Song of the Day: Velvet Underground’s “Sunday Morning”

Posted on March 24, 2013

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Eggs, coffee and sunshine for breakfast

Eggs, coffee and sunshine for breakfast

It’s just the wasted years so close behind

No-one can do depressing the way Velvet Underground can, even when talking about Sunday mornings. Well technically it’s already Sunday night here on my little island, but somewhere out there in the world there must be a timezone that fits. Failing which, well, there is always next Sunday morning.

“Sunday Morning” is the first track of the Velvet Underground’s debut album with Nico. Penned by Lou Reed, it’s allegedly about the effects of coming down from drugs, erm, during a come-down from drugs. According to the short introductory clip that precedes the song, the video here shows the band “in the process of writing their first song for their first LP The Velvet Underground and Nico“. Interestingly, Lou Reed decided to take on the vocals himself, instead of handing them over to the Warholian muse Nico. Thank goodness for that, actually. I’m not sure her heavy vocal style would have infused the song with the melancholia and tentativeness that Reed gave it.

Watch out also for the celesta played by John Cale, the small organ-like instrument that Cale spotted in the studio and decided to toss into the mix. (Wiki tells me that the celesta was the instrument prominently used in “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” in Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker.)

I came upon Velvet Underground pretty late in life. Sadly, I knew the phrase first as the name of a washed-up wannabe lounge/ bar with bizarre deco. But upon downloading their first album I listened to it rabidly, luxuriating in all the angst and skinny druggy glam rock chic, breathing out plumes of imaginary tortured purple smoke around my chiselled face and blonde hair. Yes, somehow in my imagination I looked a lot like an aging German supermodel.

This was the photo that started it off:

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Tongue of thongs, the belt that does await you

I came upon this handphone-snapped pic from a friend, intriguingly captioned “Venus in furs”. An hour or so on Youtube later, the rest is history. Do you have an hour or so to spare? No? Well take a listen anyway, and tell your boss you were sick (although you probably already know this vid, because you are not a Pop Pony Music Dummy like me):

You’re welcome! Have a lovely week ahead.

Watch out, the world’s behind you