“Words & Music” offers up a raw and unfiltered glimpse into Lou Reed’s songwriting process.
The Grammy nominations just dropped, and they’re giving a major shout-out to Lou Reed’s throwback gem, “Words & Music, May 1965.”
We’re talking about the OG days of this iconic artist, and it’s getting some serious recognition. The first release in the Lou Reed Archive Series is turning heads with not one but two Grammy nods.
The nominations are for ‘Best Historical Album’ and ‘Best Special Limited Edition Package.’
The journey to the discovery of this hidden gem began when Lou Reed’s widow, Laurie Anderson, was sorting through her late husband’s belongings.
Amidst the personal effects, a recording from 1965 was unearthed, shedding light on the formative years of a legendary artist.
The recording showcased the influence of Bob Dylan and laid the foundation for the emergence of the Velvet Underground.
However, the most astonishing find wasn’t confined to a storage unit. Stern and Fleming, while clearing the shelves behind Reed’s desk, stumbled upon what they initially believed to be a standard CD box set.
Upon closer inspection, it revealed itself to be a reel-to-reel tape, sealed in a paper envelope dated May 1965 and addressed by Reed to himself at his parents’ house in Freeport, Long Island.
Notarized by a characteristically curious figure, Harry Lichtiger, a local pharmacist with a checkered past, the package contained a trove of recordings made by Reed and John Cale during Reed’s tenure as a songwriter for Pickwick Records.
The demo tape served as Reed’s ingenious method of asserting authorship on a budget—sending it to himself for a “poor man’s copyright.”
Within this time capsule were the earliest known versions of Velvet Underground classics such as “Heroin,” “I’m Waiting for the Man,” and “Pale Blue Eyes,” as well as previously unheard songs, including “Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams.”
The collection, sealed in its original envelope for almost 50 years, now emerges as a priceless artifact, unveiling the evolution of an artist who would go on to shape the landscape of rock and alternative music.