Classic Albums: White Light/White Heat by The Velvet Underground

Back to the CA set today for Tuesday’s blog post, back to the sixties and Lou Reed‘s and John Cale‘s early band but off course not forgetting about Maureen Tucker and Sterling Morrison. Now I know before you say the classic album by The Velvet Underground is the Nico album with Andy Warhol’s banana on the front cover, I do love that album but if I was to pick just one it would have to be White Light/White Heat even single time, it’s their ultimate album for me and that’s what these posts are about.

Now I’ve been a little light on the sixties album in my CA set but because just about other music lists like this is dominated by them, I’m gone with the idea of there are other albums out there that are just as iconic plus I’m going to get around to include all those big huge names but I think I’ve already decided that most, if not all are going to be limited to one album only! Why? You ask, well I want my little list here to be a bit different than even other album lists out there. To pick just one is really editing it down to the most important album to me by these huge acts. I see no point to include say all ten Beatles albums, I’ve already got which one it’s going to be for them but I’m hanging off to do that one just yet. Sorry to say to all The Beatles fans but The Velvet Underground’s are so much more important to me, that’s just my opinion you know?

Lou Reed the artist has been already been on the list, you might have noticed but to maybe clear that up with my silly little rule above, that one was late career Reed and this is early and there will be a middle too, before I’m finished here. So I guess I’m saying artists with long and huge career over a few decades I like to show the span of time. I’m being really hash in cutting it down to just two or three albums like this but those are some of my own guidelines for this little list of mine, if you want to know? If not sorry you read all this bollocks. My previous 60’s CA posts have only been The MonksPink Floyd and John Coltrane if you’ve missed them, maybe will give you some idea of my own sixties fave albums so far.

Anyway the White Light/White Heat album, the six track album was released at the end of January 1968. After sacking Andy as the manger and Nico exiting the band plus off course it’s Cale’s last album with the band too. It’s like the musically the atomic bomb going off in the middle of all the other’s hippie acts peace and love shit that they feared in reality. No nukes got dropped then in real life thank god but you couldn’t find another album more blowing everything else away. So the words like experimental rock, noise rock, proto-punk, art rock, avant-garde etc. get thrown around it too. Trying to come up with something new to say about the album is just impossible, everything been said about it already. It’s shamefully only at number 293 on on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time but what more would expect from them? It’s in the book 1001 albums you gonna listen before you drop dead too and so it should be, everyone on planet disaster should have to listen to it at some point!

Lou, Sterling, John and Moe in the 60’s with the then new LP.

BTW in other kind-of news I’ve change my layout or whatever you call it overnight? It’s called the Museum theme and I’ve gone with white on white, all very minimalism. I hope everyone who visited this site likes it?

Who else out there loves White Light/White Heat? Haven’t heard it in a long time? Never heard it at all? Feel free to leave a comment about it?

White Light/White Heat track listing and times:

1. White Light/White Heat – 2:44
2. The Gift – 8:14
3. Lady Godiva’s Operation – 4:52
4. Here She Comes Now – 2:00
5. I Heard Her Call My Name – 4:05
6. Sister Ray – 17:00


All my Classic Albums posts are in that link or they’re all linked below too!

So the idea here is simply for me to write a post about each of my favourite albums that I consider total stone cold classics!

Please do leave a reply below and tell me what you think about this album and/or artist or whatever you’d like to say about it?


1 Comment

  1. Cool post. It’s a toss-up between this and their third self-titled album as favourites of mine. White Light/White Heat will end up on my site eventually as most of it sounds pretty fucked-up, even today. Perhaps the only ‘normal’ song, whatever that means, is Here She Comes Now, which is lovely and points forward to their next album, and maybe the title track which has an almost doo-wop sound, although I guess doo-wop can be weird.

    Speaking of weird doo-wop, I find it interesting that Frank Zappa and the Velvet Underground hated each other, but Lou Reed eventually inducted Zappa into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, so I guess there was some begrudging respect there.

    Liked by 1 person

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