As I Lay Me Down

Album: Whaler (1994)
Charted: 24 6
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Songfacts®:

  • "As I Lay Me Down" is written and performed by singer/songwriter Sophie B. Hawkins and is her second-highest charting Billboard hit right behind "Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover." The contrast between the songs is quite pronounced, showing off Hawkins' broad thematic range.

    "As I Lay Me Down" is actually a ballad in memory of her father. As told in the 1998 film documentary The Cream Will Rise, Hawkins has struggled to overcome problems with her dysfunctional relationship with her mother and brother. With that in mind, her father might have been her main source of stability in her home.
  • This tender ballad was a surprise hit for Hawkins. Her second album, Whaler, was released in October 1994 with the uptempo "Right Beside You" issued as the first single. It peaked at #56 in the US and the next single, "Don't Don't Tell Me No," didn't chart at all. Released as the third single, "As I Lay Me Down" didn't seem like a hit, but radio stations in the Top 40 and Adult Contemporary formats loved the song because it was such an accessible, non-threatening tune without a trace of grunge or hip-hop. The phones weren't exactly lighting up with requests for the song, but it fit nicely on the playlists. It reached #6 in October 1995, a year after the album was released.
  • "As I Lay Me Down" is familiar not only from heavy radio airplay, but from soundtrack usage in the TV series Dawson's Creek and Party of Five. It was also used in the 1995 film Now and Then, a chick flick about girls bicycling around the neighborhood to (mostly) 1969-1970 music.
  • The Whaler album was produced by Steve Lipson, who produced the Annie Lennox albums Diva and Medusa. Hawkins told Q: "I think he works well with strong women because he's a very temperamental guy. He yells and screams at you when you get in the way."
  • If it's a liberal cause, Hawkins is likely an active supporter. She's vegan, an animal-rights activist, an advocate for female musicians, and as a member of Waterkeeper Alliance, an environmentalist. She also reworked her "Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover" single into "Damn We Wish You Were President" in support of former first lady Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign for US president.
  • Sophie Muller directed the music video, which follows Hawkins to different locations, like singing outside of a New York City apartment building and swinging on a swing in the forest.

Comments: 8

  • Linda W. from Apple Valley Mn PkWhat a beautiful song...it struck a different emotional cord with me now that I will soon have to say goodbye to my husband. It came on while we were taking our last drive and as he started singing it to me I lost it.
  • Thomas from MinnesotaThe background lyrics, sung by Sophie herself are "Ooh La Kah Koh". After she said at 1st they meant "Wash Your Feet Before You Sleep" in an African language, see later admitted, she made them up for the song and they had no particular meaning.
  • Chris from IndianaIn an interview in the late 90's, Sophie said this song is about her father who passed shortly before the song was written. She said she often hears his voice and thinks he's really there. "I will see you when the sun comes out again" is a reference to their reunion in the after life.
  • Sares from SydneyRiina from Fractured States Of America - The background lyrics are 'Ooh la kah koh' apparently :)
  • Desire Hope from UgandaThis is my favorite song as its so sweet to listen to, it's so marvelous, love it
  • Riina from Fractured States Of AmericaDoes anyone have any idea what the backing vocals are singing? They play over and over in my head but I have no idea what I'm singing lol!
  • David from Orlando, FlThis is one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. At first glance, the title "As I Lay Me Down" looks as though it might be a lullaby, and in fact the melody of the first verse suggests such a direction. Ultimately, the true depth of the song, which I believe can apply to a variety of situations, is the feeling of loss and the struggle to grasp the reasons for it. Obviously, a variety of notable songs have addressed this topic, but the piano and Sophie's vocal bring a poignant aspect to her song. In addition, the poetic lyrics add a different experience to a more personal singer-songwriter experience than one usually hears on the radio. It would be great to have a renaissance of radio airplay for a new generation of singer-songwriters.
  • Camille from Toronto, OhLove this song. Sophie B Hawkins had a couple great sounding hits, this being one of them. Oh, and "Party of Five".....my gosh, what an excellent show.....shouldn't they be making a made-for-TV movie now about where those kids are at in their lives now?
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