Archive for velvet underground


Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on 17 June 2009 by eT

Myriad: noun 1 (also myriads) an indefinitely great number. 2 (in classical times) a unit of ten thousand; adjective innumerable — ORIGIN Greek murias, from murioi ‘10,000’.

The myriad choices of his fate
Set themselves out upon a plate
For him to choose
What had he to lose

(The Velvet Underground, ‘The Black Angel’s Death Song’)

In Homer’s Iliad, doom is presaged with the portentous words, ‘Achilles’ cursed anger sing, O goddess, that son of Peleus, which started a myriad sufferings for the Achaeans’.  While I’m not sure if Lou Reed sings like either Achilles or a goddess, he (along with co-writer John Cale) certainly knows a good lyric when he sees one.  This gloomy piece, from the famous debut album, 1967’s The Velvet Underground & Nico (yes, the one with the banana on the cover), is atmospheric and eerie.  Reed’s Hannibal Lecter-ist inhalations all add to the effect, but of course our main concern is the use of ancient Greek vocabulary to kick off a 1960s heroin-chic mind-bender.