I'm Waiting for the Man

Song infobox
Name = I'm Waiting for the Man

Artist = The Velvet Underground
Album = The Velvet Underground and Nico
track_no = 2
Released = March 1967
Recorded = May 1966 T.T.G. Studios, Hollywood, California
Genre = Rock
Length = 4:39
Writer = Lou Reed
Composer = Lou Reed
Label = Verve Records
Producer = Andy Warhol
Tracks =
#"Sunday Morning"
#"I'm Waiting for the Man"
#"Femme Fatale"
#"Venus In Furs"
#"Run Run Run"
#"All Tomorrow's Parties"
#"There She Goes Again"
#"I'll Be Your Mirror"
#"The Black Angel's Death Song"
#"European Son"
"I'm Waiting for the Man" is a song by the American rock band The Velvet Underground, written by Lou Reed. It was first released on their 1967 debut album, "The Velvet Underground and Nico".

The song chronicles a man purchasing 26 dollars worth of heroin in a Harlem brownstone near the intersection of Lexington Avenue and 125th Street, the "man" in the song's title being a Puerto Rican drug dealer. Along with traditional guitar, bass, and drums, the song also features pounding, percussive rock-and-roll barrelhouse-style piano. It is one of the band's more popular songs, and one of their many compositions featuring drug abuse as subject matter. After leaving the band in 1970, Lou Reed continued to incorporate the song into his solo live performances. Reed does not often sing the song himself anymore.

In 2004, "Rolling Stone" magazine ranked it #159 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. [ [http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/11028260/the_rs_500_greatest_songs_of_all_time/2 The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time] at "Rolling Stone" (101-200)] [ [http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/6596004/im_waiting_for_the_man I'm Waiting for the Man] at "Rolling Stone"]

Alternate versions

Ludlow Street Loft, July 1965

" box set.

cepter Studios, April 1966

Before the final album version of the song was re-recorded at T.T.G. Studios, Hollywood, California, a different take of the song was originally recorded at Scepter Studios in New York City. This take of the song is slightly shorter, the piano is less audible and instead of drums, a tambourine is employed. Also of note is that Reed sings "I'm waiting for "the" man" at the beginning of the song. Through the album version, Reed sings "I'm waiting for "my" man."

Cover versions

Velvet Underground members Lou Reed, John Cale, Nico, and Maureen Tucker have all recorded solo versions of the song. Other artists who have recorded covers of it include Cheap Trick, Bauhaus (with Nico), David Bowie, Sheep on Drugs, The Celibate Rifles, Tom Robinson, The Riffs, Vanessa Paradis, Alberto Motta, Été 67, Eater, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and Slaughter & The Dogs. Debbie Harry frequently ended her live sets with the song between 1989 and 1991. Zwan and late Smashing Pumpkins also incorporated the song in their live set list. The original recording was also included, in remixed form, on the 2 Many DJs compilation album "As Heard On Radio Soulwax Pt. 2". San Francisco-based Tea Leaf Green covered the song during a performance at Moe's Alley Blues Club in Santa Cruz, California on December 15, 2005. Serbian rock band Električni Orgazam recorded a version on their 1983 cover album "Les Chanosones Populaires". In 1997, The song also appeared on David Bowie"'s Live: Santa Monica '72" featuring Mick Ronson on guitar. This performance was used in the 2000 film Almost Famous. Whilst Death Cab for Cutie have not covered the song, the repeated lyric 'To a brownstone, up three flights of stairs' in their song No Joy in Mudville is a direct lift from I'm Waiting For The Man.


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