Song of the Day, December 3: Sunday Morning by the Velvet Underground
December 3, 2013 Leave a comment
Today’s song is Sunday Morning by the Velvet Underground. It was the last track recorded for their debut album, The Velvet Underground & Nico. Producer Tom Wilson requested an additional song with more potential as a single, so Lou Reed and John Cale penned this track. It was written specifically with guest singer Nico’s vocals in mind. Although she sang it live with the band, the recorded version features Reed on lead vocals with Nico supplying a haunting backdrop.
Although never a big seller, the album was extremely influential, providing templates for almost every counter-culture pop and rock movement of the next three decades. Sunday Morning shows off a different side of the band. It’s a reflective ballad — slow, gentle, and thoughtful. It demonstrates musical themes that Reed would explore further with the band after Cale’s departure and a tenderness that he wove into the best of his later solo work. Cale eschews his avant-garde tendencies for a hypnotic musical backdrop that would also figure in some of his best solo work.
Watch out, the world’s behind you
There’s always someone around you who will call It’s nothing at all
Sunday morning and I’m falling
I’ve got a feeling I don’t want to know
As the poppiest moment on the album, Sunday Morning has been covered many times. Athens, GA band Oh-OK recorded a version after Matthew Sweet joined as guitarist. When Sweet and Bangles vocalist Susanna Hoffs created their Sid & Susie personas to record a great set of 60s and 70s pop covers, they included this track. With Hoffs’ bittersweet vocals and Sweet’s spot-on power pop production, they turn in a version that rivals the original.