♫ Delilah ♫

David mentioned this song the other day when I erroneously claimed that Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler was the first song by a Welsh artist to top the U.S. charts.  I stand corrected on that, by the way, as Tom Jones’ Say You’ll Stay Until Tomorrow claimed the #1 spot in the U.S. on February 26th, 1977.  Anyway, long story short, after he mentioned Delilah, it became stuck in my head, and the entire time I was in the kitchen preparing lemon-chicken and teriyaki noodles this evening, I was belting out “my, my my, Delilah …”, and my favourite line of all, “I felt the knife in my hand and she laughed no more”.  And so, as always, in order to send it packing from my head, I share it with you and let it take up residence in your heads for a day or so!tom-jonesTom Jones released this song in December 1967, but it had previously been recorded by P. J. Proby in late November, 1967. Proby hated the song and refused to include it on his album Believe It Or Not, which was being compiled and recorded at the time.

Is there a real Delilah? Depends who you ask. The official writer credits for this song go to the English team of Les Reed and Barry Mason.  However, Sylvan Mason, who was married to Barry when these songs were written, claims that she is a co-writer.  Her claims have been verified through court records from her divorce settlement that prove her authorship. She has also been vetted by major newspapers that acknowledge her as a co-writer, and Tom Jones mentions her as a lyricist on the track in his autobiography.

In 2001, Barry Mason told the UK newspaper The Sun that he based the song (minus the bloodshed) on a girl he met on vacation in Blackpool, England when he was 15. They had a summer fling, but when it came time for her to return home to Llandudno in North Wales, she told Barry that she had a boyfriend, and it was over between them. Mason is quoted in the paper as saying, “I was shattered. I never shook it off and I became sick with jealousy and a whole lot of pain. She had dark hair, brooding eyes and she was really feisty. If there’s a typical Welsh girl, she was the one.”

Mason said that her name was Delia, which was impossible to integrate into a song (“Why, why, why Delia” didn’t work). A decade later, working with Reed, he got the idea to change her name to Delilah, and they wrote the famous song.

“I just got more and more worked up with each line. I put my heart and soul into that song – and that’s how ‘Delilah’ was born.”

The Sun embarked on a search for the mystery woman who inspired the song, asking readers to call in if they knew Delia from Llandudno. They called off the search when they heard from Sylvan Mason, who explained that she co-wrote the song and that there was no Delia. According to Sylvan, Les Reed had already written the chorus “Why, why, why Delilah,” and the lyric is based on the 1954 musical Carmen Jones. “Les Reed’s idea was to write a modern-day Samson and Delilah song but we got carried away and it ended up like Carmen Jones.”

Asked to respond, Barry Mason told The Sun, “I have no comment on the opinions of my former wife.”

Delilah
Tom Jones

I saw the light on the night that I passed by her window
I saw the flickering shadow of love on her blind
She was my woman
As she deceived me I watched and went out of my mind

My my my Delilah
Why why why Delilah
I could see, that girl was no good for me
But I was lost like a slave that no man could free

At break of day when that man drove away I was waiting
I crossed the street to her house and she opened the door
She stood there laughing
I felt the knife in my hand and she laughed no more

My my my Delilah
Why why why Delilah
So before they come to break down the door
Forgive me Delilah I just couldn’t take any more

She stood there laughing
I felt the knife in my hand and she laughed no more

My my my Delilah
Why why why Delilah
So before they come to break down the door
Forgive me Delilah I just couldn’t take any more

Forgive me Delilah I just couldn’t take any more

Writer/s: BARRY MASON, LES REED
Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind