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December 11: The Velvet Underground at Summit High School

December 11, 2013
MyddleClassSummitHighFlyerThe Velvet Underground, a loud and heavy band that was the launching pad for the late great Lou Reed, played their first concert under that name (they were formerly called The Falling Spikes) on this date in 1965 at Summit High School in Summit, New Jersey. The concert was arranged by Al Aronowitz, who was hoping to manage the Velvets (a role soon taken by Andy Warhol) and was already managing the concert’s headline band, The Myddle Class, for whom Aronowitz’s friends Gerry Goffin and Carole King had agreed to write some songs. (The Myddle Class’ bassist was King’s future husband, Charles Larkey, and singer Dave Palmer later played with Steely Dan.) The band rocked through just three songs, “There She Goes Again,” “Venus in Furs,” and “Heroin,” and the Summit High audience “didn’t like us too much,” recalled Maureen (Moe) Tucker, playing her first gig as The Velvet Underground’s drummer. You can hear The Myddle Class by looking below, and hear the recorded version of “Heroin,” with lyrics printed, by looking further below. “Before we could take it all in, everyone was hit by a screeching surge of sound, with a pounding beat louder than anything we had ever heard. About a minute into the second song, which the singer introduced as ‘Heroin,’ the music began to get even more intense. It swelled and accelerated like a giant tidal wave which was threatening to engulf us all.” —Rob Norris, Kicks magazine