The Shades

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Long before the Velvet Underground, Lou Reed made his performing and songwriting debut as a member of the Shades, who made one obscure single for the Time label in 1957. (Confusingly, this is listed as…
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Long before the Velvet Underground, Lou Reed made his performing and songwriting debut as a member of the Shades, who made one obscure single for the Time label in 1957. (Confusingly, this is listed as a 45 by "the Jades" in the Velvet Underground Appreciation Society's discography, but other sources name the band as the Shades.) Reed, credited as "Lewis Reed," wrote one of the sides, "Leave Her for Me," an average, unmemorable doo wop-pop ballad. Better was the more uptempo flip, "So Blue," though this too was almost prototypical teen vocal group fodder. Reed did not sing lead on either of the cuts, and if he did backup harmonies or played any of the instruments, it's not known for sure. Reed once recalled that New York DJ Murray the K played it once, which gave Reed 78 cents in royalties. The original 45 is very rare, but has been reissued on bootlegs.