"Lay Lady Lay" is a song written by Bob Dylan and originally released in 1969 on his Nashville Skyline album. The words of the song are sung by Dylan in a low, soft-sounding voice instead of his familiar high-pitched nasal-sounding voice. Dylan credited his "new" voice to quitting smoking before recording the song, but some unreleased bootleg tapes from the early '60s reveal that this was an aspect of his vocal persona that he had actually possessed since at least that time. Released as a single in July of 1969, it became one of Dylan's biggest US Pop chart hits, peaking at number seven. The single did even better on the UK Singles Chart, reaching the number five spot. It is often performed live by Dylan, and was included on the Hard Rain and Before the Flood albums. It also appears on his quintuple-platinum Greatest Hits, Volume II album, as well as on compilations Biograph and The Essential Bob Dylan.
The song was originally written for the soundtrack of the movie Midnight Cowboy, but wasn't submitted in time to make the final cut.
Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers has been quoted that Dylan offered them the song to record in the following way. The Everlys were appearing at the Bottom Line in New York, and after the show, Dylan went backstage to visit with them. Phil asked if Bob had any new songs they might record, and he said yes, there was one they could have. He picked up a guitar and sang, but so quietly that the Everlys could not clearly make out all the words, and thought they heard "lay lady lay, lay across my big breasts, babe." Thinking it was a song about lesbians, Don Everly said "thank you, it's a great song, but I don't think we could get away with that", and declined to record it. Dylan did not question them about it and went on to cut the track himself. Months later, they heard Dylan's version on the radio and realized they'd misunderstood the words. The Everlys felt they'd missed a big opportunity and later recorded the song on their album, "EB 84."
Track descriptions on Last.fm are editable by everyone. Feel free to contribute!
All user-contributed text on this page is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply.