White Light/White Heat

White Light/White Heat (The Velvet Underground)

  • 18 Aug 15:46
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"White Light/White Heat" is a song by American avant-garde rock band The Velvet Underground, the title track on their second album, released in 1968. It is a fast, relatively aggressive start to the album, similar to the punk rock genre it would ultimately influence.

The song's vocals are performed primarily by Lou Reed, with John Cale and Sterling Morrison performing backing vocals. The song, much like "I'm Waiting for the Man", features pounding rock-and-roll Barrelhouse-style piano. The song is about the effects of amphetamine pills and features a heavily distorted outro played over a single chord.

"White Light/White Heat" was released in 1968 as a single with the B-side "Here She Comes Now".

Reed also recorded a live version of the song in 1974, which is featured on his Rock 'n' Roll Animal and Greatest Hits albums.

"White Light/White Heat" is often cited as a major influence on punk bands, as well as more varied rock and roll artists. The song has been covered by David Bowie (see below), Mick Ronson and Slaughter & The Dogs, among others. A live recording by Gary Numan appears on his concert album, Living Ornaments '78 and on the live bonus disk with Tubeway Army.



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