Hear Lou Reed's Earliest Known Demo of "Heroin"

The never-before-heard 1965 recording is featured on upcoming archival collection 'Words & Music, May 1965'

BY Kaelen BellPublished Jul 18, 2022

Some 55 years after the official recording's release, Laurie Anderson and Light in the Attic have shared the alleged earliest known recording of the Velvet Underground's "Heroin." Recorded with John Cale in May of 1965, the demo — titled "Heroin (May 1965 Demo)" — is from the previously announced archival collection Words & Music, May 1965, which is arriving August 26.

"Heroin (May 1965 Demo)" sounds nearly like a folk song, lacking John Cale's distorted art-rock sensibility. It's also about two minutes shorter than the brain-scrambling final recording, and opens with Reed saying "Heroin, words, music and lyrics, Lou Reed" through laughter. 

In addition to the "Heroin" demo, Words & Music, May 1965 also features the earliest known recordings of "I'm Waiting for the Man" — which was released last month — and "Pale Blue Eyes," plus a Cale-sung version of Nico's Chelsea Girl song "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams." There's also a song called "Men of Good Fortune" and an oft-discussed Velvet Underground rarity called "Buttercup Song."

Check out the "Heroin" demo below. 

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