The long lost Lou Reed songs recorded for Andy Warhol
At a time when live music remains off the menu amid the current health crisis, a time when social distancing regulations are changing that fans indulge their entertainment, we’re digging deep into the Far Out Magazine vault to bring you a special moment between the Velvet Underground leader Lou Reed and his old creative partner Andy Warhol.
In what was discovered a couple of months ago, 12 previously unheard Lou Reed recordings were found on an old cassette tape dating back to 1975 and thought to be written for Andy Warhol. The rough demos, which were found stored on an old cassette in the archives of the Warhol Museum, were labelled ‘The Philosophy Songs (From A to B and Back)’ which is a direct reference to Warhol’s book. Judith Peraino, a professor of music at Cornell University, is responsible for the discovery after conducting archival research at the Museum in Pittsburgh.
“It sounds like he recorded them in his apartment with an open-air microphone, just voice and acoustic guitar,” Judith Peraino told the Cornell Chronicle. Given her discovery, Peraino has detailed the find as part of her study I’ll Be Your MixtapeLou Reed, Andy Warhol, and the Queer Intimacies of Cassettes in which she explains the “disbelief and uncertainty” after finding tapes.
“The sound of Reed’s voice on ‘The Philosophy Songs’ is very different from his live concert performances on Side 1,” Peraino said. However, while she remained in shock, a staff member at the Warhol Museum commented that Peraino had found an unreleased Lou Reed album, “that’s when the excitement really hit. Such a discovery is rare, and it is certainly a highlight of my career.
“What makes this rare is the gift aspect of the tape,” she said, “that Lou Reed intentionally created both a curated set of songs and a composed set of songs on tape meant only for Warhol. This is a harbinger of the mixtape culture and gift-giving that flourished in the 1980s and 1990s.”
Peraino writes that the records display “the entangled passions and psychologies of [Warhol and Reed’s] decade-long relationship.”
“Reed brought an experimental and literary sensibility to his songs, composing vivid and sometimes brutal portraits of complex characters in sound and words,” Peraino added. “This tape from 1975 reveals an intimate side of Reed’s musical portrait-making through a story that is his own, touching on his ongoing involvement with Andy Warhol and exploring the expressive potential of the medium of the cassette tape.”