“His clothes are dirty, but his hands are clean. And you are the best thing that he’s ever seen.”
Bob Dylan’s “Lay Lady Lay” was an instant hit. From Duran Duran to Ministry, countless music groups have taken a crack at one of the most popular love songs of the late ’60s. For decades, the song was thought to have been written for the 1969 film, “Midnight Cowboy.”
But in transcripts of a 1971 conversation with Dylan that are going up for auction, the song is revealed to have been written for Barbra Streisand.
The transcripts are from an interview that took place over several days between Dylan and friend Tony Glover. They were reportedly for an Esquire article that Glover had been writing, though the story was never published. In the conversation that took place on March 24, it’s clear that Dylan wrote the song for her, not necessarily about her.
“You said Father of Night was written for a play, and Lay Lady Lay was done for Midnight Cowboy,” Glover says.
“Actually it was written for Barbra Streisand,” Dylan replies.
Streisand had no knowledge that the song was written with her in mind.
“I’m very flattered to find out that Bob Dylan wrote ‘Lay Lady Lay’ for me,” Streisand said this week in a statement to NBC News. “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!”
And it’s not the only bit of new information from the exchange with Glover. From Dylan’s fear of anti-Semitism to the 1966 motorcycle wreck that nearly killed him, the transcripts give an intimate look at the performer.
Glover, also a musician, died last year. The interview transcripts, as well as other Glover memorabilia, are being offered by RR Auction Company with estimates for some of the copies starting at $2,000. The weeklong bid is scheduled to begin November 12.