Sunday Morning (The Velvet Underground song)

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"Sunday Morning"
Sunday Morning (The Velvet Underground record).jpg
Single by The Velvet Underground
from the album The Velvet Underground & Nico
B-side "Femme Fatale"
Released December 1966 (single)
March 1967 (album)
Recorded November 1966, Mayfair Recording Studios,[1] Manhattan
Genre Pop[2]
Length 2:56
Label Verve
Writer(s) Lou Reed, John Cale
Producer(s) Tom Wilson
The Velvet Underground singles chronology
"All Tomorrow's Parties / I'll Be Your Mirror"
"Sunday Morning / Femme Fatale"
"White Light/White Heat / Here She Comes Now"
The Velvet Underground & Nico track listing
  1. "Sunday Morning"
  2. "I'm Waiting for the Man"
  3. "Femme Fatale"
  4. "Venus in Furs"
  5. "Run Run Run"
  6. "All Tomorrow's Parties"
  7. "Heroin"
  8. "There She Goes Again"
  9. "I'll Be Your Mirror"
  10. "The Black Angel's Death Song"
  11. "European Son"
Music sample

"Sunday Morning" is a song by the Velvet Underground. It is the opening track on their 1967 debut album The Velvet Underground & Nico. It was also released as a single in 1966 with "Femme Fatale".


In late 1966, "Sunday Morning" was the final song to be recorded for The Velvet Underground & Nico. It was requested by Tom Wilson, who thought the album needed another song with lead vocals by Nico with the potential to be a successful single. The final master tape of side one of the album shows "Sunday Morning" only penciled in before "I'm Waiting for the Man".

In November 1966, Wilson brought the band into Mayfair Recording Studios in Manhattan. The song was written with Nico's voice in mind by Lou Reed and John Cale on a Sunday morning. The band previously performed it live with Nico singing lead, but when it came time to record it, Lou Reed sang the lead vocal. Nico would instead sing backing vocals on the song.[3]

Aiming to create a hit for the album, "Sunday Morning" features noticeably more lush and professional production than the rest of the songs on the album. The song's prominent use of celesta was the idea of John Cale, who noticed the instrument in the studio and decided to use it for the song. He also played viola and piano via overdubs and Sterling Morrison, normally the secondary guitarist, played bass despite his dislike of the instrument.[4][5]

According to Reed, the song's theme was suggested by Andy Warhol. "Andy said, 'Why don't you just make it a song about paranoia?' I thought that was great so I came up with 'Watch out, the world's behind you, there's always someone watching you,' which I feel is the ultimate paranoid statement in that the world cares enough to watch you."[6]


Cover versions[edit]

"Sunday Morning" has been covered by various bands, including Rusty, Villagers, Bettie Serveert, Beck, Chris Coco & Nick Cave, Nina Hagen, James, Oh-OK, Elizabeth Cook, NY Loose, the Feelies, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, the Queers, Strawberry Switchblade, Wally Pleasant, and Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs.[7] Japanese rock duo the Flare, composed of Sugizo and Yuna Katsuki, included a cover on their 2004 single "Uetico". The alternative rock Japanese band the Teenage Kissers made a cover and released it on their first full album Virgin Field. The song has also been covered by Belle & Sebastian during live shows. A live version recorded by Oh-OK is compiled on The Complete Recordings. In 2015, a version was recorded by Richard Barone for his Sorrows & Promises: Greenwich Village in the 1960s album, as a duet with Jenni Muldaur.

In 2009, Northern Irish pop punk/new wave band, The Undertones covered "Sunday Morning" for Onder Invloed, a project by Dutch journalist Matthijs van der Ven which showcases various musicians from all over the world covering their favorite songs.

A cover of the song by the Doug Anthony All Stars was used in a season 1 episode of DAAS Kapital, but did not appear on the DVD set of the sci-fi sitcom due to "contractual reasons... and because we never paid to use it in the first place," according to Paul McDermott.

British shoegaze band The Death of Pop covered the song, changing the name to "Sundae Mourning", on their 2013 EP Two Thousand and Thirteen

The chord progression is used in Kramer's "Don't Come Around", which includes the lyric, "I love this song," presumably referring to the Velvet Underground song rather than the Kramer song.

Billy Bragg and Courtney Barnett covered the song on the Australian television live music trivia quiz show, RocKwiz.[8]


  1. ^ "Mayfair Recording Studios - CDs and Vinyl at Discogs". Retrieved 2016-09-29. 
  2. ^ Mark Deming (1967-03-12). "The Velvet Underground & Nico - The Velvet Underground | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-09-29. 
  3. ^ Bockris, Victor (1994). Transformer: The Lou Reed Story. Simon & Schuster. p. 135. ISBN 0-684-80366-6. 
  4. ^ Hoffman, Eric. "Examinations: An Examination of John Cale". Mental Contagion. Retrieved 24 October 2014. When I had to play viola, Sterling had to play bass, which he hated.  According to the website, the quote is from John Cale’s autobiography, What’s Welsh for Zen (NY: St. Martin’s Press (2000).
  5. ^ Tom Pinnock (18 September 2012). "John Cale on The Velvet Underground & Nico". Uncut. Retrieved 7 March 2015. 
  6. ^ Bockris, p. 134-145
  7. ^ "Full Albums: The Velvet Underground & Nico - Cover Me". Retrieved 2016-09-29. 
  8. ^ "RocKwiz - Courtney Barnett & Billy Bragg - Sunday Morning". YouTube. 2014-05-12. Retrieved 2016-09-29.