In 'Lost' Interview, Bob Dylan Reveals 'Lay Lady Lay' Detail

'Actually, it was written for Barbra Streisand'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2020 2:30 AM CDT
Here's What Bob Dylan Intended for 'Lay Lady Lay'
Musician Bob Dylan performs with The Band at the Forum in Los Angeles on Feb. 15, 1974.   (AP Photo/Jeff Robbins, File)

In a 1971 interview with his friend and fellow musician Tony Glover, Bob Dylan talked about anti-Semitism and changing his name, among other topics—but the conversations were never used for the Esquire article Glover was planning, and were not made public until now. Glover's widow is putting typed transcripts of them, featuring Dylan's own handwritten annotations, up for auction next month, following Glover's death last year. One of the most revealing tidbits has to do with Dylan's song "Lay Lady Lay." Asked by Glover whether it was true the song was originally written for the Midnight Cowboy soundtrack, Dylan replies, "Actually, it was written for Barbra Streisand," without offering any further explanation. As NBC News notes, the context indicates Dylan meant he intended the song for Streisand to sing.

The 79-year-old has not offered any additional context since the transcript started making headlines, but Streisand did weigh in. "I'm very flattered to find out that Bob Dylan wrote 'Lay Lady Lay' for me," she says in a statement. "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!" Dylan also spoke to Glover about why he changed his surname from his birth name, Zimmerman, and delved further into his own Jewish identity in the annotations. "A lot of people are under the impression that Jews are just money lenders and merchants. A lot of people think that all Jews are like that," he wrote. "Well, they used to be 'cause that's all that was open to them. That's all they were allowed to do." (More Bob Dylan stories.)

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