Lay Down Sally

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"Lay Down Sally"
Single by Eric Clapton
from the album Slowhand


"Next Time You See Her" (US and Canada)
Released November 1977
Recorded Olympic Studios in London
Genre Roots rock, country rock, blues rock
Length 3:50
Label RSO
Writer(s) Eric Clapton, Marcy Levy, and George Terry
Producer(s) Glyn Johns
Eric Clapton singles chronology
"Hello Old Friend"
"Lay Down Sally"
"Wonderful Tonight"

"Lay Down Sally" is a song performed by Eric Clapton, and written by Clapton, Marcella Detroit (as Marcy Levy, the diminutive form of her birth name), and George Terry. It appeared on his November 1977 album Slowhand, and reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It is a country blues performed in the style of JJ Cale, and Clapton also attributed other members of his band like Carl Radle of Oklahoma, George Terry, Jamie Oldaker and other members of the band as influencing the song. Clapton explained, "It's as close as I can get, being English, but the band being a Tulsa band, they play like that naturally. You couldn't get them to do an English rock sound, no way. Their idea of a driving beat isn't being loud or anything. It's subtle."[1]

The single was a crossover country music hit, reaching No. 26 in April 1978, Clapton's best showing on that chart.

"Lay Down Sally" was a significant part of the soundtrack of the 2013 film August: Osage County, in which the song was played as the intro music and twice more later on.

The B side[edit]

The B side was "Cocaine", a song written by JJ Cale, whose stylistic influence on Clapton is apparent in "Lay Down Sally".


Chart (1978) Peak
Canadian Top Singles (RPM)[2] 3
Canada Adult Contemporary (RPM)[3] 1
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[4] 16
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[5] 39
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[6] 3
U.S. Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[6] 26
U.S. Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[6] 25

Year-End Chart[edit]

Chart (1978) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 15
Canadian RPM Top Singles 29



The Early Times Band (disbanded, 1979) often performed their version, titled, 'Lay Down Ole Sal Yule, I Wanna Mess Around With Yo Old Dusty Ass.'

Red Sovine, a country singer best known for his sentimental recitations and truck-driving songs, recorded a cover version that – save for the mid-song guitar bridge – closely resembled the Clapton original. Sovine's version reached No. 70 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart in the summer of 1978, and was the last charting single released in his lifetime.

Melanie covered this song on her 1983 album Seventh Wave, which was released only in the United Kingdom and Germany.

The Seldom Scene, especially banjo player Ben Eldridge, are known for their cover of this song.

Jerry Garcia Band covered the song extensively from 1990 to 1995.[7]

Marcella Detroit, co-writer of the song, has covered the song twice, first as a B-side to her 1994 single "I'm No Angel", in which it is sung in a much slower tempo than the original, and secondly on her 2006 album The Upside of Being Down, in a version more similar to the original.

Don Williams covered the song on 1995's album of Borrowed Tales.

Asleep at the Wheel covered the song on their 1995 album The Wheel Keeps on Rollin'. Their version peaked at number 70 on the RPM Country Tracks chart in Canada in 1996.[8]

Rod Stewart recorded a cover version for his 2006's album Still the Same... Great Rock Classics of Our Time.


  1. ^ Pidgeon, John, Eric Clapton: A Biography, page 103, Vermillion & Company, ISBN 0-09-160161-4, 1985
  2. ^ "100 Singles" (PHP). RPM 29 (4): 29. April 22, 1978. Retrieved March 27, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Adult Oriented Playlist" (PHP). RPM 29 (4): 33. April 22, 1978. Retrieved March 27, 2011. 
  4. ^ " – Eric Clapton – Lay Down Sally". Top 40 Singles.
  5. ^ "Archive Chart: 1978-01-21" UK Singles Chart.
  6. ^ a b c "Eric Clapton: Charts & Awards – Billboard Singles". Allmusic. United States: Rovi Corporation. Retrieved March 27, 2011. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "RPM Country Tracks". RPM. April 15, 1996. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 

External links[edit]