Laid (song)

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Single by James
from the album Laid
Released1 November 1993
Format7" single, cassette and CD single
GenreAlternative rock, Britpop
Songwriter(s)Tim Booth, Larry Gott and Jim Glennie
Producer(s)Brian Eno
James singles chronology
"Jam J/Say Something"

"Laid" is the title song from 1993 album Laid by Manchester alternative rock band James. Emotionally evocative and featuring the risqué opening lyrics, "This bed is on fire with passionate love, the neighbours complain about the noises above, but she only comes when she's on top", it quickly gained popularity on American college radio and remains the group's best-known song in the United States. The American release of its music video replaced the ending of its opening lyrics with "she only sings when she's on top" (although Tim Booth is seen to lip-sync the original line, and is accompanied by a subtitle reading "hums"). Today, a number of alternative rock stations, including Boston's RadioBDC, WBOS, Maryland's WRNR-FM, Chicago's WXRT, Missoula's KDTR-FM and Philadelphia's WRFF will play "Laid" with the original controversial line. Along with Radio X in the UK.

While the song did chart on the US Billboard Hot 100, its peak was number 61. It made it onto the chart thanks to its cult status as a popular college song, which was what helped it reach a peak of number three on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. The song was more successful in the band's native United Kingdom, where it peaked at number 25, becoming the band's ninth top-forty hit.


In the late 1990s and early 2000s the song gained some additional exposure and popularity when it was used as the theme song for the American Pie films starring Jason Biggs and Seann William Scott. A cover by Matt Nathanson was recorded exclusively for the third film, and was later included on the fourth film's soundtrack. When performed by Matt Nathanson live he often creates a lot of banter over the vocals after the second verse, where he encourages the audience to sing along with him. The seventh installment in the franchise, The Book of Love, contains a new cover of "Laid" by singer Aidan Hawken; as of 2012, it still has yet to be released on any album or as a single. The eighth and final film, American Reunion, features the original version by James in the film for the first and only time in the series' history.


Chart (1993–1994) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[1] 40
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[2] 25
US Billboard Hot 100[3] 61
US Alternative Songs (Billboard)[4] 3


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[5] Gold 400,000double-dagger

double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

In popular culture[edit]

The song was featured at the end of an episode of the second series of E4 show My Mad Fat Diary, the film The To Do List and on an episode of Hindsight. Recently it was featured in Episode 4 of the Netflix Original series Love. It was also played on season 3 episode 4 of Broadchurch. It was also featured in 2003's American Wedding, American Pie Presents: Band Camp and American Reunion. It has also been featured in Season 2, Episode 6 of the Netflix Original series Friends from College

"Laid" was also covered by New Orleans alt-rock band Better Than Ezra on their 2005 greatest hits compilation. It has been covered by the Butch Walker-led band 1969 on a hidden track on their album Maya, and has also been covered by Thomas Ian Nicholas (an actor playing Kevin Myers in the American Pie franchise) on his Tnb EP. English band Palma Violets performed a version of the song in July 2015 for The A.V. Club's A.V. Undercover series. The New York City Indie Pop band The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart covered the song "Laid" on their November 16, 2015, Hell EP, sold exclusively at Japan-only Tower Records on Compact Disc and worldwide on a 7" Vinyl soon after.[6]

Matt Nathanson covered the song, which was featured on the American Wedding soundtrack, as well as on American Pie Presents Band Camp.

The song plays as the final song in the final episode of Shameless, broadcast on May 28th, 2013. The main cast dance to the song in the Jockey pub as characters reunite.

The song was featured at the end of the season four premiere of the acclaimed AMC television series Halt and Catch Fire.


  1. ^ " – James – Laid". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  2. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  3. ^ "James Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  4. ^ "James Chart History (Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  5. ^ "British single certifications – James – Laid". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 13 September 2019. Select singles in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Laid in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  6. ^ Modell, Josh (21 July 2015). "Palma Violets cover James". The A.V. Club. Onion, Inc. Retrieved 21 July 2015.