Listen to Lou Reed’s earliest known demo of The Velvet Underground’s ‘Heroin’

Lou Reed‘s earliest known demo of The Velvet Underground‘s ‘Heroin’ has been released.

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The 1965 take of the track, which you can listen to below, was put to tape by the late legendary singer-songwriter nearly two years before its release on his former band’s landmark debut album ‘The Velvet Underground & Nico’.

It is the latest taste of the forthcoming ‘Words & Music, May 1965’, an archival collection which is set to be released on August 26 via Light In The Attic on what would have been the late singer-songwriter’s 80th birthday.


The rare demo finds Reed accompanying himself on guitar and structurally, it is the same as the album version but it is more than three minutes shorter.

It follows an early demo of ‘I’m Waiting For The Man’, which was shared last month.

The songs on the album were written by Reed and recorded to tape by his future Velvet Underground bandmate John Cale. Reed posted the tape to himself as a “poor man’s copyright” and it remained sealed in its original envelope for nearly 50 years.

Elsewhere on the tracklist are previously unreleased demos including ‘Buttercup Song’, ‘Buzz Buzz Buzz’ and ‘Stockpile’. ‘Words & Music, May 1965’ will be released in a variety of formats including LP, cassette, 8-track, digital and CD.

A deluxe 45-RPM double LP edition of the album will be limited to 7,500 copies worldwide and will include two 12-inch LPs, a bonus 7-inch including six previously-unreleased bonus tracks including a cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right’, a saddle-stitched, die-cut 28-page book featuring lyrics, archival photos and liner notes, and an archival reproduction of a rarely-seen letter written by Reed to his college professor and poet Delmore Schwartz, circa 1964.


All formats will be released on August 26, while a six-song digital EP ‘Gee Whiz, 1958-1964’ will arrive on October 7 and will feature the bonus content from the aforementioned 7-inch.

You can find further information on the release and its different formats, and pre-order the album, here.