"Rock & Roll" (sometimes typed Rock 'n' Roll) is a song by the Velvet Underground, originally appearing on their 1970 album Loaded. The song was written by the Velvet's then-leader Lou Reed, who continued to incorporate the song into his own live performances years later as a solo artist.
The song recounts the advent of rock & roll, telling the story of a girl named Jenny whose "life was saved by rock and roll.”
In the liner notes to the Velvet Underground's box set Peel Slowly And See, Lou Reed wrote, "'Rock and Roll' is about me. If I hadn't heard rock and roll on the radio, I would have had no idea there was life on this planet. Which would have been devastating - to think that everything, everywhere was like it was where I come from. That would have been profoundly discouraging. Movies didn't do it for me. TV didn't do it for me. It was the radio that did it."
A clip of the Velvet Underground performing the song is played on completion of the Rock & Roll wonder in Civilization IV. In addition, the quote about researching the technology "Radio," read by Leonard Nimoy, is "...then one fine morning she puts on a New York station.... You know, her life was saved by rock & roll." The quote is credited to Lou Reed.
Mitch Ryder's band, Detroit, which featured Lou Reed's future guitarist Steve Hunter, performed one of the first cover versions of the song in 1971. Other artists to cover the song include the Runaways, Jane's Addiction and Phish, all of whom changed the lyrics to refer to their own city instead of Reed's New York.