Nav: Home

Lost Lou Reed recording for Andy Warhol discovered by Cornell musicologist

October 30, 2019

ITHACA, N.Y. - Twelve previously unreleased songs by Hall of Fame artist Lou Reed have been discovered on a cassette tape from 1975, stored in the archives of the Andy Warhol Museum.

The songs, which are on one side of the cassette, are based on Warhol's book, "The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again)."

"It sounds like he recorded them in his apartment with an open-air microphone, just voice and acoustic guitar," said Judith Peraino, professor of music at Cornell University, who discovered the tape while doing archival research at the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.

Reed labeled side 2 of the tape "The Philosophy Songs (From A to B and Back)." Side 1 of the cassette consists of songs dubbed from soundboard recordings of Reed's 1975 concerts.

Peraino said her first reaction to discovering the cassette was "disbelief and uncertainty." When one Warhol Museum staffer commented that Peraino had found an unreleased Lou Reed album, "that's when the excitement really hit."

"The sound of Reed's voice on 'The Philosophy Songs' is very different from his live concert performances on side 1," she said. "Such a discovery is rare, and it is certainly a highlight of my career."

The cassette came to the Warhol Museum as one of almost 3,500 audiotapes, part of the extensive collection Warhol assembled of the sounds of his life. Another important source for Peraino's research was Bruce Yaw, the bass player who toured with Reed in 1975 and '76. Yaw lived until his death in September near Cornell University in upstate New York.

"What makes this rare is the gift aspect of the tape - that Lou Reed intentionally created both a curated set of songs and a composed set of songs on tape meant only for Warhol," she said. "This is a harbinger of the mixtape culture and gift-giving that flourished in the 1980s and 1990s."

Peraino unearthed another partial recording of the "Philosophy Songs" at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. "I'll Be Your Mixtape: Lou Reed, Andy Warhol and the Queer Intimacies of Cassettes," was published Oct. 30 in the Journal of Musicology and includes a 30-second clip of one of the songs with permission from the Lou Reed Estate.
-end-
For more information, see this Cornell Chronicle story.

Cornell University has dedicated television and audio studios available for media interviews supporting full HD, ISDN and web-based platforms.

Media note: A video of professor Judith Peraino discussing the discovery can be viewed here. A 30-second clip of one of the songs can be listened to here. Photos of Lou Reed and the video can be downloaded here.

Cornell University

Related Research Articles:

More Research News and Research Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

In & Out Of Love
We think of love as a mysterious, unknowable force. Something that happens to us. But what if we could control it? This hour, TED speakers on whether we can decide to fall in — and out of — love. Guests include writer Mandy Len Catron, biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, musician Dessa, One Love CEO Katie Hood, and psychologist Guy Winch.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#543 Give a Nerd a Gift
Yup, you guessed it... it's Science for the People's annual holiday episode that helps you figure out what sciency books and gifts to get that special nerd on your list. Or maybe you're looking to build up your reading list for the holiday break and a geeky Christmas sweater to wear to an upcoming party. Returning are pop-science power-readers John Dupuis and Joanne Manaster to dish on the best science books they read this past year. And Rachelle Saunders and Bethany Brookshire squee in delight over some truly delightful science-themed non-book objects for those whose bookshelves are already full. Since...
Now Playing: Radiolab

An Announcement from Radiolab