Minneapolis Alt-Country band Steve's Piece.


  1. ^ Chris Smith (2006). Greenwood Press, ed. The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Rock History: From arenas to the underground, 1974–1980. p. 102. ISBN 978-0-313-33611-9.  "the hard-rock pioneer and guitar god also become a soft-rock star in the mid-1970s. He celebrated his sobriety with (... ) the Top 5 hit "Lay Down Sally" and hit No. 16 with the ballad "Wonderful Tonight," both off his 1977 Slowhand album"
  2. ^ Pattie Boyd (11 August 2007). "I'd pray Eric would pass out and not touch me' - Part 2 of Pattie Boyd's sensational autobiography". Daily Mail. Associated Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 8 March 2008. 
  3. ^ "Ultratop.be – Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 2015-07-30.
  4. ^ "Radio2 Top 30 Artiest: Eric Clapton". VRT (in Dutch). Top30-2.radio2.be. Retrieved 2015-07-30. 
  5. ^ 1050 CHUM – CHUM Charts at the Wayback Machine (archived February 22, 2006). CHUM. Retrieved August 15, 2015.
  6. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 29, No. 18, July 29, 1978". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 2015-07-30. 
  7. ^ a b Gustave, Heidé. Le Singles Argent de la SNEP (1978) (in French) (43 ed.). Paris: Decovert. 'Wonderful Tonight' spent 17 weeks on the national french singles chart and peaked at number three. It was requested to be certified silver. The certification was awarded on the last week, 'Wonderful Tonight' charted in France. 
  8. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Wonderful Tonight". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 2015-07-30.
  9. ^ Oricon International Singles. "Eric Clapton" – Wonderful Tonight.
  10. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Eric Clapton - Wonderful Tonight search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 2015-07-30.
  11. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 2015-07-30.
  12. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 2015-07-30.
  13. ^ "Slowhand – Eric Clapton – Awards – AllMusic". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2015-07-30. 
  14. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 30, No. 14, December 30, 1978". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved August 15, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1988". Ultratop Charts. ultratop.be – Stefan Hung – Hung Medien. Retrieved August 15, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1988". MegaCharts.nl. dutchcharts.nl – Stefan Hung – Hung Medien. Retrieved August 15, 2015. 
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h Keil, Astrid (2014). Die Musikindustrie (Limitierte Auflage). p. 24. 
  18. ^ Miyahara, Ayano (2003). 12月23日からエリック·クラプトンの最高のバラード!. Yomiuri Shimbun. 
  19. ^ Macao Music Sales (2001-2009). Record Sales. 2015-02-08 (Former link: recordsales.2xik.com/The-first-blog-b1/Macao-Music-Sales-2001-2009-b1-p1.htm).
  20. ^ "British single certifications – Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved October 21, 2015.  Enter Wonderful Tonight in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Silver in the field By Award. Click Search
  21. ^ "American single certifications – Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved October 21, 2015.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  22. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Damage – Wonderful Tonight". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  23. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Damage". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  24. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Damage – Wonderful Tonight" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  25. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Damage – Wonderful Tonight". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  26. ^ "Archive Chart: 1997-05-18". Scottish Singles Top 40.
  27. ^ "Archive Chart: 1997-05-17" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  28. ^ "Top RPM Country Tracks: Issue 7891." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. 24 August 1998. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
  29. ^ "David Kersh – Chart history" Billboard Hot Country Songs for David Kersh. Retrieved 3 September 2013.

External links[edit]