Listen To Lou Reed’s ‘I’m Waiting For The Man’ Demo From Lou Reed Archive Series ‘Words & Music, May 1965’

Hear the previously unreleased and earliest known recording of "I'm Waiting For The Man" from a new Light In The Attic Records series.

By Nate Todd Jun 6, 2022 9:03 am PDT

In partnership with Laurie Anderson (Lou Reed’s widow), Light In The Attic Records will release a collection of recordings from Lou Reed titled Words & Music, May 1965 arriving on August 26 as the first installment of the Lou Reed Archival Series. The compilation is previewed with the previously unreleased and earliest known recording of “I’m Waiting For The Man.”

Words & Music, May 1965 documents some of Lou Reed’s best songs in their early stages he would later record and make famous with The Velvet Underground. With the help of future Velvet Underground bandmate John Cale, Reed committed “Heroin,” “I’m Waiting for the Man,” “Pale Blue Eyes” and more to tape. Reed would mail the recording to himself as a “poor man’s copyright” where it remained sealed in an envelope for nearly 50 years. He also further protected himself by saying “words and music Lou Reed” before the song performances from which the collection draws its title. The collection also arrives with another disc of early Lou Reed material dubbed Gee Whiz, 1958-1964 including Bob Dylan covers and more.

The tape has been remastered by Grammy-winning engineer John Baldwin. Laurie Anderson, Don Fleming, Jason Stern, Hal Willner and Matt Sullivan produced Words & Music, May 1965. The collection also contains new liner notes from journalist and author Greil Marcus as well as deep-dive archival notes from Don Fleming and Jason Stern, who oversee the Lou Reed Archive.

Here’s an excerpt of what Fleming and Stern wrote of the recordings in their liner notes:

In Cale’s autobiography [2000’s What’s Welsh for Zen] he describes an early memory of Reed showing him songs that later became Velvet Underground songs ‘as if they were folk songs.’ And that is precisely the sound of the songs on this tape, Reed on acoustic guitar and harmonica, with Cale singing the harmony parts in a style closer to The Weavers or Peter, Paul & Mary, than the gritty sound that they pioneered a few months later.

Preview Words & Music, May 1965 with “I’m Waiting For The Man” below along with an album trailer:

Words & Music, May 1965 Tracklist:

  1. I’m Waiting for the Man (May 1965 Demo)
  2. Men of Good Fortune (May 1965 Demo)
  3. Heroin (May 1965 Demo)
  4. Too Late (May 1965 Demo)
  5. Buttercup Song (May 1965 Demo)
  6. Walk Alone (May 1965 Demo)
  7. Buzz Buzz Buzz (May 1965 Demo)
  8. Pale Blue Eyes (May 1965 Demo)
  9. Stockpile (May 1965 Demo)
  10. Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams (May 1965 Demo)
  11. I’m Waiting for the Man (May 1965 Alternate Version)

Gee Whiz, 1958-1964 Tracklist:

  1. Gee Whiz – (1958 Rehearsal)
  2. Baby, Let Me Follow You Down (1963/64 Home Recording)
  3. Michael, Row The Boat Ashore (1963/64 Home Recording)
  4. Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right (Partial) (1963/64 Home Recording)
  5. W & X, Y, Z Blues (1963/64 Home Recording)
  6. Lou’s 12-Bar Instrumental (1963/64 Home Recording)
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