Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams (2)

The version of “Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams” from Ludlow Street is not very different from the Words & Music version, and I was going to skip it for that reason. But the actual recording is fascinating, less for the song itself — which Reed, Cale, and Morrison...

I’m Waiting for the Man (1)

Written at about the same time and on the same subject, “Heroin” and “I’m Waiting for the Man” naturally go together. But whereas the former was about the psychological/spiritual/philosophical aspects of the junkie life, the latter is about the logistics: The places...

Heroin (1)

Over the last few weeks I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time trying to decide when, exactly, the Velvet Underground started. There are numerous ways of looking at it, but I keep coming back to the moment Lou Reed and John Cale ran into Sterling Morrison on the...

Prominent Men

(Happy Birthday to John Cale, and to any other March 9 babies out there.) As the years and decades have passed, and I’ve listened more and more to the grand geniuses of classic rock — your Velvets and Beatles, your Bowies and Hendrixes, your one and only Bob Dylan —...

Venus in Furs (1)

(Happy Birthday to Lou, and to others born on this auspicious day!) I had a charming guest.Opposite me, by the massive Renaissance fireplace, sat Venus: not, mind you, some demimondaine who, like Mademoiselle Cleopatra, had taken the pseudonym of Venus in her war...