Now that we're half a century into the rock revolution and Western Civilization hasn't crashed into mayhem, it's probably fair to say that those fears were a little bit overblown. That said, drugs (and sex) have played a big role in rock's history. And while most songs about drugs are rather lame – "White Lines," anyone? – this one is, in a word, harrowing. To hear this song is to feel heroin addiction, the exhilaration of its highs and the world-destroying oblivion of its lows. Something quite distinct from the escapism that has often marked rock n' roll, "Heroin" brings a devastating dose of stark realism. It may not be too pleasant to listen to (especially toward the end) – but then that's exactly the point, isn't it?
About the Song
|Artist||The Velvet Underground||Musician(s)||Lou Reed (vocals, guitar), Maureen Tucker (drums), John Cale (electric viola), Sterling Morrison (guitar)|
|Album||The Velvet Underground & Nico|
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Meanwhile, in rock music, the happy-go-lucky themes of an earlier era began to give way to heavier material. The Velvet Underground helped to pave the way for every dark, brooding musical artist who followed. Not to mention every heroin-afflicted rock star, from Kurt Cobain to Amy Winehouse. For better or worse, the themes first explored here – "I'm gonna try to nullify my life" – remain powerfully relevant today.
On the Charts"Heroin" was never released as a single, and did not chart.
Nevertheless, Rolling Stone magazine named "Heroin" the 448th greatest song of all time in its "500 Greatest Songs of All Time."
Mental Floss called "Heroin" one of the 10 songs that changed the world.
The Velvet Underground & Nico was virtually ignored on its first release, peaking at #171 on the Billboard 200.
Regardless, The Velvet Underground & Nico was also named the thirteenth greatest album of all time by Rolling Stone magazine.