Lady Godiva (song)

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"Lady Godiva"
Single by Peter and Gordon
B-side Morning's Calling
Released 9 September 1966
Format 7"
Recorded 1966
Genre Pop
Length 2:24
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Mike Leander, Charlie Mills, Gordon Mills

"Lady Godiva" is a 1966 single recorded by British pop duo Peter and Gordon.

The song is a music-hall style number which frivolously references the legend of Lady Godiva, reimagining the legend in the modern day: a director from Hollywood witnesses her legendary ride (with "her long blonde hair" obscuring her breasts and other private parts) and recruits the lady to star in his films, but he turns out to be a director of pornographic films.

Peter and Gordon version[edit]

A drastic stylistic shift for Peter and Gordon who had specialized in melancholy love songs, "Lady Godiva" in its music-hall style recalled several Herman's Hermits' hits and also "Winchester Cathedral" by the New Vaudeville Band which was rising up the UK charts when Peter and Gordon recorded "Lady Godiva": eventually "Winchester Cathedral" and "Lady Godiva" would share the US Top Ten with the former succeeding the latter at #1 in Canada. Peter and Gordon's producer John Burgess brought the duo "Lady Godiva" which Burgess had recently produced for the Paul Jones album My Way. Peter Asher, who with Gordon Waller comprised Peter and Gordon, recalls that he [Asher] objected to recording the song with Waller resultantly saying: "It'll be funny [so] shut up". The single was recorded at Abbey Road Studios and reunited Peter and Gordon with Geoff Love who after arranging and conducting the duo's first six singles had sat out their last three A-sides: "Lady Godiva" would be Love's final Peter and Gordon A-side collaboration.

Released September 1966, "Lady Godiva" would afford Peter and Gordon a comeback in both the UK and especially the US: in the UK the single with a #16 peak returned Peter and Gordon to the Top 20 after their precedent two singles "Woman" and "To Show I Love You" had fallen short (the latter not having reached the UK Top 50) while in the US "Lady Godiva" rose as high as #6 in December 1966 the duo's first Top Ten showing since "I Go to Pieces" in February 1965. The single sold over a million copies and was awarded a gold disc.[1]

It has been reported that the mayor of Coventry attempted to suppress local airplay of the single: Peter Asher would recall hearing that the mayor felt the song "was insulting to his city or something" although Asher claimed to have had no immediate awareness of this purported boycott - "I don't know if some record company press hack dreamed that one up or if it was real. I [just] read [about] it".[2]

In Australia "Lady Godiva" by Peter and Gordon reached #1 on the chart dated October 29, 1966 remaining at #1 for a total of three weeks. "Lady Godiva" also afforded Peter and Gordon a #1 hit in Canada and a moderate hit in the Netherlands (#30), South Africa (#18) and Sweden (#19).

Peter and Gordon would return to the US Top 40 with two singles subsequent to "Lady Godiva": "Knight In Rusty Armour" and "Sunday for Tea"; however "Lady Godiva" would be the duo's final UK hit.

A Side B Side United Kingdom United States
Release date Record number Release date Record number
"Lady Godiva" "Morning's Calling" 9 September 1966 Columbia DB 8003 September 1966 US Capitol 5740

Alex Day version[edit]

"Lady Godiva"
Lady Godiva (single cover).jpg
Single by Alex Day
Released 1 April 2012 (2012-04-01)
Format Digital download, CD single
Recorded 2011
Genre Pop
Length 2:28[3]
Writer(s) Mike Leander, Charlie Mills, Gordon Mills
Alex Day singles chronology
"Forever Yours"
"Lady Godiva"
"Stupid Stupid"
Audio sample
file info · help

In 2012, the song was covered and released as single by English musician Alex Day who has stated: "I thought I'd pick an existing really great song and modernise it — I like introducing older music to my audience and this is a really fun way of doing that".[4]

"Lady Godiva" was Day's first single to get a physical release in UK record stores following a distribution deal with Universal Music. Day gained the deal because the ten-year-old son of the head of distribution at Universal was a fan of Chameleon Circuit.[5][6] "Lady Godiva" will be included on Day's upcoming third album release Epigrams and Interludes. To promote the single, Day embarked on The Small Town Tour, signing copies of the physical single in various parts of the United Kingdom.

Music video[edit]

A music video to accompany the release of "Lady Godiva" was first released onto YouTube on 14 March 2012.[7] The video was directed by Day and starred Carrie Hope Fletcher (known as ItsWayPastMyBedTime by the YouTube community) as the titular Lady, as well as Day as various characters.


Alex Day posted a video for the subscribers on his YouTube channel, explaining that in order to encourage viewers to buy his song, he would send personalized thank-you videos to every person who sent him an email with the receipt of his song. He deleted the video off of his channel quickly as to avoid an overflow of video requests, but was still sent approximately ten thousand emails. He finished the final thank-you video on 16 August 2012.[8]

Chart performance[edit]

The track rose as high as #15 on the UK singles chart dated 8 April 2012, beating the #16 UK peak of the Peter and Gordon original.

Chart (2012) Peak
Ireland (IRMA)[9] 49
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[10] 16
UK Indie (Official Charts Company)[11] 1
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[12] 15

Other versions[edit]

Besides the original Paul Jones version on his 1966 album My Way, "Lady Godiva" was also recorded by Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass (Sounds Like...) and Young-Holt Unlimited (On-Stage) with both the last-named versions being instrumentals.


  1. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. pp. 180, 194 & 203. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  2. ^ "Peter Asher Interview". Retrieved November 19, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Lady Godiva - Single by Alex Day". iTunes. Retrieved 2014-03-22. 
  4. ^ "Alex Day releases new single 'Lady Godiva' - #AltSounds". Retrieved 2014-03-22. 
  5. ^ Milner, Lauren J. (26 February 2012). "Alex Day releases new single 'Lady Godiva'". Altsounds. Archived from the original on 27 February 2012. Retrieved 27 February 2012. 
  6. ^ Day, Alex (27 February 2012). "The new single – 'Lady Godiva'". Alex Day's blog. Archived from the original on 27 February 2012. Retrieved 27 February 2012. 
  7. ^ Lady Godiva on YouTube
  8. ^ "Twitter / thatalexday". 2012-08-16. Retrieved 2014-03-22. 
  9. ^ "Chart Track: Week 14, 2012". Irish Singles Chart.
  10. ^ "Archive Chart: 2012-04-14". Scottish Singles Top 40.
  11. ^ "Archive Chart: 2012-04-14" UK Indie Chart.
  12. ^ "Archive Chart: 2012-04-14" UK Singles Chart.