Why did Bob Dylan write 'Lay Lady Lay' for Barbra Streisand? Singer reveals true intentions behind iconic song
Streisand said, 'I'm very flattered to find out that Bob Dylan wrote 'Lay Lady Lay' for me. What I remember is getting flowers from him with a handwritten note asking me to sing a duet with him'
An old interview with legendary singer and songwriter Bob Dylan, which recently became public, revealed new deatails about the iconic song 'Lay Lady Lay'. In the interview, when asked if 'Lay Lady Lay' was originally written for the soundtrack to the Oscar-winning drama 'Midnight Cowboy' (1969), Dylan said, "Actually, it was written for Barbra Streisand."
According to Dylan himself, whose songs are a staple of American lyricism, 'Lay Lady Lay' was written as a tune for Streisand to sing and not as a tribute or dedication to her. Dylan, an extremely private figure, did not give any further information about his relationship with Streisand. In a statement to NBC, Streisand said: "I'm very flattered to find out that Bob Dylan wrote 'Lay Lady Lay' for me. What I remember is getting flowers from him with a handwritten note asking me to sing a duet with him, but I just couldn't imagine it then. Guess what, Bob, I can imagine doing it now!"
The interview also revealed why Dylan, born Robert Allen Zimmerman, changed his name. Dylan said that the reason behind the name change was because he worried about anti-Semitism. He said, "I mean, it wouldn't have worked if I'd changed the name to Bob Levy. Or Bob Neuwirth. Or Bob Doughnut. The singer, in a handwritten note, elaborated on anti-Semitic prejudice and his own Jewish identity writing, "A lot of people are under the impression that Jews are just money lenders and merchants. A lot of people think that all Jews are like that. Well, they used to be 'cause that's all that was open to them. That's all they were allowed to do."
History of 'Lay Lady Lay'
'Lay Lady Lay' was written by Dylan and originally released in 1969 on his 'Nashville Skyline' album. The iconic song has been covered by numerous bands and artists over the years, including the Byrds, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, the Everly Brothers, Buddy Guy and Anthony Hamilton, Melanie, the Isley Brothers, Bob Andy, Duran Duran, Magnet, Hoyt Axton, Angélique Kidjo, Ministry, Malaria!, Lorrie Morgan and Minimal Compact. The track reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has Bob Dylan on guitar, harmonica, keyboards and vocals; Pete Drake on the pedal steel guitar, Charlie Daniels on guitar, Charlie McCoy on bass, Kenny Buttrey on drums, and Bob Wilson on the organ and piano.