family tree
press releases
mailing list
site map

white light/white heat

Lou Reed

© Oakfield Avenue Music Ltd.

After waiting for the man on the their debut LP, The Velvet Underground's second album kicked off with the resulting score - the rush into amphetimine highs as the protagonist and the music desend into absolute chaos. It was called White Light/White Heat.

Johhny And The Self Abusers played it strictly for laughs, a tradition continued by Simple Minds in 1978, 1979 and 1980. (It survived the rejection of the Life In A Day material, hanging on in the set until being swept away by the new songs from Real To Real Cacophony.)

It remained unheard from the band until 1994. Simple Minds were 'warming-up' for their Good News From The Next World tour by playing a series of Christmas shows across the USA. Fans reported hearing two new songs: the first was the debut of She's A River whilst the second was the resurrection of White Light/White Heat. When heard during the band's US leg of the Good News tour, the confusion became clear - this was a radical new version, completely stripped down and acoustic - a real treat.

This glorious version was recorded and broadcast by The Album Network, floated around Virgin as a CD-acetate, and could be most easily tracked down on the CD bootleg 95 Sunset Strip. The final version recorded that year was a rough-and-ready riot with Arno for the French TV show Taratata - strictly for completists only and handily available on the excellent Don't Forget Paris bootleg.

Simple Minds finally recorded White Light/White Heat during rehearsals for the Alive And Kicking 2003 tour. After being exclusively previewed on Billy Sloan's show (on Sunday 1st December 2003), the track turned up on the impossible-to-get Live And Rare album.

White light; white light going messin' up my mind,
White light; and don't you know, gonna make me go blind.
White heat; oh, white heat, it tickle me down to my toes,
White light; oh, have mercy, white light have it, goodness knows.

White light; white light going messin' up my brain,
White light; oh, white light it's gonna drive me insane.
White heat; oh, white heat, it tickle me down to my toes,
White light; oh, white light, I said now, goodness knows.
Do it.

Oh, oh, white light,
Oh, I surely do love watch that stuff shooting itself in.
Oh, oh, white light,
Watch that side, watch that side.
Don't you know, gonna be dead and bright?
Oh, oh, white heat,
Yeah, foxy mama, watch her walking down the street.
Oh, oh, white light,
Come upside, your head gonna make a dead end on your street.

White light; white light movin' me drain my brain,
White light; white light gonna make me really go insane.
White heat; oh, white heat, it tickle me down to my toes,
White light; oh, white light, I said now, goodness knows.

White light; oh, white light, it's lightin' up my eyes,
White light; don't you know it fills me up with surprise.
White heat; oh, white heat, tickle me down to my toes,
White light; oh, white light, I tell you now, goodness knows.
Work at it.

Oh, oh, white light; oh, she surely do move speed,
Oh, oh, white light; watch that speed freak, watch that speed freak,
Everybody gonna make it every week.

Oh, oh, white heat; oh, sputter mutter, everybody gonna kill their mother,
Oh, oh, white light; here she comes, here she comes,
Everybody get it, make me run.
Do it.

Live Version (2nd March 1995) (4:27)
Recorded: House Of Blues, Hollywood, USA
Mixed by: Mikal Reid

House Of Blues Promotional MC House Of Blues Promotional CD

Album Version (4:29)
Producer: Charlie Burchill and Gordy Goudie
Engineer: Kevin Burleigh

Live And Rare album

Nicky Campbell, Radio One: 20th-23rd February 1995

live history
Johnny And The Self Abusers: 1977
Simple Minds: 1978
Life In A Day Tour: 1979
Real To Real Cacophony Tour: 1979-1980
Empires And Dance Tour: 1980
Empires And Dance Tour: 1981
Good News From The Next World Tour: 1995
Alive And Kicking Tour: 2003