Get to Know a Young Lou Reed with ‘Words & Music, May 1965’

Long before the experimental rock deity fronted the Velvet Underground and shook up the New York music scene, Lou Reed was a self-taught musician, shy and searching for his sound.

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A Long Island teen, Reed took refuge in rock and roll and formed a doo-wop group, The Jades, while in high school. They released their first single in 1958. Aside from that early release and a select few demos of The Velvet Underground, there has been little opportunity to experience Reed’s youthful artistry. Until now.

Words & Music, May 1965, will be the inaugural release of a forthcoming Lou Reed Archival Series.

For nearly 50 years, this previously unreleased collection of songs sat sealed on the shelf of Reed’s Sister Ray offices. Penned and recorded on a 5-inch reel-to-reel by a young Reed and mailed to himself as a “poor man’s” copyright, Words & Music, May 1965 captures the singer-songwriter’s formative years. The songs on the tape illustrate versions of Reed’s groundbreaking contributions to music in their infancy.

Offering extraordinary insight into a truly great musical mind, the archival album acts as a time capsule, showcasing clearly Reed’s lasting influence on music – from art-rock and proto-punk to everything beyond – and cementing the musician as a true poet-songwriter.

The album is being released in tandem with the late artist’s 80th birthday celebrations and will be available Sept. 16. Throughout 2022 and beyond, Light in the Attic Records will continue to honor the musician through the Lou Reed Archive Series.

Reed died on Oct. 27, 2013, from liver disease. Earlier this year, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts opened a large-scale exhibit, Lou Reed: Caught Between the Twisted Stars, of the musician’s archives.


  1. I’m Waiting for the Man – May 1965 Demo
  2. Men of Good Fortune – May 1965 Demo
  3. Heroin – May 1965 Demo
  4. Too Late – May 1965 Demo
  5. Buttercup Song – May 1965 Demo
  6. Walk Alone – May 1965 Demo
  7. Buzz Buzz Buzz – May 1965 Demo
  8. Pale Blue Eyes – May 1965 Demo
  9. Stockpile – May 1965 Demo
  10. Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams – May 1965 Demo
  11. I’m Waiting for the Man – May 1965 Alternate Version
  12. Baby, Let Me Follow You Down – 1963/64 Home Recording
  13. Michael, Row The Boat Ashore – 1963/64 Home Recording
  14. Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right (Partial) – 1963/64 Home Recording
  15. W & X, Y, Z Blues – 1963/64 Home Recording

Photo: Julian Schnabel / PItch Perfect PR

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