Lou Reed Archive Series to Roll Out Rare and Unreleased Material from the Godfather of Punk

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Fans of the Velvet Underground can shake off their leather jackets and Docs as Light in The Attic Records gets ready to share never heard before archival works from frontman Lou Reed.

The record company announced a partnership with Laurie Anderson—a renowned avant-garde artist and widow of the late rocker—on the Lou Reed Archive Series. The collection will begin rolling out rare and unreleased material starting on August 26 with an album called Words & Music, May 1965.

The LP is a collection of songs recorded by a young Reed with his future Velvet Underground bandmate John Cale. Reed sealed the recordings in an envelope and mailed them to himself as a “poor man’s copyright” back in the mid-’60s. Among the collection are the earliest known recordings of “Heroin” and “Pale Blue Eyes,” in addition to multiple previously unreleased compositions.

There is also a Cale-fronted version of Nico’s “Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams” and an early rendition of “Men of Good Fortune.” Most of the album consists of early demos of his most iconic songs, including an already released version of “I’m Waiting for the Man.” Find the remastered recording along with a tracklist below.

The record will be available in a variety of formats, including LP, cassette, CD, 8-track, and digital editions. A deluxe 2xLP edition will be available in a limited release of 7,500 copies and feature a die-cut gatefold jacket. It comes with a bonus Third Man Records-pressed 7″, featuring six songs that include early demos and a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.”

Anderson produced the collection alongside Don Fleming, Jason Stern, the late Hal Willner and Matt Sullivan, with liner notes from the acclaimed journalist Greil Marcus. The collection will drop in celebration of what would have been Reed’s 80th birthday, following his death in 2013 due to liver disease.

Along with the record’s announcement, the New York Library will also unveil an archival exhibit for Reed this week, featuring recordings, photographs, notes, and more.

On the same day the album is released, Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe will host a podcast exploring Words & Music on a special program featuring exclusive audio, archival materials, and interviews with a number of the album’s participants.

Words & Music, May 1965 Tracklist:

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)

Photo by Xavier Lambours

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