Music Throwback Saturday: Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)

Lay Down was a song that I would hear on an album and then play again right away.

melaniesafkaMelanie Safka, who performed under her first name, appeared at the Woodstock festival in 1969. Although she doesn’t appear in the 1970 movie, she does have songs on the second album from the three-day concert.

Her first single was What Have They’ve Done to My Song, Ma, which became a much bigger hit for the New Seekers later in 1970 (#14 US Billboard).

Her first big smash, though, inspired by her Woodstock experience, was Lay Down (Candles in the Rain) for which she enlisted her Buddah Records label mates, the Edwin Hawkins Singers.

From American Songwriter: “Melanie had to beg the group to join her on the song, since they were reluctant to perform any song that didn’t make specific mention of the Lord. ‘But he’s in there,’ she told them in the studio, and she must have been convincing. ‘By the time I finished singing,’ Safka says, ‘they were joining me in the chorus.'”

It went to #6 on the Billboard charts. #3 in Australia, #5 in Canada, #1 in the Netherlands, and #4 in France.

On the US version of the Candles in the Rain LP, which I own, there’s a spoken-word track that segues into the singing portion.

LISTEN to:
single version (3:50)
spoken word intro (5:45)
live version (6:15)

She would have several Top 40 hits in the United States, notably Brand New Key, which was #1 for three weeks in the fall of 1971. But it is Lay Down that I would hear on an album and then have to play again right away.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. i hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

3 thoughts on “Music Throwback Saturday: Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)”

  1. She got one odd distinction after leaving Buddah for her own Neighborhood Records: “Brand New Key,” of course, was an enormous hit, which she followed up with “Ring the Living Bell,” while Buddah dug into the vaults to cash in with “The Nickel Song.” All three were in the Top 40 at one point.

  2. That live version of Candles was fantastic. But I was shocked when the camera panned the audience of extremely straight laced mostly older people sitting up straight in their seats, smiling and clapping woodenly! Where were the hairy stoned hippies dancing about? (BTW, the link to the spoken word and long fadeout video is dead.)

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