Lay It On The Line

Album: Just a Game (1979)
Charted: 86


  • "Lay It On The Line" was written by Triumph founder and co-frontman Rik Emmett. It was a modest hit in America following their breakout "Hold On," but the song was a lot bigger in their native Canada, where they earned their first Juno award nomination (Group of the Year) in 1979, the year it was released.

    Triumph hails from Ontario and claims Rush as an influence. They're also part of the harder-edged progressive power-rock movement of the late '70s. In 2012, Rik Emmett told Songfacts his "bread gets buttered" because of the success of "Lay It On The Line." He elaborated by saying that the whole Just A Game album was huge for the band.
  • Although it sounds like this song may have been written about one specific person, in his Songfacts interview, Rik Emmett said it's not. The song is about "honesty, and just wanting other people to be honest with you." He adds, "When I started to develop that one I probably had the hook. Whoever's singing that song is saying, 'Just give me the truth.' That's really all I want in a relationship is honesty. That's a fairly common theme with me. I come back to that every 15 or 20 songs. There'll be a song about what's true and what's honest and what is it that makes integrity."
  • The album cover art to Just a Game is an illustration in which every object is a symbol for one of the songs. The vinyl LP cover folded out to reveal a board game designed by Michael Levine which was intentionally made unwinnable.
  • This song was written two years before the release of this album. Along with "Hold On," their bigger hit from Just a Game, they'd tried the song out as an acoustic track in concert before deciding to arrange it as a rock number on their high-concept album.
  • This song was featured in the 2010 Adam Sandler movie Grown Ups.

Comments: 4

  • Patrick Longworth from Okanagan Falls, British Columbia, CanadaIt's not one of my all time favourites but I do so relate to the lyrics.
  • George from Vancouver, CanadaF'in A. Brent! A most excellent line for any relationship that you're willing to risk everything for.
  • George from Vancouver, Canadain the 1940s this phrase ("lay it on the line") referred to sexual intercourse; from casino influence, it has since evolved more to mean "put everything at risk" (this seem to be the sense Triumph was working with)
  • Brent from Denair, CaTriumph rocks. This song rocks. A very underrated band. Saw them at Day on the Green in Oakland, Ca in 1983. What an awesome show and time with several buddies that day. One of those friends got me hooked on Triumph and have been a fan ever since. Love the line "Don't Waste My Time"!
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