White Light/White Heat – Velvet Underground (1968)

White Light/White Heat is the second studio album by American rock band the Velvet Underground, released in 1968 by record label Verve. It was the band’s last studio recording of new material with bassist and founding member John Cale. After the disappointing sales of the Velvet Underground’s first album, The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967), the band’s relationship with Andy Warhol deteriorated. They toured throughout most of 1967. Many of their live performances featured noisy improvisations that would become key elements on White Light/White Heat. The band fired Warhol, parted ways with Nico, and recorded their second album with Tom Wilson credited as producer. The album was recorded in just two days, and with a noticeably different style from that of The Velvet Underground & Nico. John Cale described White Light/White Heat as ‘a very rabid record… The first one had some gentility, some beauty. The second one was consciously anti-beauty.’ Sterling Morrison said: ‘We were all pulling in the same direction. We may have been dragging each other off a cliff, but we were all definitely going in the same direction.’ The album has been described as experimental rock, noise rock, proto-punk and art rock by writers and critics. The record’s lyrics vary from themes of drug use and sexual references (such as fellatio and orgies), including the song ‘Lady Godiva’s Operation’, about a transsexual woman’s botched lobotomy, and the title track ‘White Light/White Heat’, which describes the use of amphetamine. ‘Here She Comes Now‘ is built around a double-entendre. On the album’s last track, ‘Sister Ray‘, Lou Reed tells a tale of debauchery involving drag queens having a failed orgy, while the band plays an improvised seventeen-minute jam around three chords. …”
Overloaded: The Story Of White Light/White Heat
The Velvet Underground’s ‘White Light/White Heat’: 10 Things You Didn’t Know (Video)
Beauty in Chaos: The Velvet Underground’s White Light/White Heat Turns 50 (Video)
YouTube: White Light/White Heat, Lady Godiva’s Operation, The Gift, Here she comes now, I Heard Her Call My Name, Sister Ray

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