Listen to Unheard Demo of Lou Reed’s ‘Men of Good Fortune’
A previously unreleased demo of a Lou Reed song called "Men of Good Fortune" has been released.
The track will appear on Words & Music, May 1965, the first installment of the upcoming Lou Reed Archive Series, which comes out on Sept. 16.
Even though Reed would later include a song also titled "Men of Good Fortune" on his 1973 album Berlin, this 1965 demo is closer to folk music and contains entirely different lyrics.
You can listen to the track below.
"'Men of Good Fortune' has every trademark of one of the traditional Child Ballads from England and Scotland dating back for centuries and passed on from person to person," Reed's archivists Jason Stern and Don Fleming said in a press release. "They had rarely been documented in print but were finally compiled in Francis James Child’s landmark book, The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, published between 1882 and 1898. The Child Ballads were a great source of inspiration for folk artists in the early 1960s, with Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and Fairport Convention borrowing heavily from the book. ... It’s notable how the words to this version of 'Men of Good Fortune' could seemingly fit right in as a variant of a Child Ballad, but it doesn’t appear to borrow lines from the book or other songs, traditional or popular. Reed sings and plays the song alone."
Words & Music, May 1965 contains demos Reed recorded with his future Velvet Underground bandmate John Cale. He mailed the recordings to himself as a "poor man's copyright." Among the recordings are early versions of Velvet Underground songs "Heroin," "I'm Waiting for the Man" and "Pale Blue Eyes." The tapes sat sealed for close to 50 years until they were discovered in Reed’s office after his death in 2013.