velvetsThe just-announced “super-deluxe” edition of the VU’s White Light/White Heat will include a handful of previously unheard performances — the most interesting of which are a live rendition of “The Gift” and an early studio version of “Beginning To See The Light,” with John Cale on fuzz bass.

One thing the compilers didn’t unearth, sadly, is footage of the Velvets on the Cleveland pop music show Upbeat. Amazingly, according to TV Guide, the band was scheduled to appear alongside Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell, The Music Explosion, The Fifth Estate and Donna Sears on January 8, 1967. Crazy. There’s even an eyewitness account from Jamie Klimek, (later of The Mirrors, a heavily VU-influenced Cleveland group), who recalls them playing “Guess I’m Falling In Love.” A typically contrarian move by the Velvets — they never completed a studio recording of the track (an instrumental version appeared on the mid 80s odds-n-sods comp Another VU).

So: Is this mysterious mp3 we’ve got here today actually audio from Upbeat? Probably not! But maybe? It’s a twisted tale: John Cale played it over the radio in the late 70s, claiming it was a recording from early 1967 at the Gymnasium in NYC. In 1995, a live version of “Guess” appeared on the box set Peel Slowly and See — but it’s a different performance than the one Cale played way back when. For certain, this recording is definitely from right around the same time period. Barring some sort of miracle, we may never know exactly where it came from — your “Guess” is as good as mine. But let’s just listen to this (very lo-fi) recording of one of the VU’s most chooglin’ tunes, and imagine Marvin & Tammi watching from the wings. words/ t wilcox

The Velvet Underground :: Guess I’m Falling In Love, Live 1967

7 Responses to “The Velvet Underground :: Guess I’m Falling In Love, Live 1967”

  1. If I had to hazard a guess, the video of them playing (if it was even saved to begin with) is long gone; networks used to re-record over tapes a lot back in the day, since they were expensive. And without it, it’ll be hard to place this song anywhere.

    But then again, people have been able to date even the most esoteric bootlegs, so anything could happen! Thanks for sharing this

  2. yeah the fact that footage has never turned up suggests that the VU’s appearance was recorded over at some point. Still, there are clips of Upbeat from around the same time — like this one of Otis Redding: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9dBHWTejiU

  3. If it is gone, it’s too bad, the relative lack of footage for the 60s Velvets is a real shame.

  4. always loved the instrumental version of this tune. just so relentless and gritty.

  5. Someone on YouTube — I know, not exactly credible — said that “Guess” is a song that Lou Reed wrote while working for Pickwick Records, after he’d teamed up with John Cale as The Primitives or The Falling Spikes. The performed the song on a local NY TV channel to promote the single, a few months before starting The Velvets with Sterling Morrison & Angus McLise

  6. hi Spike,

    I saw the same You tube comment and I am very curious about it.
    I am a harcore fan of the Velvets, I have never heard about “Guess” as being a song from the Pickwick era even less being featutre on TV.
    If anybody could shine some light on this one it would be great.

  7. I have that take of “Guess I’m Falling in Love” on a bootleg I got in the 80s called “The Velvet Underground (and So On)” on “Plastic Inevitable Records”. One of a series of three. I kick myself for not picking up the other two, but I was young and easily distracted.

    Liner notes say “Gymnasium, 1967″, but it’s unmistakably a demo. People make stuff up.

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