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Lay Down (Candles in the Rain) by Melanie

Album: Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)Released: 1970Charted:
  • Melanie (last name: Safka) performed in the rain at Woodstock after she became a household name with "Look What They've Done to My Song, Ma." When the rain stopped, members of the crowd lit candles to let other people know that everything was "bright" (OK). Melanie was so moved by the sight that she wrote this song to commemorate it, then asked the Edwin Hawkins Singers (#2 "Oh Happy Day") to back her up. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Brad Wind - Miami, FL
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Comments: 32

Hmmm. When I was about 14 or 15 I was given "Leftover Wine" & "The Good Book", the latter being my favorite & there were only two songs on it that I wasn't so fond of so I didn't bother to figure out the chords. I was pretty into her music. Now the story I'd always heard was that "Lay Down" (which is just 10 secs. shy of 8 minutes on "The Four Sides of...") was either shortened - perhaps during a live performance - or destined to be shortened. Music editing can mean a hatchet job and should be left to the Musician IMHO.
And what happened or was going to happen (but I think it DID happen) to "Lay Down" was the *very* *reason* that Melanie wrote "What Have They Done To My Song, Ma?" Hasn't anyone else heard this story?
Ann - California
According to a recent biography on Melanie, the Edwin Hawkins Singers nearly backed out of this record because they wanted top billing.Randall - Las Vegas
On June 13th 1970, Melanie performed "Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
Just under a month later on July 5th, 1970 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart {See next post below}...
Also on the same 'Bandstand' show she performed "Peace Will Come (According to Plan)"; on August 16th it debut on the Top 100 at #55, and on September 13th it reached #32 {for 2 weeks}.
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
On July 8th 1970, Melanie performed "Lay Down (Candles In The Rain)" on the ABC-TV program 'The Everly Brothers Show'...
Three days earlier on July 5th, 1970 it peaked at #6 (for 1 week) on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart, it had entered the Top 100 on April 19th, 1970 and spent 17 weeks on the chart...
Between 1970 and 1973 she had nine Top 100 records; two made the Top 10 with one reaching #1,"Brand New Key" for 3 weeks on December 19th, 1971...
Melanie, born Melanie Anne Safka, will celebrate her 68th birthday this coming February 3rd, 2015.
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
I still love this amazing song & artist. This song was released in early 1970 & climbed the charts fast & stayed on the charts for months. I was in the US Army serving in Vietnam when I first heard Melanie's hit over AFVN radio. It had quite an impact on me & still does. The song's message seemed to be anti-war and spirituality. Both aspects made a direct hit on my mind & soul! As a Native American GI, one of the relatively few serving in Vietnam in 1969-70, I was in turmoil over my beliefs, my military commitments, & my tribal spirituality. These things were in conflict and were brought to the surface by this song. These many many decades later, I have changed and moved beyond war and chaos. This powerful song represents for me an awakening of my spirit and a personal move toward doing my small bit toward making this world a better place. Thanks, Melanie, for such a wonderful song-of-the-spirit!Elmer H - Westville, Ok
This great Folk-Rock - Gospel Song,

Was recorded in January 1970, and released in March 1970.

It was in the U.S. Billboard Top 100 for 17 weeks, and reached a high of #3, before dropping out of the Top 100 in December 1970.

Melanie played this song 'twice' at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival.

Melanie came on stage Sunday Morning (August 29th) at 6:00 AM - in front of 600,000 plus festival go-ers.

After playing this song (4th Song of her set), she received a standing ovation.

After completing her regular set of (9 Songs) she received another standing ovation.

For her 1st encore, she performed 'Lay Down' (Candles in the Rain) again, and received another standing ovation.

She then performed another song (2nd Encore), and again received another standing ovation.

It was the 'pinnacle' of her career.
Paul - Southern Pines, Nc
Melanie was a 'Small Club' Folk-Singer, hitting the small venue's in lower New York during 1967 and 1968 - and later she did a
European Tour.

Her 'earthy voice' gave her deep sound, and her pretty face and sexy eyes made he a 'natural' for Television close-ups and photographs.

She struck a note in 1969 with the 'College Brainiacs', also known as the 'smart crowd'. When Woodstock Ventures put together their
band list, Friday Night (Folk Singer's), Melanie was not considered for the Concert, because she was not well known outside of
lower New York and France (of all places), and she only had a few songs in her catalog.
Paul - Southern Pines, Nc
Some could call her voice 'Earthy, raw and passionate.' Others, myself included, could call it squeaky, brassy and annoying.Esskayess - Dallas, Tx
March 2010-Could there have been any other voice capable of bringing this song to life as well as Melanie's? Earthy, raw and passionate; her experience at Woodstock gave her everything she needed to draw upon to produce this amazing song. I was 12 years old when Lay Down was released, for some reason it resonated so strongly with me (while all my friends worshiped the Donnie Osmond type music)...Lay Down still has a stirring effect on me. Kimo, I agree with your post, especially the comment about Melanie channeling from above.Camille - Toronto, Oh
One of the memorable recordings of the last half of the 20th Century. A simple lyric. A basic melody. Uncomplicated production. So why was it so effective? Melanie sings with truly moving vocal passion -- unlike anything this side of Janis Joplin. She is channeling from above. Add the gospel framework of the Edwin Hawkins Singers and a truly strong gospel piano accompaniment -- and, whaalaa, a hit for the ages.Kimo - Kaunakakai Hawaii, Ca
I've loved this song since I first heard it in 1970. The spoken track "Candles In The Rain" was the B-Side of the single. I always perceived the lyrics of "Lay Down" as a description of a sit-down protest blocking the entrance to a military base or weapons manufacturer. Laying close together to block vehicles from coming or going thus causing delay or aggravation to part of the war machine. Bleeding inside each other's wounds -- empathizing with the injuries, maimings, and deaths taking place in Vietnam. Raising candles high to be seen in the dark, the positive vibe so strong one believes that raising them might even stop the rain. Pick that interpretation apart as you will, I claim it only as my own. Everyone gets to take what they will from a work of art.Steve - Newport News, Va
I think there is an element of protest in the song. After all, American soldiers were still dying in a war that many at Woodstock didn't believe in. My guess is that "lay down" is a call to lay down our arms and "white birds" is a symbol for peace. Beyond that, what I sense in the song is a profound understanding that what affects you affects me (when you bleed, I bleed too), and that when we show our solidarity for others who are experiencing something difficult (like fighting in a war), we have the opportunity to experience that sense of oneness with each other and in the process make a positive difference in the world. I feel a lot of love and courage in the song, and that's why it still speaks to me after all these years.Randy - Houston, Tx
One of the most powerful songs ever written. Sure the singing and lyrics are terrific, but the bass player carries this song with excellent bass riffs. This is something you listen to over and over at a very loud volume. Since today is Father's Day, I sent a copy of this song to my son as a gift to him. It has been a song that always has a positive effect on me. It inspires me that people can get together and make a sound like this!Edward Howlett - Magnolia, De
The version with the "little sisters of the sun" spoken intro is on the vinyl album "Candles in the Rain" USA LP: Buddah BDS 5060. You should be able to find this on ebay and other places.Ekristheh - Halath, United States
I was born in 1971 and love this song. I wish music today in 2009 had this passion (or for that the youth movement). That is why some music and political fans go back to prior generations for guidance.Rodney - York, Pa
First heard this song when I was only 9 years old, but it started with the poem little sisters of the sun, it had a profound effect on me then and does still after almost 40 years!Tracey - Margaretville,
Vinyl is very organic - something lacking in digital music - sometimes music doesn't need to be crystal clear...Linc - Beaumont, Tx
For me personally, one of the greatest songs ever. The long version is on "Melanie's Greatest Hits". It sounds a million times better on vinyl, which has a warmer sound.Nicholas - Sydney, Australia
Yes...one of the most powerful and moving songs of all time...But I have GOT to find the LONG version...I'm on a mission to do so!Don - Indianapolis, In
I didn't particularly like this song when it came out, but came to appreciate it over the years. Now it gives me chills when I hear it. She also released a great single a few years later in 1973, a rocking but more obscure song "Bitter Bad".Richard - Talladega, Al
There was an element of anti-war protest/peace advocacy to the entire Woodstock event. As one who lived through the Viet Nam War era, to me it was a pro-peace, anti-war song. I was never a hippie, but in my religious convictions, I am a pacifist.

Her song that I like even more than this one is "Peace Will Come". I am playing it in the background as I write this.
Whozis - Greenup, Ky
This song is number six on my all-time list. Yes, it is very pretty. (So, for that matter, was Melanie.) But I have to disagree with Sarah from the Middle of Nowhere on one point. While I agree that this is not a protest song, I don't find it depressing at all. (Then again, if something's really good, I don't find it depressing.) Those lines--"We bled inside each other's wounds/We all had caught the same disease/And we all sang songs of peace"--are very strong and powerful, and thus very empowering. To me, "We bled inside each other's wounds" is as good a description of a very intuitive sort of understanding, possibly of love. It's a great description of something that happened to me this week. I had my first real conversation with a woman I've seen practically every day for the past two years. That conversation ended with the sort of hug that transcends the physical: Each of us understood how the other had bled, so to speak, even though in the course of that conversation we had time only to talk about a couple of the things each of us had survived. In other words, our spirits connected in some way. I think that is the sort of thing Melanie was singing about. Now, if you want to deride the "prettiness" of the song, try to remember that messages aren't always best delivered with a smirk or with attempts at "irony" or through darkness. After all, if there's darkness, don't you need a candle, or some source of light, to see what's around you?Musicmama - New York, Ny
check out the "best of melanie" cd, dunno if they still sell it. my sister got it on cd. it DOES have the long version of "lay down" so does youtube! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zz9sjMGUM9k

plus, read the lyrics. this is NOT a proest song, this is depressing, but pretty. "we were so close, there was no room...we bled inside each others' wounds...we all had caught the same disease"? come on, tell me that's not depressing! =^_^=
Sara Mackenzie - Middle Of Nowhere, Fl
Does any one know where I can get the CD with the LONG version? It starts out with the "Little Sisters of the Sun" poem and then goes on to the song. It---song WITH poem-- is not on BEST of MelanieEzra - Rio, Tx
"What Have They Done to My Song Ma" was on Melanie's third album "Candles In The Rain" which also obviously had "Lay Down (Candles In The Rain)" on it, so it couldn't have been the song that got Melanie her Woodstock gig. Prior to Woodstock, Melanie had only released one album, "Born To Be" from which the single was "Bobo's Party" which didn't chart. Two months after Woodstock, Melanie's second album "Melanie" was released featuring "Beautiful People", so she was probably performing it around the time of Woodstock.Chris - Mount Prospect, Il
In 1970 I was twenty and walking around in Amsterdam Holland I could listen in the air everywere in the streets the voice of Melanie singing '' Lay down'' that made me feel very deep sensations. Candels in the rain seemed to be to me as the soundtrack of the city, and I was blowing my mind with fantasies beliving that all things were going on to right way, and I think I was right! . . . ciao to everybody: beautifull site.Francesco - Bari, Italy
little sisters of the sun lit candles in the rain
fed the world on oats and raisins
candles in the rain
lit the fire to the soul that never knew its friend candles in the rain
to be there is to remember, candles in the rain so lay it down,lay it down, lay it down again
Meher Baba lives again candles in the rain
men can live as brothers
candles in the rain
Ezra - Rio, Tx
While I was in Korea I heard more of this. There was a spoken lead in.

I can't remember it and haven't been able to find any reference to it.

All I can remember was that the spoken part ended with something like "come on sisters...".

Does anyone else remember it?
Kim - Lafayette, In
Thirty-six years later, we're still trying to keep the dark away. An amazing song, still moving, still relevant.Julian - Minneapolis, Mn
Loved this war protest song!George - Richmond, Va
I never knew this about "Candles in the Rain", and I am SO glad I found out! I knew that it incorporated a gathering of beautiful souls, but this is a great fact for me to file into my love of Melanie and her music!Ellen - Spring Mountain, Pa
Melanie appeared on the Woodstock II album. She later had a top-10 hit with "Brand New Key" and a minor hit with "Beautiful People."Alan - City, Mi
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