Cover of The Best Of The Velvet Underground

From The Best Of The Velvet Underground and 35 other releases

“Heroin” is a song by The Velvet Underground, released on their 1967 debut album, The Velvet Underground and Nico. Written by Lou Reed in 1964, the song is one of the band’s most celebrated compositions, overtly depicting heroin use and abuse. Critic Mark Deming writes, “While ‘Heroin’ hardly endorses drug use, it doesn’t clearly condemn it, either, which made it all the more troubling in the eyes of many listeners”.

In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked it #448 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. In 2006, Pitchfork Media ranked it #77 on their list of the 200 Greatest Songs of the 1960s. In 2007 Mental Floss magazine listed it as one of ten songs that changed the world.

“Heroin” was among a three-song set to be re-recorded at T.T.G. Studios, Hollywood before being included on the final release of The Velvet Underground and Nico (along with “I’m Waiting for the Man” and “Venus in Furs”). This recording of the song would be the album’s second longest at 7 minutes and 12 seconds, being eclipsed only by “European Son” by about thirty seconds.

“Heroin” begins slowly with Lou Reed’s quiet, melodic guitar and hypnotic drum patterns by Maureen Tucker, soon joined by John Cale’s droning electric viola and Sterling Morrison’s steady rhythm guitar. The tempo increases gradually, mimicking the high the narrator receives from the drug, until a frantic crescendo is reached, punctuated by Cale’s shrieking viola and the more punctuated guitar strumming of Reed and Morrison.


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Albums featuring this track (36)

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  • muerto14

    One of the best songs ever, for sure [2]

    15 Dec 2:34pm Reply
  • zaroOoO

    this song is pure heroin.

    5 Dec 4:21pm Reply
  • cap_surgeon

    stop talking 'bout things you only heard of

    2 Dec 2:19pm Reply
  • Vinkgor

    One of the best songs ever, for sure

    26 Oct 1:09pm Reply
  • thebobx


    17 Oct 3:43am Reply
  • BanconIsGood

    politicians making crazy sounds

    9 Oct 1:41am Reply
  • buckleytim

    one of the best songs ever .....!!!!

    3 Oct 2:23pm Reply
  • sousah

    I don't know just where I'm going.

    28 Sep 11:58pm Reply
  • jpzitoleopold


    16 Sep 6:17pm Reply
  • thebobx

    it is my life hehe

    10 Aug 3:02am Reply
  • progbro


    2 Aug 6:13am Reply
  • MGMT-

    Live version is much better

    1 Aug 9:16pm Reply
  • AlterJohn

    Wo ?

    1 Aug 12:27pm Reply
  • TheMally98

    In sharp contrast with the groups of that age, who spoke of psychedelics and when the progressive rock was emerging... The Velvets painted the shit of the streets, the dark side of life, you can even breath the smell of a stinky room with a man on the floor... that's so biting and paranoid... a song that brings the reality in our ears. "And when heroin is in my blood and that blood is in my vein, oh thank god that i'm good as dead!"

    25 Jul 9:36pm Reply
  • laryoverkill

    I've heard this song a million times and that's my thought about : the song starts softly like he just had a shot and when it becomes noisy it looks like a dispair from someone who needs another shot .. You can even notice it on lou's laugh .. And thank your God that i'm not aware...

    25 Jul 5:19am Reply
  • pogoshrooms

    If this song isn't still one of my favourite songs, ever, in years to come, I dread to think what kind of a person I'll be. It kind of blows my mind...

    23 Jul 1:20am Reply
  • KushClarkKent

    I may have to give it a try...[2]

    13 Jul 11:13pm Reply
  • newplaylist-

    took me some listens to appreciate how great this track is

    17 Apr 12:24am Reply
  • jbusman

    "I'm gonna try for the kingdom, if I can..."

    16 Apr 9:27pm Reply
  • Oppressotron

    5:30 - 6:20 One of the greatest examples... sonically... of what it feels like to have a panic attack. Even if this song is about as far removed from a panic attack as is possible.

    10 Apr 5:44pm Reply
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