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All Tomorrow's Parties

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Subject: Heroin (The Velvet Underground song), Goth subculture, I'm Waiting for the Man, One Beat, Willie Alexander
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All Tomorrow's Parties

"All Tomorrow's Parties"
Single by The Velvet Underground and Nico
from the album The Velvet Underground & Nico
B-side "I'll Be Your Mirror"
Released July 1966 (single)
March 1967 (album)
Recorded April 1966 at Scepter Studios, Manhattan
Genre Experimental rock, art rock, psychedelic rock[1]
Length 2:49 (single version)
6:00 (album version)
Label Verve (VK10427)
Writer(s) Lou Reed
Producer(s) Andy Warhol
The Velvet Underground and Nico singles chronology
"All Tomorrow's Parties" / I'll Be Your Mirror
"Sunday Morning" / "Femme Fatale"
The Velvet Underground & Nico track listing
  1. "Sunday Morning"
  2. "I'm Waiting for the Man"
  3. "Femme Fatale"
  4. "Venus in Furs"
  5. "Run Run Run"
  6. "All Tomorrow's Parties"
  7. "Heroin"
  8. "There She Goes Again"
  9. "I'll Be Your Mirror"
  10. "The Black Angel's Death Song"
  11. "European Son"

"All Tomorrow's Parties" is a song by The Velvet Underground, written by Lou Reed and released on the group's 1967 debut album, The Velvet Underground & Nico.

Inspiration for the song came from Reed's observation of the Warhol clique; according to Reed, the song is "a very apt description of certain people at the Factory at the time. ... I watched Andy. I watched Andy watching everybody. I would hear people say the most astonishing things, the craziest things, the funniest things, the saddest things."[2] In a 2006 interview Reed's bandmate John Cale stated: "The song was about a girl called Darryl, a beautiful petite blonde with three kids, two of whom were taken away from her."[3] The song was Andy Warhol's favorite by The Velvet Underground.[4]

The song has notably lent its name to a music festival, a William Gibson novel, and a Yu Lik-wai film. The song also appears prominently in the horror film The Lords of Salem.


The song was recorded at Scepter Studios in Manhattan during April 1966. It features a piano motif played by Cale (initially written as an exercise) based largely on tone clusters. It was one of the first pop songs to make use of prepared piano[5] (a chain of paper clips were intertwined with the piano strings to change their sounds). The song also features the ostrich guitar tuning by Reed, by which all of the guitar strings were tuned to D.[4] Drummer Maureen Tucker plays tambourine and bass drum while guitarist Sterling Morrison plays bass, a chore that he hated, despite his ability on the instrument.[6]

Nico provides lead vocals. The song was originally recorded with only one track of her vocals; they were later double-tracked for the final album version. Most versions of the album use this version of the song, though the initial 1987 CD release uses the original mix without the double-tracking.


Alternate versions

Ludlow Street Loft, July 1965

The earliest known recorded version of "All Tomorrow's Parties" was recorded on reel to reel tape by Lou Reed, John Cale and Sterling Morrison in a New York apartment loft on Ludlow Street. With Reed on acoustic guitar, the song features a strong folk music sound—particularly in Cale and Morrison's harmony vocals—which critic David Fricke[7] suggests demonstrates Reed's fondness for Bob Dylan. This version, released on the Peel Slowly and See box set, is composed of multiple takes, which add up to a time of 18:26.

Single version, July 1966

An edited version of the song was released in July 1966 as a single with "I'll Be Your Mirror" as a B-side. The song cuts out about half of the studio version at just under three minutes. It did not chart.

This version later became available in 2002 on the "Deluxe Edition" of The Velvet Underground & Nico.

Cover versions

Both Nico and Lou Reed have recorded solo versions of the song. Other artists who have covered it include Jun Togawa, Apoptygma Berzerk,[8] the Ass Ponys, Buffalo Tom, Japan,[9] Bauhaus, Jeff Buckley, Icehouse,[10] Los Tres,[11] The Method Actors, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds,[12] the Oysterband, Tom Robinson, Kikka Sirén, Simple Minds,[13] Siouxsie and the Banshees,[14] Rasputina, Kendra Smith, Bryan Ferry,[15] June Tabor, Johnette Napolitano, Iron and Wine, Deerhoof, Hole, The Music Tapes, Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio and Black Tape for a Blue Girl. Les Rita Mitsouko covered the song for the Velvet Underground tribute album Les Enfants du Velvet in 1985.


The sixth track from The Velvet Underground & Nico, featuring Nico's double-tracked lead vocals. This sample contains the beginning of the third verse.

Problems playing this file? See .


  1. ^ J. DeRogatis, Turn On Your Mind: Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock (Milwaukie, Michigan: Hal Leonard, 2003), ISBN 0-634-05548-8, p. 80.
  2. ^ Fricke, David (1995). Peel Slowly and See liner notes, p.22
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ Mitchell, Tim Sedition and Alchemy : A Biography of John Cale, 2003, ISBN 0-7206-1132-6
  6. ^ According to the website, the quote is from John Cale’s autobiography, What’s Welsh for Zen (NY: St. Martin’s Press (2000).
  7. ^ David Fricke, liner notes for the Peel Slowly and See box set (Polydor, 1995)
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^


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