Reissues With Benefits: The Velvet Underground’s “White Light/White Heat”

Courtesy of Universal Music Group

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


The Velvet Underground
White Light/White Heat 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition
UMe

White Light/White Heat is one legendary album that lives up to the hype. The Velvet Underground’s second release, and the last to feature the founding lineup of Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, and Mo Tucker (at least until the band’s reunion in the ’90s), it’s a grimy, exhilarating blast of confrontational noise, credited with launching everything from punk to industrial rock to ambient music. This impressive three-disc set offers mono and stereo versions of the original release, plus a slew of pretty-enticing extras from the era. The highlights are the title song, “I Heard Her Call My Name” and the still mind-blowing 17-minute epic “Sister Ray,” wherein Reed seems both offhand and sinister at once, like Bob Dylan transformed into a sneering New York City degenerate. Only “The Gift,” a gruesome spoken-word tall tale recited by Cale in his entrancing Welsh lilt, has not aged well.

Among the additional songs, standouts include two versions of the eerie “Hey Mr. Rain,” the atypically playful “Temptation Inside Your Heart” and the first official release of an oft-bootlegged live show from 1967, featuring the terrific and otherwise unavailable “I’m Not a Young Man Anymore.” Lou Reed’s recent passing has inevitably renewed interest in his work, but White Light/White Heat would be essential listening in any case.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate