#33 Waiting for my Man

Underground exploding plastic model wrapped in velvet

#33 Waiting for my Man – Velvet Underground

‘I’m Waiting For My Man’ (or The Man) is one of the best known tracks from the best band that ever there was – a band whose music has been part of my life since I was 10 years old. The subject matter of this track is yet another in the playlist about that supreme giver of dopamine, but that’s not the only reason I like it. It’s a great song. It’s also not the first (or, of course, the last) track from the Velvets you’ll find here, so maybe it’s time for the band’s history to be formally documented. If you’ve ever listened to even a solitary track from the Velvet Underground, you’ll have no trouble believing that the band’s very existence has more than a little to do with fairies …

Sex and Drugs and Rock’n’Roll – The Beginning

When word reached fairy ears of a group of warlocks, interest was, quite naturally, piqued. This being 1964 rather than 1864, the warlocks in question turned out to be not malevolent wizards but a group of avant-garde musicians. Lou Reed and John Cale had teamed up with Sterling Morrison and Angus MacLise to form a band which was as far removed from the prevalent ear-candy as it’s possible to get (although an ersatz Candy was pouting on the horizon). Falling Spikes and Velvet Underground provided the drugs and the sex; the rock’n’roll coming courtesy of John Cale’s overloaded electric viola and Lou Reed’s dead-pan vocals.

One night while the singer slept, a fairy whispered in his ear. She read him a story that she’d heard a hundred years before from a remarkably accommodating Austrian gentleman by the name of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. She talked of Severin while the songwriter dreamt of colours. John Cale they pretty much left to his own devices. He was from Wales, after all …

Peel Slowly and See

Packaged by a plastic daemon in love with packaging, the Velvet Underground secured a record contract and released their first album. Angus MacLise had been transmogrified into a mallet wielding IBM keypunch operator and a new dimension in vocals had been added by a fairy ghost on sabbatical from a German model-shop.

The album featured both human and fairy compositions. The fairy creations ‘Sunday Morning’  and ‘I’ll Be Your Mirror’ (written by Celesta) were sung by Nico, who was also the subject of the Lou Reed song ‘Femme Fatale’. The other tracks on the album (also penned by Reed) were more sex and drugs (influences including the books of William Burroughs, another daemon fond of brightly coloured packaging).

The music was nothing short of magic. Whilst human and fairy vocals competed for funeral rites, Sterling Morrison’s highly versatile guitar playing  – ranging from the ephemeral (‘Femme Fatale’, ‘Heroin’) through rollin’ country (‘Run, Run, Run’) to the totally baroque (‘Venus in Furs’) – kept things sliding along. Against a backbeat provided by Maureen Tucker – sometimes assisted by a sombre boogie-woogie keyboard (‘I’m Waiting for my Man’) – John Cale’s overloaded electric viola flayed off in all directions (esp. on ‘The Black Angel’s Death Song’ and ‘European Son’), providing a truly multi-dimensional experience.

For a further installment see the entry for ‘White Light / White Heat‘ in this list.

(Review – Tim Shreeve)

Lyrics – I’m Waiting for my Man (Lou Reed)

I’m waiting for my man
Twenty-six dollars in my hand
Up to Lexington, 125
Feel sick and dirty, more dead than alive
I’m waiting for my man
Hey, white boy, what you doin’ uptown?
Hey, white boy, you chasin’ our women around?

 

cover from the 3rd album

 

Oh pardon me sir, it’s the furthest from my mind
I’m just lookin’ for a dear, dear friend of mine
I’m waiting for my man
Here he comes, he’s all dressed in black
PR shoes and a big straw hat
He’s never early, he’s always late
First thing you learn is you always gotta wait
I’m waiting for my man
Up to a Brownstone, up three flights of stairs
Everybody’s pinned you, but nobody cares
He’s got the works, gives you sweet taste
Ah then you gotta split because you got no time to waste
I’m waiting for my man
Baby don’t you holler, darlin’ don’t you bawl and shout
I’m feeling good, you know I’m gonna work it on out
I’m feeling good, I’m feeling oh so fine
Until tomorrow, but that’s just some other time
I’m waiting for my man.

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  1. #1 by Jorge on 19/09/2011 - 2:33 pm

    one small correction: DIOR shoes…

    great band, great lyrics

  2. #2 by Hittlir Rhonda on 07/12/2011 - 4:56 pm

    It’s appropriate moment to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I’ve read this blog post and if I could I wish to suggest you few interesting things or tips. Perhaps you can write next posts referring to this article. I want to read more things about it! Hittlir Rhonda

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