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"Venus in Furs" is a song by The Velvet Underground, written by Lou Reed and originally released on the 1967 album The Velvet Underground & Nico. Inspired by the book of the same name by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, the song includes sexual themes of sadomasochism, bondage and submission.
"Venus in Furs" was one of three songs to be re-recorded at T.T.G. Studios, Hollywood, before appearing on the final mix of The Velvet Underground & Nico (the other two being "Heroin" and "I'm Waiting for the Man"). The music features John Cale's cacophonous viola as well as Lou Reed's ostrich guitar, which is a guitar with all of its strings tuned to the same note (albeit in different octaves); in the case of the ostrich guitar, it appears at the end of the song, alongside Reed's normally strung guitar at standard tuning 1 semitone down, which is much more prominent in the song.
Alternate versions 
Ludlow Street Loft, July 1965 
The song was one of several early songs to be recorded by Lou Reed, John Cale and Sterling Morrison in their Ludlow Street loft during July 1965. This version of the song features a drastically different arrangement than would appear on The Velvet Underground & Nico, and ends with what David Fricke calls a "stark, Olde English-style folk lament" in the liner notes for Peel Slowly and See (the 1995 compilation album upon which the Ludlow demos appear). John Cale provides lead vocals for this demo recording of the song.
Scepter Studios, April 1966 
An alternate take of the song was first recorded at Scepter Studios, New York City before being re-recorded in Hollywood. This take of the song is performed at a quicker pace and the lyrics vary slightly from the T.T.G. recording.
Live recordings 
Live recordings of "Venus in Furs" appear on Bootleg Series Volume 1: The Quine Tapes (recorded in San Francisco, December 1969) and on Live MCMXCIII (recorded in Paris, June 1993).
In film 
The song is featured in Rob Zombie's 2012 film The Lords of Salem.
The song appears as part of the soundtrack for Gus Van Sant's 2005 film Last Days.
The song appears as the soundtrack for the Andy Warhol party scene in Oliver Stone's The Doors (1991).
RZA used samples of the song, for his song called "Fatal" played in the final credits of Blade: Trinity, also appears in its soundtrack.
In advertising 
In 1993, the song was used as the soundtrack for a British advertisement for Dunlop Tyres, by the advertising agency Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO and directed by British director Tony Kaye. The advertisement was notable for featuring both fetish and surrealist imagery.
Cover versions 
Lou Reed has recorded several solo versions of the song and John Cale also performs it with his band. In addition, the following artists have recorded it: