Inspiration for the song came from Reed's observation of the Warhol clique; according to Reed, the song is "a very apt description of certain people at the Factory at the time. ... I watchedAndy. I watched Andy watching everybody. I would hear people say the most astonishing things, the craziest things, the funniest things, the saddest things." The song was Andy Warhol's favorite by The Velvet Underground.
- 2 Personnel
- 3 Alternate versions
- 4 Cover versions
- 5 Sample
- 6 References
The song was recorded at Scepter Studios, New York, during April 1966. It features a piano motif played by Cale (initially written as an exercise) based largely on tone clusters. It was one of the first pop songs to make use of prepared piano (a chain of paper clips were intertwined with the piano strings to change their sounds). The song also features the ostrich guitar tuning by Reed, by which all of the guitar strings were tuned to D.
Nico provides lead vocals. The song was originally recorded with only one track of her vocals; they were later double-tracked for the final album version. Most versions of the album use this version of the song, though the initial 1987 CD release uses the original mix without the double-tracking.
- Lou Reed - guitar
- John Cale - piano, bass
- Sterling Morrison - rhythm guitar
- Maureen Tucker - percussion
- Nico - lead vocals
The earliest known recorded version of "All Tomorrow's Parties" was recorded on reel to reel tape by Lou Reed, John Cale and Sterling Morrison in a New York apartment loft on Ludlow Street. With Reed on acoustic guitar, the song features a strong folk music sound—particularly in Cale and Morrison's harmony vocals—which critic David Fricke suggests demonstrates Reed's fondness for Bob Dylan. This version, released on the Peel Slowly and See box set, is composed of multiple takes, which add up to a time of 18:26.
An edited version of the song was released in July 1966 as a single with "I'll Be Your Mirror" as a B-side. The song cuts out about half of the studio version at just under three minutes. It did not chart.
This version later became available in 2002 on the "Deluxe Edition" of The Velvet Underground & Nico.
Both Nico and Lou Reed have recorded solo versions of the song. Other artists who have covered it include Jun Togawa, Apoptygma Berzerk, the Ass Ponys, Buffalo Tom, Japan, Bauhaus, Jeff Buckley, Icehouse, Los Tres, The Method Actors, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, the Oysterband, Tom Robinson, Kikka Sirén, Simple Minds, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Rasputina, Kendra Smith, Bryan Ferry, June Tabor, Johnette Napolitano, Iron and Wine, Deerhoof, Hole, The Music Tapes, Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio and Black Tape for a Blue Girl. Les Rita Mitsouko covered the song for the Velvet Underground tribute album Les Enfants du Velvet in 1985.