A new Lou Reed album will share never-before-heard material and early versions of some of the star’s most iconic songs.
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Words & Music, May 1965 is set to be released on August 26 via Light In The Attic in partnership with Reed’s partner Laurie Anderson, in tandem with celebrations for what would be the musician’s 80th birthday.
The songs on the album were written by Reed and recorded to tape by his future Velvet Underground bandmate John Cale. Reed posted the tape to himself as a “poor man’s copyright” and it remained sealed in its original envelope for nearly 50 years.
The record will include the earliest known recordings of iconic tracks including “Heroin”, “Pale Blue Eyes” and “I’m Waiting For The Man”. The latter has been shared today (June 6) to coincide with the album’s announcement – listen to it below now.
Elsewhere on the tracklist are previously unreleased demos including “Buttercup Song”, “Buzz Buzz Buzz” and “Stockpile”. Words & Music, May 1965 will be released in a variety of formats including LP, cassette, 8-track, digital and CD.
A deluxe 45-RPM double LP edition of the album will be limited to 7,500 copies worldwide and will include two 12-inch LPs, a bonus 7-inch including six previously-unreleased bonus tracks such as a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” a saddle-stitched, die-cut 28-page book featuring lyrics, archival photos and liner notes, and an archival reproduction of a rarely-seen letter written by Reed to his college professor and poet Delmore Schwartz, circa 1964.
All formats will be released on August 26, while a six-song digital EP Gee Whiz, 1958-1964 will arrive on October 7 and will feature the bonus content from the aforementioned 7-inch.
The tracklist for the double LP and CD deluxe editions of Words & Music, May 1965 is as follows:
“I’m Waiting For The Man (May 1965 Demo)”
“Men Of Good Fortune (May 1965 Demo)”
“Heroin (May 1965 Demo)”
“Too Late (May 1965 Demo)”
“Buttercup Song (May 1965 Demo)”
“Walk Alone (May 1965 Demo)”
“Buzz Buzz Buzz (May 1965 Demo)”
“Pale Blue Eyes (May 1965 Demo)”
“Stockpile (May 1965 Demo)”
“Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams (May 1965 Demo)”
“I’m Waiting For The Man (May 1965 Alternate Version)”
“Gee Whiz (1958 Rehearsal)”
“Baby, Let Me Follow You Down (1963/4 Home Recording)”
“Michael, Row The Boat Ashore (1963/4 Home Recording)”
“Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right (Partial) (1963/4 Home Recording)”
“W & X, Y, Z Blues (1963/4 Home Recording)”
“Lou’s 12-Bar Instrumental (1963/4 Home Recording)”
You can find further information on the release and its different formats, and pre-order the album, here.
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts will also host a special exhibit chronicling the life’s work of Reed through the voices, images and music of the star and his collaborators. Lou Reed: Caught Between The Twisted Stars will open on June 9 – visit the NYPL website for more information.
Earlier this year, a “lost” concert film by director/cinematographer Ed Lachman of Lou Reed and John Cale’s Songs For Drella album was found and announced to be coming to streaming. The film shows the Velvet Underground bandmates performing songs from their song cycle tribute album to their former manager, Andy Warhol, who died three years prior to the joint album’s release in 1990.