Lady D'Arbanville

Album: Mona Bone Jakon (1970)
Charted: 8
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • Lady D'Arbanville is the actress Patti D'Arbanville, who dated Stevens from 1968 to about 1970. The song is rather macabre, with Stevens singing to her corpse, promising to always be with her.
  • Stevens was just 21 when this song was released, but he had already been around the track a few times and was moving into a new phase. He was 18 when he issued his first album, which contains "I Love My Dog" and "Matthew And Son," both hits in his native UK. His second album didn't fare as well and he got a nasty case of tuberculosis, which sidelined him for nearly a year. It was during his recovery that he wrote songs for his next album, Mona Bone Jakon, including "Lady D'Arbanville," which was the only hit from the set. His next album, Tea For The Tillerman, was his breakthrough, earning him attention in America for the first time.
  • Patti D'Arbanville was linked to Mick Jagger in the '70s and also had a relationship with the actor Don Johnson, with whom she has a son, Jesse. D'Arbanville played Rayanne's mom on the TV series My So-Called Life.
  • When Stevens converted to the Islamic faith in 1977, he was faced with a dilemma because many of his older songs would be considered dissolute or disrespectful to women, the antithesis of Islamic virtue and morality. This tune, for instance, has proved tricky. He told The Sunday Times July 26, 2009: "My wife's a very possessive and jealous lady. She hates 'Lady D'Arbanville,' so I changed it for her. I wrote a song called 'Angel of War,' based on the melody. If I sang 'Hard Headed Woman' today, I'd say that's about my wife."
  • A live version recorded in Tokyo is on Stevens' 2001 Boxed Set. Stevens, now known as Yusuf Islam, stopped making secular music in 1979, but eventually decided that he was proud of his old songs and released them in the compilation.
  • Cat Stevens recorded a black and white video featuring both him and the song's muse, Patti D'Arbanville, in a Gothic English mansion. As Stevens performs the tune, D'Arbanville drifts around the building as if she were a ghost. At no point do the two characters interact, adding to the feeling of loss and separation that is a central lyrical theme. It is one of the earliest cinematic music videos ever made.

    Yusuf/Stevens' team rediscovered the clip while delving deep in his vaults. They re-released it as part of the 50th anniversary celebration of Mona Bone Jakon with newly remastered audio.

Comments: 17

  • Sharon from AustraliaFor Years I pondered the lyrics, knowing there was more to it. Metaphors are common language of Poets , Singers songwriters, it makes perfect sense.
    It must of been painful for Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam
  • Pamela from Firebaugh Can.I have been a fan of Cat Stevens music since 1972. Its the first music that I actually felt and didn't just hear. I enjoyed it then and continue to enjoy it just as much today. His voice is out if this world. Absolutely love hearing him sing. He's been a big contribution to my love for music.
  • Christoph from Zurich, SwitzerlandThis song helped me in the year 2000, when my lovely 16 years old daughter Leah did in a terrible accident - bike against a lorry... thank you Steven. I still have to cry when I hear it!
  • Deethewriter from Saint Petersburg, Russia FederationTaken from Original Rolling Stone 'Teaser and The Firecat' LP Review [December 9, 1971]: "
    When his girlfriend, who happened to be named D'Arbanville, left him for Mick Jagger, he wrote "Lady D'Arbanville." The melody (consciously or not) was very similar to Jagger's "Lady Jane." In the lyrics, Cat effectively laid Miss D'Arbanville to rest: "Tho' in your grave you lie, I'll always be with you," etc., etc. Cat had transmuted his unseemly feelings into a courtly and mysterious ballad that was a hit in six countries. Courtly and mysterious and so gentle-sounding it makes your flesh creep."
  • Lin from Richmond Hill, OnI also love this song, however, I've been thinking. If Cat Stevens broke up with Patti D'arbanville via this song, that's even worse than a text or on face book . All of a sudden you're out of the shower listening to the radio and you hear a song about yourself..how utterly sad :(
  • Marlene from Montreal, QcPatti D'arbanville also appeared on the daytime soap, "Guiding Light" as "Selena Davis", an ex prostitute. The Actress who played her daughter was Tammy Blanchard.
  • Kayla from Jhgkg, NbI just love this song. I don't really know what it means,but it almost seems like some woman he loved died. And I also love sad lisa and many more.
    And Cat Stevens was so cute when he was young.
  • Pal from Los Angeles, CaI think some of these song facts need to be edited, since on the facts for "Wild World", it states Cat Stevens wrote that song more about himself than anyone in particular, including Patti. Also, Patti and Don Johnson were never married.
  • Bob from Southfield, MiPatti D'Arbanville also played a female mob leader on "The Sopranos" who is murdered.
  • Anuj from New Delhi, IndiaHeard only few songs with such depth...
    Indeed this rose will never die!
    this rose will never die!
  • Unai from Zaragoza, SpainAbsolutamente increible. Un abrazo Gustavo, siento mucho tu pérdida
  • Michael from Tasmania, AustraliaVery nice song
    Cat is the best song writer i have ever heard, his songs have so much meaning and so much emotion
    this song has it all, emotion and feeling.
  • Katerina from AthensIt makes me cry... One of the best songs I've ever heard... Love Cat Stevens's work!
  • Eloise from London, EnglandThis is one of the few songs in the world with the power to make me cry, even after 30 years of listening to it. Gustavo in Spain, I am so sorry to read about your wife; music can be a great solace and I hope you find some peace.There is a great song called Sand and Water by Beth Nielsen Chapman (if you don't already know it) and it speaks of exactly what you're going through.
  • Gustavo from Avila, SpainMy lovely young wife just died and I identify myself with Cat Steven's feelings in this song.
  • Justin from Bakersfield, Cait sounds like a necrophilliac's anthom but i love all of Cats work.
  • Nikh from Athens, Greeceexcellente
see more comments

Editor's Picks

N.W.A vs. the World

N.W.A vs. the WorldSong Writing

How the American gangsta rappers made history by getting banned in the UK.

Songs in Famous Movie Scenes: Tarantino Edition

Songs in Famous Movie Scenes: Tarantino EditionMusic Quiz

Whether he's splitting ears or burning Nazis, Quentin Tarantino uses memorable music in his films. See if you can match the song to the scene.

Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull

Ian Anderson of Jethro TullSongwriter Interviews

The flautist frontman talks about touring with Led Zeppelin, his contribution to "Hotel California", and how he may have done the first MTV Unplugged.

TV Theme Songs

TV Theme SongsFact or Fiction

Was a Beatles song a TV theme? And who came up with those Fresh Prince and Sopranos songs?

Adam Young of Owl City

Adam Young of Owl CitySongwriter Interviews

Is Owl City on a quest for another hit like "Fireflies?" Adam answers that question and explains the influences behind many others.

Corey Hart

Corey HartSongwriter Interviews

The Canadian superstar talks about his sudden rise to fame, and tells the stories behind his hits "Sunglasses At Night," "Boy In The Box" and "Never Surrender."