"European Son" is a song written and performed by the American experimental rock band The Velvet Underground. It appears as the final track on their 1967 debut album The Velvet Underground & Nico. It is also the album's longest song at more than seven and a half minutes.
"European Son" is dedicated by the band to Delmore Schwartz, a literary mentor of singer Lou Reed. Wanting to dedicate a song to Schwartz, "European Son" was chosen because it had the fewest lyrics (rock-and-roll lyrics being something Schwartz abhorred). The first pressing of The Velvet Underground & Nico referred to the song as "European Son (to Delmore Schwartz)".
The song could be seen as a precursor to the band's next album White Light/White Heat and certainly to the song "Sister Ray", a seventeen-minute-long rock improvisation.
The song begins with two stanzas of lyrics sung by Lou Reed and a Chuck Berry riff, then a loud crash is heard (caused by John Cale hitting a stack of plates with a metal chair) after the first minute or so. Afterward, the song becomes improvisational for six minutes. It makes particular use of distortion and feedback. The song's manner of dissonant ensemble improvisation can be...