The song was written by Eric Clapton, Marcella Detroit (credited as Marcy Levy), and George Terry. It was written in the style of J. J. Cale, one of Clapton’s favorite songwriters. Clapton has said that “it’s as close as I can get, being English…” The song was released on Clapton’s 1977 album Slowhand as well as a single, backed with “Cocaine,” which was written by J. J. Cale. Marcy Levy was one of Clapton’s backup singers. She had toured with Bob Seger before joining with Clapton in 1973. Guitarist George Terry was a member of Clapton’s band.
“Lay Down Sally” charted very well. It went to #3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and crossed over to the U.S. Billboard Country Songs at #26. It was also #25 on the U.S. Adult Contemporary chart. In Canada, it was #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart and #3 on the Singles chart. It was in the Top 40 in France, Hungary, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, and Sweden. The song received gold certification in Canada, Japan, new Zealand, the U.K., and the U.S.
On the track were Eric Clapton (electric guitars, vocals), Marcella Detroit (vocals), Yvonne Elliman (vocals), George Terry (electric guitar), Carl Radle (electric bass), Dick Sims (electric piano), and Jamie Oldaker (drums). Clapton continues to tour and perform.