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Lady Godiva by Peter & Gordon

Album: Original HitsReleased: 1966Charted:
6
16
  • According to legend, Lady Godiva rode naked on a horse through the streets of Coventry, England. She did this to ease the tax burden of the citizens that was imposed by her husband, who agreed to relieve the toll if she did this.
  • The mayor of Coventry, the home town of the real Lady Godiva, branded this obscene and banned it there. (thanks, Brad Wind - Miami, FL)
  • In the UK, "Lady Godiva" refers to a five pound note. It is a rhyming slang for "fiver." (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
  • A cover version by singer-songwriter Alex Day peaked at #15 on the UK singles chart in April 2012. Day filmed a video for his version, which starred Carrie Hope Fletcher (McFly's Tom Fletcher's sister) as Lady Godiva. The singer himself also played various characters.
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Comments: 14

My all time favorite Peter and Gordon song along with the similar "Knight in Rusty Armor."Steve - Whittier, Ca
Great 1966 hit song.James - Yucaipa, Ca
(continuing from Wikipedia): (The Legend): According to the popular story , Lady Godiva took pity on the people of Coventry, who were suffering grieviously under her husband's oppressive taxation. ..Lady Godiva appealed again and again to her husband, who obstinately refused to remit the tolls. ..At last, weary of her entreaties, he said he would grant her request if she would strip naked and ride through the streets of the town. ..Lady Godiva took him at his words and, after issuing a proclamation that all persons should keep within doors and shut their windows, she rode through the town, clothed only in her long hair. ..Only one person in the town, a tailor ever afterwards known as Peeping Tom, disobeyed her proclamation in one of of the most famous instances of voyeurism. ..In the story, Tom bores a hole in his shutters so that he might see Godiva pass, and is struck blind. ..In the end, Godiva's husband keeps his word and abolished the onerous taxes. ...The oldest form of the legend has Godiva passing through Coventry market from one end to the other while the people were assembled, attended only by two knights. ..This version is given in Flores Historiarum by Roger of Wendover (died 1236), a somewhat gullible collector of anecdotes, who quoted from an earlier writer. ..The later story, with its episode of "Peeping Tom", appeared first among 17th century chroniclers. ...At the time, it was customary for penitents to make a public procession in only their shift, a sleeveless white garment similar to a slip today and one which was certainly considered "underwear". ..Thus, some scholars speculate, Godiva may have actually travelled through town as a penitent, in her shift. ..Godiva's story may have passed into folk history to be recorded in a romanticised version. ..Another theory has it that Lady Godiva's "nakedness" may refer to her riding through the streets stripped of her jewellery, the trademark of her upper class rank. .. However, both these attempts to reconcile known facts with legend are weak; there is no known use of the word "naked" in the era of the earliest accounts to mean anything other than "without any clothing whatsoever".Chomper - Franjkin County, Pa
(from Wikipedia): Godiva (Old English : Godgifu ,"god gift"), often referred to as Lady Godiva (fl. 1040 - 1080), was an Anglo - Saxon noblewoman who, according to legend, rode naked through the streets of Coventry, in England,in order to regain a remission of the oppressive taxation imposed by her husband on his tenants. ...The name ,"Peeping Tom" for a voyeur originates from later versions of this legend in which a man named Tom had watched her ride and was struck blind or dead. ...Lady Godiva was the wife of Leofric, Earl of Mercia. ..Her name occured in charters and the Doomsday survey, though the spelling varies. ..the Old English name Godgifu or Godgyfu meant "gift of God"; Godiva was the Latinised version. ..Since the name was a popular one, there are contemporaries of the same name. ...If she was the same Godgifu who appears in the chronicles of Ely , Liber Eliensis (end of 12th century), then she was a widow when Leofric married her. ..Both Leofric and Godiva were benefactors to religious houses. ..In 1043 Leofric founded and endowed a Benedictine monastery at Coventry. ..Written in the 12th century, Roger of Wendover credits Godiva as the persuasive force behind this act. ..In the 1050s, her name is coupled with that of her husband on a grant of land to the monastery of St. Mary, Worcester and the endowment of the minister at Stow St. Mary, Lincolnshire. ..She and her husband are commemorated as benefactors of other monasteries at Leominster, Chester, Much Wenlock and Evesham. ...The manor of Woolhope in Herefordshire, along with three others, was given to the cathedral at Hereford before the Norman Conquest by the benefactresses Wulviva and Godiva - usually held to be this Godiva and her sister. ..The church there has a 20th century stained glass window representing them. ...Her mark , "di Ego Godiva Comittsa diu istud desideravi", appears on a charter purportedly given by Theorold of Bucknall to the Benedictine monastery of Spalding. ..However, this chater is considered spurious by many historians. ..Even so it is possible that Thorold, who appears in the Doomsday Book as sheriff of Lincolnshire, was her brother. ...After Leofric's death in 1057, his widow lived on until sometime between the Norman Conquest of 1066 and 1086. ..She is mentioned in the Doomsday survey as one of the few Anglo - Saxons and the only woman to remain a major landholder shortly after the conquest. ..By the time of this great survey in 1086, Godiva had died, but her former lands are listed, although now held by others. ..Thus, Godiva apparently died between 1066 and 1086. ...The place where Godiva was buried has been a matter of debate. ..According to the Evesham Chronicle, she was buried at the church of the Blassed Trinity at Evesham, which is no longer standing. ..But, according to the authoritative account in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, "There is no reason to doubt that she was buried with her husband at Coventry, despite the assertion of the Evesham chronicle that she lay in Holy Trinity, Evesham. ...Dugdale ( 1656 )says that a window with repesentations of Leofric and Godiva was placed in Trinity Chruch, Coventry, about the time of Richard II.Chomper - Franjkin County, Pa
Lady Godiva is my great Aunt direct bloodline. It is written as possible truth that she did actually ride through town in order to get Earl Leofric my uncle to ease up on the taxes so peasants could afford fine arts and other entertainments. This is song could maybe possibly be funny if it didn't make fun of my family history.Chera - Dfw, Tx
Ok, I guess I have to reveal the family mythology at this point. Accoring to family history, Lady Godiva did not actually strip. The family story is that Godiva, heiress and daughter of the Earl of Lincoln, married this dude named Leofric the Kingmaker. For some unknown reason, Godiva "stripped" herself of her jewels to enrich the church abbey at Coventry where both she and Leofric are buried. Noble Godiva's fame rests not on her good works but on a "ride" which "researchers have found no proof that it ever took place." [I'm quoting from a family record.]"The legend may have originated in the charitable "denuding" of herself for religious purposes." Personally, I rather prefer the story of the side-saddle ride through Coventry where the guys yelled, "Hurray for our side!"Steve - Marquette, Mi
There's also an even seedier song by the Velvet Underground called Lady Godiva's Operation, at least based on what I've heard about it...I don't know if they're really related though...any responses?Paul - Cincinnati, Oh
While waisting time on the internet I discovered that a portion of this song was sung by BARBARA FELDON on the Smother's Brothers show. (What a hoot!)
Reg, Kemptville, ON, CA
Reg - Kemptville, On
Lady Godiva supposedly rode side saddle through the streets of Coventry. This gave rise to a popular cry when the men lined up on one side of the street cried out "hurray for our side!"
Nyuck, Nyuck, Nyuck.
Lynn - The Village, Ok
I first heard this song on WLS Chicago when it came out in '66. I was 10. I was bewitched. I BEGGED my mom to buy it for me. She did... the next day... at a Piggly Wiggly store. Some grocery & drug stores sold 45's back then, always stocking the current "Top Ten". I wore it out. I thought, from this record, that Peter & Gordon were near as cool as God (The Beatles). Turns out Peter is Peter Asher, and Paul was steady with sister Jane Asher, and living in the Ashers' attic when this song was written. All the Beatles had that kind of voodoo back then. Everything they touched...Steve - Janesville, Wi
this song is refering to lady godiva, a historical character in coventry uk, she " made a ride, that caused a scene" in the 11th century through the city of coventry, naked and on horseback "her long blonde hair" covering her modesty. This song however is implying that godiva, is involved in burlesque or pornongraphy. Which is why the mayor of coventry probably banned it as Lady Godiva is a saint and patron saint of engineers (see Godiva's Hymn).Tommy - Coventry, England
This was a bizarre song that sounded like it was recorded in the 30s or 40s. I liked the piano solo at the end that had a ragtime-like beat. To the mayor of Coventry, England. I never found anything obscene.Howard - St. Louis Park, Mn
Good song, but I gotta admit I have no idea who or what it's about. Is it someone in particular or a total fantasy?Frank - Westminster, Sc
He directs "Certificate X, and all the guys are craning their necks..."

I "crane my neck" when "checking someone out", too!
Dave - Oak Park, Mi