Lay Down Sally

Album: Slowhand (1977)
Charted: 39 3
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  • This jaunty tune is one of Clapton's biggest American hits. He wrote it in the style of one of his favorite songwriters, the Oklahoma musician J.J. Cale (Clapton said the song was "as close as an Englishman could get to being J.J. Cale). The B-side of the single was Clapton's cover of Cale's song "Cocaine."
  • In this song, Clapton tries to convince a girl to hang out with him in bed instead of leaving. The song is not typical of Clapton's work, which is often based on the blues.
  • Marcy Levy, one of Clapton's backup singers, wrote this with him and sang on it. She toured with Bob Seger before joining Clapton's band in 1973. In 1988, Levy, using the name Marcella Detroit, joined former Bananarama singer Siobhan Fahey to form Shakespears Sister; their song "Stay" was #1 in the UK for eight weeks in 1992.

    Also getting a songwriting credit on this track is George Terry, who also played guitar on the track. Terry was a member of Clapton's band.
  • "Lay Down Sally" is grammatically incorrect, as it would mean taking Sally and actually placing her horizontally. When asking Sally to join him in bed, Clapton's correct grammar would be "Lie Down Sally." He's in good company: Bob Dylan also ignored this rule of grammar in "Lay Lady Lay." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bert - Pueblo, NM
  • Marcy Levy told Q magazine how this song came together: "We were in the studio one day and he [Clapton] said, 'I want to write this song called 'Lay Down Sally.'' So I went into the corner and came up with the melody. At first it had more of a Little Feat groove. But we worked at it all day and eventually Eric hit on the rhythm and I played keyboards, and we recorded the track. Then Eric said, 'Can you write some lyrics at home tonight?' So I did, and we recorded the vocals the next day."
  • Eric Clapton once had his hand slammed in a car door by a member of the band The Blues Project. As told in Al Kooper's Backstage Passes and Backstabbing Bastards, during the landmark 1967 concert "Murray the K's Easter Rock Extravaganza," Clapton, Steve Katz, and Kooper headed out to a local music store between sets and were a little late getting back. Hurrying out of the cab, "Steve was right behind me and as he left the cab he accidentally slammed the door right on Clapton's hand! Eric began to scream in pain, and Steve turned around, ran back, and opened the door. Miraculously, Eric hadn't broken any bones or even punctured his skin for that matter. Steve felt like a jerk, however. Can you imagine that kind of guilt?"
  • This is the first track on the album. Depending on who you ask, "Slowhand" was either a nickname given to Clapton by the group's manager when he was with The Yardbirds (because of his laid-back guitar style), or derived from what would happen when Clapton would break a string on stage: the audience would do a "slow hand clap" while he fixed it.

Comments: 25

  • AnonymousA drunk man trying to talk to his dog sounded better
  • Ward from Blacklick OhioBoo, I don’t think it’s a modulation. The G natural in the melody is plays off the A7 chord, but I feel like the whole tune is in A.
  • Boo from Lancashire, England.An interesting bit of writing. Verse is based on chords A & D in the key of D, and chorus is the same two chords but in the key of A. A subtle modulation!
  • Mark from Los Angeles, CaAgreed one of his best songs, but grammatically incorrect. It's lie down Sally.
  • Randy from Battle Creek, MiClapton is a global nightmare.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 1st 1978, "Lay Down Sally" by Eric Clapton entered the Hot Top 100 chart; and on March 26th it peaked at #3 (for 3 weeks) and spent almost a half-year on the Top 100 (23 weeks)...
    And it was the Bee Gee brothers who kept Eric out of the #1 spot, their "Night Fever" was at #1 and "Stayin' Alive" was at #2 all three weeks "Lay Down Sally" was at #3...
    It track three on side one of his 1977 album, 'Slowhand', the album peaked at #2 on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart...
    Two other tracks from the album also made the Top 100; "Wonderful Tonight" (at #16) and "Cocaine" (at #30, though it wasn't the album track but a recorded 'live' version that charted)...
    Mr. Clapton will celebrate his 69th birthday this coming March 30th.
  • Manoj from Kharagpur, IndiaOne of Clapton's master pieces !!! Reduces tension and gives peace to your mind!! Clapton's a god!
  • Samuel from Peoria, Belgiumgreat song
  • Christopher from Winston-salem, NcThis number shows the "laid back" influence and approach inspired by Okies J.J. Cale and Don Williams. These influences can be heard in other numbers such as "Promises." The Cale connection goes back to "After Midnight" from Clapton's first solo record.
  • Maxwell from Oak Lawn, IlThey definitely mention clapping, Scott. Read throgh the part a bit more carefully, next time.
  • Vincent Ferraro from Hesperia, CaThe way happywookie tells it is right. Clapton said it himself.
  • Alex from Melbourne, Flactually happywookie is right.
  • Alex from Melbourne, FlFrank from Canada is right. He was given the name "Slowhand" because audiences at Yardbird's shows would start a slow clap while he changed strings.
  • Fran from Woolwich, NjI heard this song was written about a women named Sally Dietz that Eric met through a friend and sat up all night talking to her. Is this true?
  • Scott from Boston, MaIn his autobiography, Clapton says he got the nickname because when he first started playing, he couldn't afford backup guitars, so when he broke a string during a show he'd have to change it on stage and he was slower than most people at doing this. Didn't say anything about the way the audience the clapped or the way he played.
  • Mike from Hueytown , AlIve heard country stations play this before
  • Mike from Hueytown , Al"Ive been trying all night long just to talk to you"
  • Mike from Hueytown , AlCool song..great lyrics
  • Nathan from Defiance, OhHis style is opposite of Jimi Hendrix. Clapton would never play a wrong note, Jimi played wrong notes but twisted them until they sounded just
  • Bill from Southeastern Part Of, FlMy cousin had a dog named Sally. Needless to say, he has uttered the title of this song many times. Rest in peace, Sally.
  • Steve from New York City, Nythis isn't the first song on the album slowhand. cocaine is, then wonderful tonight, then finally lay down sally.
  • Laura from New York, NyWell, wherever the nickname comes from, I love how laid-back he is. These amazing sounds are coming out of his guitar, and he's just kinda like ". . . yeah. . ." So awesome.
  • Happywookie from Toronto, CanadaJust heard on the radio another story. When Clapton broke a string on-stage he insisted on replacing it right there instead of grabbing another guitar. The audience would clap the "slowhand clap" together while waiting patiently.
  • Raj from Fayetteville, ArThere is another version about the origin of "Slowhand". It says the name is an ironic reference to the velocity at which his lead breaks.
  • Frank from Brandon, CanadaActually, Clapton received the nick name "Slowhand" because when he changed his guitar strings it took him longer than what is normal.
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