Sweet Jane: Then and Now

The Vel­vet Under­ground first released “Sweet Jane” in 1970, and a cool ver­sion it was. But, soon enough, Lou Reed launched his solo career, put out a live ver­sion of “Sweet Jane” on Rock n Roll Ani­mal (1974), and made the song his own. That same year, Reed per­formed anoth­er funk-laden ver­sion in Paris, with Prakash John play­ing bass and Steve Hunter on gui­tar. And that’s what the vin­tage video gods are serv­ing up today.

All these years lat­er, Sweet Jane still fires the rock ‘n roll imag­i­na­tion. In 2009, Reed per­formed the anthem with Metal­li­ca at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Ben­e­fit Con­cert at Madi­son Square Gar­den, and it laid the foun­da­tion for a project now com­ing to fruition — a col­lab­o­ra­tive album called Lulu that will drop on Octo­ber 31st in the US, and Novem­ber 1 abroad. Reed orig­i­nal­ly wrote the songs for a play called Lulu, then he brought Metal­li­ca into the some­times emo­tion­al project and things just rolled along. In a recent inter­view with New York Mag­a­zine, Reed said, “the ver­sion of the Lulu music I did with Metal­li­ca is awe-inspir­ing. It’s maybe the best thing done by any­one, ever. It could cre­ate anoth­er plan­e­tary sys­tem. I’m not jok­ing, and I’m not being ego­tis­ti­cal.” The bar is now offi­cial­ly set high…

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Warhol’s Screen Tests: Lou Reed, Den­nis Hop­per, Nico, and More

The Vel­vet Rev­o­lu­tion Revis­it­ed: Hav­el at Colum­bia

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.