"Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)" was the second single from Melanie's 1970 album Candles in the Rain. The song proved to be her breakthrough hit in the United States, climbing to #6 on the U.S. Billboard charts and #3 on the U.S. Cash Box charts.
The song, released in March 1970, was a collaboration with the Edwin Hawkins Singers, who provide gospel vocals in the background of each chorus. Melanie wrote the song after performing at Woodstock the year before; the song's lyrics describe what she felt as she looked out at the sea of people attending the music event.
It is also associated with certain events occurring during the November 1969 Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam.
It became a Top Ten hit in several countries, including the United States, where it was a Cash Box Charts fixture for 17 weeks, and in Australia, where it stayed on the Go-Set charts for 23 weeks.
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- British rock band Mott The Hoople covered it for their 1971 album Wildlife.
- Skiffle-influenced Pennsylvanian indie rock group The Strapping Fieldhands recorded a no-fi version of the song on their 1994 EP "In The Pineys". The EP, released on Siltbreeze Records, also closes with a shambolic reprise of the song.
- Australian artist Max Sharam released it as a single from her 1995 album A Million Year Girl. The single reached #36 on the ARIA Charts in November that year.
- Meredith Brooks, with Queen Latifah, released it as a single from her 1999 Deconstruction album.
- Beth Sorrentino covered the song on her 2011 album Hiding Out.