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"Sweet Jane" is a song by the Velvet Underground, originally appearing on their 1970 album Loaded. The song was written by the band's leader Lou Reed, who continued to incorporate the piece into live performances years later as a solo artist.

When Loaded was originally released in 1970, the song's bridge was edited out. The box set Peel Slowly and See and reissue Loaded: Fully Loaded Edition restored the missing section.

The song also appears on the albums Live at Max's Kansas City1969: The Velvet Underground LivePeel Slowly and SeeLive MCMXCIIILoaded: Fully Loaded EditionAmerican PoetRock 'n' Roll AnimalLive: Take No PrisonersLive in ItalyThe Concert for the Rock and Roll Hall of FameRock and Roll: an Introduction to The Velvet UndergroundNYC Man (The Ultimate Collection 1967–2003)Live on Letterman: Music from The Late Show; and Berlin: Live At St. Ann's Warehouse.



  • 1 History
  • 2 Cover versions
  • 3 Rankings
  • 4 References
  • 5 External links


There are two distinct versions of "Sweet Jane" with minor variations, spread over its first four releases. The first release of the song, in November 1970, was a version recorded earlier that year and included onLoaded. In May 1972, a live version (recorded August 1970) appeared on the Velvet Underground's Live at Max's Kansas City; this had an additional bridge that was missing from the Loaded release. In February 1974 a live version recorded in December 1973 (similar to the Loaded version but with extended intro and hard rock sound), appeared on Reed's Rock 'n' Roll Animal. In September 1974 a down-tempo live version recorded in late 1969 was included on 1969: The Velvet Underground Live, with a different song structure and lyrics. When a restored version of the original Loaded release was eventually unveiled on Peel Slowly and See in 1995 (and in 1997 on Loaded: Fully Loaded Edition), it turned out that some of the 1969 lyrics (notably the entire bridge as heard on Live at Max's Kansas City) had originally been included in the Loadedversion as well, but were scrapped in the final mix. In a 2005 interview, former Velvet Underground member Doug Yule stated that the main signature "riff" of the song (that appears on Loaded) was finalized in the studio just before the tracks were recorded, and it was achieved by Lou Reed playing "cranked-up very loud" through a large Sunn amplifier.[1] In addition to recording the bass track, the drums on the recording were also performed by Doug Yule, as Velvet drummer Maureen Tucker was pregnant at the time and not present during the Loaded sessions.[2]

Lou Reed performed "Sweet Jane" in two keys: the 1969 and 1970 versions were in D, as was 1972's American Poet version. On 1973's Rock 'n' Roll Animal, and 1978's Take No Prisoners, the song is in E, while on 1984's Live in Italy the song is back in D.

The elaborate dueling-guitars intro on the Rock 'n' Roll Animal version was played by Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter, two Detroit guitarists who would go on to play with Alice Cooper.

Cover versions[edit][]

"Sweet Jane"
Single by Mott the Hoople
from the album All the Young Dudes
B-side "Jerkin' Crocos"
Released 19 January 1973
Recorded May–July 1972

Olympic and Trident Studios,London

Genre Glam rock
Length 4:21
Label Columbia Records
Writer(s) Lou Reed
Producer(s) David Bowie
Mott the Hoople singles chronology
"One of the Boys"


"Sweet Jane"


"Honaloochie Boogie"


  • 1972: Mott the Hoople on the David Bowie-produced album All the Young Dudes. It was also released as a single in Canada, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and theUnited States.
  • 1972: Performed during a Save the Whales benefit concert on July 8, Royal Festival Hall London, England, as a duet with Lou Reed and David Bowie.[3]
  • 1973: Brownsville Station on their album Yeah!
  • 1977: Eater on their album The Album
  • 1980: Stephan Eicher on his album Noise Boys
  • 1983: Hellzephyrs Poporkester (Kalabalik)
  • 1983: Zircon Lounge on their debut album Regal Vigour covered the song twice, once with extracts from Jean Genet's The Thief's Journal.
  • 1983: Jim Carroll with the Jim Carroll Band on the album "I Write Your Name"
  • 1985: The Afflicted (Good News About Mental Health)
  • 1985: The Jazz Butcher on the album The Gift of Music .
  • 1987: Annabel Lamb on the album Brides.
  • 1988: Cowboy Junkies on The Trinity Session album. Later released as a CD single, and used on the Trent Reznor-compiled Natural Born Killers soundtrack. It was recorded again on Trinity Revisited in 2006. The Cowboy Junkies' version is based on the slower early version included in 1969: The Velvet Underground Live. Lou Reed himself described it as "the best and most authentic version I have ever heard".[4]
  • 1989: Two Nice Girls recorded a cover of the song combined with Joan Armatrading's song "Love and Affection"".
  • 1994: Lone Justice recorded an energetic and extended version of the song on the Radio 1 Live in Concert album
  • 1996: Colombian band 1280 Almas covered in Spanish as "Dulce Juana" on their third record La 22
  • 1997: The Sugarcubes on the album Cover Me.
  • 1998: Phish on their album Live Phish Volume 16
  • 2001: Chitose Hajime on the self-titled mini-album
  • 2004: Italian singer Enrico Ruggeri on his album Punk prima di te
  • 2005: Gang of Four's re-release of their debut album Entertainment! features a live cover version
  • 2006: Michael Stanley on the album The Farrago Sessions uses the song "Wichi Tai To" by Jim Pepper as the chorus
  • 2006: The Blue Aeroplanes on Disc 2 of the remastered Deluxe edition of their 1990 album Swagger.
  • 2009: Lou Reed performed the song with Metallica on October 25, 2009, at Madison Square Garden in New York City during a concert to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
  • 2014: Patrick McAllister CD Rehearsal Sessions featuring Rachel Auger and Ruth Israel, Conifer, Colorado.[5]
  • 2014: English band the Kooks performed a cover of the song combined with the Rolling Stones' "Beast of Burden".
  • 2014: Phil Lesh and Friends played “Sweet Jane” at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park on May 28, 2014.[6]


In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked it #335 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

In March 2005, Q magazine placed "Sweet Jane" at number 18 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks.

Guitar World ranked "Sweet Jane" at number 81 on its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Solos.[7]