Meaning of Sunday Morning by The Velvet Underground

What song do you like to wake up to on your day off? Agree that the cheerful mood is set by “Beautiful Sunday” by Chizh and “Orange Mood” by the group “Chayf”. But this is for domestic music lovers. What about Western listeners?

Many Americans, when asked about their favorite Sunday track, remember the song “Sunday Morning” by the rock band The Velvet Underground & Nico. Do they know that it is performed on behalf of a mentally unstable person suffering from persecution mania?

We will find out how the authors explained the meaning of the song. Lou Reed recalled that the story of “Sunday Morning” began with an idea from Andy Warhol:

Andy said, “Why don’t you just write a song about paranoia?” I thought it was a wonderful idea, and I made up the phrase “Watch out, the world’s behind you, there’s always someone watching you”. It seems to me the most paranoid statement that the world in general is so worried about you as to follow you.

Victor Bockris,
Transformer: The Lou Reed Story

John Cale also talked about how “Sunday Morning” was written:

Lou and I, as usual, spent the whole night high, and then decided to visit one of his old college friends in Syracuse. Unfortunately, the guy had an upper-middle-class wife who didn’t like the 3:00 a.m. visits from old college buddies who were high on amphetamines and demanded music. He had a guitar, which Lou took with him. That evening inspired him to write the song.

Uncut, 2006

To understand what the song “Sunday Morning” is about, Lou Reed’s explanation will help:

She’s pretty paranoid. My friend Delmore [американский поэт Delmore Schwartz] once said, “Even the paranoid have enemies.” The song is about this: “Beware, the world is behind you.” Perhaps it is.

And here is how Sterling Morrison explained the main idea of ​​“Sunday Morning”:

…a song about how it feels to be up all Saturday night and crawling home while people go to church. The sun has risen, and you, like Dracula, hide your eyes.

The track opens the record “The Velvet Underground & Nico”, but it was included on the album last. In general, the word “last” is often found in stories about the history of the song “Sunday Morning”. It was written at the last minute. Lou Reed, at the last moment before recording, took the song from Niko and undertook to perform it himself. John Cale noticed the celesta in the studio at the last moment and decided to use the outlandish instrument in the piece.

The single “Sunday Morning” was released in December 1966, three months before the release of the album “The Velvet Underground & Nico”. The Verve label did not want to spend money on advertising and the release went unnoticed by the general public. However, DJs of popular radio stations drew attention to the song, thanks to which it gradually became one of the group’s hits.

Check out the music video for “Sunday Morning” by The Velvet Underground.

Interesting Facts

  • Niko thought the song was called “Sun Day Mourning”.

Sunday Morning lyrics by The Velvet Underground

Sunday morning
Praise the dawn
It’s just a restless feeling
By my side
early dawning
Sunday morning
It’s just the wasted years
So close behind Sunday morning
Glory to the dawn
It’s just anxiety
got the better of me
Barely dawn
Sunday morning
Just wasted years
So close behind Chorus:
Watch out, the world’s behind you
There’s always someone around you
Who will call
It’s nothing at all
Watch out, the world is behind you
Someone is always by your side
Who will call you
This is nonsenseSunday morning
And I’m falling
I’ve got a feeling
I don’t want to know
early dawning
Sunday morning
It’s all the streets you’ve crossed
Not so long ago Sunday morning
I’m falling off my feet
It seems to me,
I don’t want to know anything
Barely dawn
Sunday morning
All these streets you crossed
Not so long agoChorus x2Chorus 2x

Song quote

“Sunday Morning” can be considered the root of a family tree of songs like “Every Breath You Take” and “Satellite of Love”, in which the true gloom of the theme is hidden behind pleasant, lulling melodies.

Joe Harvard, The Velvet Underground and Nico

Well, we thought, “People don’t pay attention to words anyway.”

Sterling Morrison

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