A couple of Kiwi academics have come up with a tasty take on a Beatles song inspired by Eric Clapton's fondness for chocolate.
Savoy Truffle, they say, was a metaphor for a bittersweet relationship between composer George Harrison, his then wife Pattie Boyd, and Clapton – who English model Boyd would later wed.
The 5000-plus word academic article 'Savoy Truffle': love, lust and longing in a box of chocolates was written by Auckland University of Technology senior lecturer in hospitality management Lindsay Neill and AUT dean of the faculty of culture and society Professor Nigel Hemmington.
It is due to appear in May's edition of the Journal of European Popular Culture, Hemmington said - the same month Boyd, who inspired Harrison to write Something and Clapton to pen Layla and Wonderful Tonight, is visiting New Zealand for the first time.
Neill said he and Hemmington, both 61, wrote the article because "we're both old Beatles fans, and I've had a particular interest in that song".
A researcher of vernacular and popular culture, and "engaged in the sociology of food", Neill had been fascinated "that somebody could actually write a song based on a box of chocolates".
Lyrics in critically-acclaimed Savoy Truffle, released in 1968, list various flavours offered in a popular box of chocolates and are said to serve as a warning to Clapton about the detrimental effect his gorging would have on his teeth.
But Neill said lyrics in Beatles songs, including those to which Harrison contributed, could be "multi-voiced… often metaphors for something else".
The article by he and Hemmington said it "re-reads The Beatles' song, 'Savoy Truffle', not as an ode to Eric Clapton's rotting teeth and chocolate consumption, but rather as a thinly veiled rock music metaphor reflecting the triptych love relationship" between Harrison, Boyd, and Clapton.
Harrison and Boyd married in 1966 and separated in 1974. They were divorced in 1977 and Boyd wed Clapton in 1979.
Layla, recorded in 1970, was inspired by Clapton's unrequited love for her.
Neill, who knew Savoy Truffle "just about backwards", started writing the "conceptual article" about two years ago.
He was surprised and delighted to discover Boyd was visiting New Zealand at the time it was due to be published.
He had sent a copy of the article to Boyd, who was going to read it, Neill said.
"If she says it's got some merit, then it adds credibility to it," he said.
"If she was to say, 'this is complete and utter rubbish'… I'll just take it on the chin."
He is looking forward to seeing Boyd at Auckland Museum on May 19, where she is holding a show, George Harrison, Eric Clapton and Me: An Evening with Pattie Boyd.
It is her first time here after plans to visit in the '70s with Clapton were stymied by New Zealand authorities' approach to a drug conviction in London.
A report on the incident said she and Harrison were in each fined £250 in 1969 for possession of cannabis.