#94 Sweet Jane – The Velvet Underground
A much recorded and, for such a simple tune, messed around with Lou Reed ditty. Released on Loaded, Max’s Kansas and the ’69 live and (post velvet) Rock’n’Roll Animal albums to name but a few, this song has also been much covered. I guess as Velvet Underground songs go it’s one of the safer tracks to go for, especially if you think you may have a chance of some sort of
chart success, as there are no overt drug references (i.e. it’s not a song which is totally about smack and/or speed) and (probably equally as important if you want to appeal to a mainstream audience) no John Cale electric viola solos … and no Nico depressing the Valium in your pocket (the Velvet Underground are my favourite band, honest). Anyway, I myself have been known to sing this song (along with others by the velvets) and had my own little stab at changing the lyrics for some esoteric
fun. If you look at the lyrics on paper they look as if they wouldn’t fit in the available number of bars with a crow-bar and a wine-press but it’s surprisingly easy to sing. The chord sequence is delightful (with or without the bridge, although I prefer the 4 chord version to the 3) and there’s an easy-to-learn highly effective optional guitar solo. Add some simple backing vocals (which even the most rheumatic bass-player should be able to manage) – what more could a boy possibly want .. apart from … that it never ends – but of course it does, and it did, and that was then, and this is now (and I seem to be short of any of the things that make life bearable in Texas) …
Standing on the corner, suitcase in my hand,
Jack is in his corset, and Jane is in her vest, and, me,
I’m in a rock’n’roll band. Huh!
Ridin’ in a Stutz-Bearcat, Jim
Y’know, those were different times!
Oh, all the poet, they studied rules of verse,
And the ladies, they rolled their eyes.
Sweet Jane! Whoa! Sweet Jane, oh-oh-a! Sweet Jane!
I’ll tell you something,
Jack, he is a banker,
And Jane, she is a clerk.
Both of them save their monies, ha,
And when, when they come home from work!
Ooh! Sittin’ down by the fire, oh!
The radio does play,
The classical music there, Jim.
“The March of the Wooden Soldiers”.
All you protest kids.
You can hear Jack say, get ready, ah,
Sweet Jane! Come on baby! Sweet Jane! Oh-oh-a! Sweet Jane!
Some people, they like to go out dancing,
And other peoples, they have to work. Just watch me now!
And there’s even some evil mothers,
Well they’re gonna tell you that everything is just dirt.
Y’know that, women, never really faint,
And that villains always blink their eyes, woo!
And that, y’know, children are the only ones who blush!
And that, life is, just to die!
And, everyone who ever had a heart, oh,
That wouldn’t turn around and break it.
And anyone who ever played a part, whoa,
And wouldn’t turn around and hate it!
Sweet Jane! Whoa-oh-oh! Sweet Jane! Sweet Jane. Sweet Jane.
Sweet Jane. Sweet Jane.