Lay Your Hands On Me


  • Gabriel wrote this in an attempt to connect with the audience and engage them in the music. He used to dive into the audience when he performed this live - it was one of the first uses of the stage dive.
  • Gabriel said this song is "about trust, about healing and sacrifice."
  • Although the title and lyrics conjure up religious imagery, it is not meant to be a reference to Jesus Christ.
  • Gabriel used a Fairlight CMI sampling device to capture the sound of dragging concrete, which he worked into the mix. For the Security album - his fourth as a solo artist - he had some new toys to play with, including a Linn LM-1 drum machine, a Polymoog, and a Prophet-5 synth. He used these devices to process the sounds his band created, and make new ones.
  • This song was featured in the 2017 Season 5 episode of The Americans, "I'm Going Home." The scene, which involved a character named Gabriel, touches on religion and discovery, which are themes in the song. In the Season 1 finale of the series, Peter Gabriel's song "Games Without Frontiers."

Comments: 8

  • Jane from Dover, NhYes, he used it for trust. From what I have read, PG believed that if a person was in need, others around them would gather together & help that person. His "stage dive" was about that theory. A lot of the Security album is very deep in its meaning & symbolism & very primitive with the sounds & emotions he evokes. PG 's subjects on the disc range from Carl Jung references to Native American story of fear of loosing their culture to white society . Emotions range from fear & anxiety to jealousy & healing through trust. What PG did with his "stage dive" is he turned his back to the audience & fell straight back, as in a trust game. He would get the audience worked up into a hypnotic like trance with the line "Lay your hands on me" for up to 5 minutes & longer. IT was not about jumping or diving into the crowd. I saw him 2 times as part of the So tour & he performed it in a small venue in Buffalo University as well as in a large one at Brendan Bern Arena in NJ. That was 1986 & 1987. I believe it was the last tour he performed the song as well as the dive. I have never felt what I experienced at those 2 shows anything close to that again. My world was changed. I have been lucky to see PG live 5 times.
  • Oldpink from New Castle, InGabriel again using mystical sounds and some very strange lyrics "Walking though gardens/Thornless roses/Fat men playing with garden hoses"
    Still a good song, albeit one that almost never gets on the radio.
  • Eric from Pensacola, FlJust a note that you all above seem to have missed. This is a song about being at a cocktail party and the lead see someone he wants to be with without getting too much attention. Your getting too deep thinking he wrote the song to "connect with the audience," and " healing... sacrifice..." and there is no religious implication. You are correct that he was one of the first to use the stage dive.
  • Walter from Abington, MaFYI: The first stage dive was done by Iggy Pop in 1968...
  • Walter from Abington, MaI heard that he stopped stage diving after he lost his watch...
  • Joshua from Twin Cities, MnLater in the 1980s, the Thompson Twins and Bon Jovi would each record a song titled "Lay Your Hands On Me." None of these songs had anything in common aside from the title.
  • Steve from Belmont, CaI remember that I saw him at Madison Square Garden in NYC on the Sledgehammer tour, and being a Gabriel guy from way back and being with my 'new to Gabriel' date and a rowdy crowd of kids seeing him for the first time with his new found pop fame - I thought no way will he jump into the crowd anymore ( in the old days they would calmly pass him around as he sung). Then Lay Your Hands On Me started, and I informed my date, that this is the song but he can't - they will tear him up. But sure enough the song ended with him at the edge of the stage, his back to the audience at one of the most rowdiest arenas/towns in the world, and he slowly fell in - and sure enough the crowd grabbed at and twisted him immediately. Two large roadies pulled him back up - 30 seconds longer and he would have been naked and beaten. It was at that point that I realized that this was a religion to him and he was a much better human than most - as is written -- it is about trust.

  • Eric from Lake Forest, CaThe stage dive was an exhibition of trust for Gabriel-hands would pass him almost all around the floor. He would stand facing away from the audience, spread his arms and fall backwards. He would then continue singing.

    He stopped doing this after he became popular-he was getting torn to pieces.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

David Gray

David GraySongwriter Interviews

David Gray explains the significance of the word "Babylon," and talks about how songs are a form of active imagination, with lyrics that reveal what's inside us.

Billy Steinberg - "Like A Virgin"

Billy Steinberg - "Like A Virgin"They're Playing My Song

The first of Billy's five #1 hits was the song that propelled Madonna to stardom. You'd think that would get you a backstage pass, wouldn't you?

80s Video Director Jay Dubin

80s Video Director Jay DubinSong Writing

Billy Joel and Hall & Oates hated making videos, so they chose a director with similar contempt for the medium. That was Jay Dubin, and he has a lot to say on the subject.

Michael Schenker

Michael SchenkerSongwriter Interviews

The Scorpions and UFO guitarist is also a very prolific songwriter - he explains how he writes with his various groups, and why he was so keen to get out of Germany and into England.

Sub Pop Founder Bruce Pavitt On How To Create A Music Scene

Sub Pop Founder Bruce Pavitt On How To Create A Music SceneSong Writing

With $50 and a glue stick, Bruce Pavitt created Sub Pop, a fanzine-turned-label that gave the world Nirvana and grunge. He explains how motivated individuals can shift culture.

Lace the Music: How LSD Changed Popular Music

Lace the Music: How LSD Changed Popular MusicSong Writing

Starting in Virginia City, Nevada and rippling out to the Haight-Ashbury, LSD reshaped popular music.