10 facts about James' Laid album
1 November 2023, 15:00
James' seminal album, which was released on 29th September 1993, is so much more than its title track. Find out more about the record here.
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Laid saw Brian Eno take on producing duties
Brian Eno, musician, composer, visual artist and Roxy Music alum, produced the record, which was something of a dream fulfilled for the band.
Since releasing their debut album Stutter in 1986, James wanted to work with the legend, but he was always busy. The band sent him a letter along with six hours worth of rehearsal tapes. Eno listened to them while he was on holiday as his wife was a fan of the band and in 1992 he called the band and told him he wanted to work with them.
The album artwork wasn't planned for the original cover
The artwork we know today came from a three-day shoot which took place outside Marseille Cathedral in Marseille, France, where frontman Tim Booth suggested the band put on dresses for a few pictures. They band were snacking on bananas while they waited for heir manager to return with good. Though they had already completed album art for Laid, they ended up going with the images from Marseille once they saw them.
The album took only six weeks to record
Unlike their fourth album, Seven, which took several months to make, Laid only took six weeks, which was partly down to the schedule of Eno, who had a limited availability of four days a week.
The album's sound was inspired by Neil Young
James supported Neil Young on several of his shows on the west coast of the United States with an acoustic set. They then continued touring the US playing acoustic rather than electric shows and this angered their record company until a staff member attended one of their gigs. This went on to lay the foundations for Laid's more stripped-down sound on Laid.
Laid wasn't the album's lead single
James - Sometimes (Lester Piggott)
You might think James' famous cheeky earworm and album title track Laid was the lead single for the album, but you'd be wrong. The first track taken from the record was in fact Sometimes (Lester Piggott), which was released on 30 August 1993.
The video for Sometimes (Lester Piggott) was shot at Pinewood Studios
James - Sometimes
The striking video for Sometimes might see the band performing among the elements in water, but it was actually shot at the Pinewood studios, which is famous for hosting the likes of James Bond, Superman and Star Wars franchises among many other films and TV shows.
The video for Laid was directed by Zanna
James - Laid (Version 2)
Laid was the second song to be released from the single on 1st November 1993 and was directed by Zanna, who also worked with the likes of Kim Wilde and Simply Red.
It sees frontman Tim Booth handcuffed in a laundrette with brief cameos of the bandmates. There's also several versions of the video on YouTube.
Lullaby tackles themes of child abuse
Album track Lullaby, which was originally titled Just Human, tackles the effects of child abuse which a friend of Booth's suffered
One of the Three is inspired by the Lebanon hostage crisis
One of the Three was inspired by the experiences of John McCarthy, Brian Keenan Terry Waite, who were captured as hostages in Lebanon.
The song is also said to be inspired by a scene in Samuel Beckett's play Waiting for Godot in which three characters are on crosses.
One Of The Three
This track didn't make the cut...
Brian Eno and Tim Booth both wanted the outtake The Lake on the album, but were outvoted by the band.
The song went on to be included on a Japanese version of the record alongside their America track.
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