[MUSIC PLAYING] - (SINGING) [INAUDIBLE] to put on. Because I say so, and I don't mind if you don't.
JUDITH PERAINO: One of the listings of the tape contents from the hundreds of tapes that I could have in my access was this tape that said philosophy songs. And then the flip side had a bunch of sort of gibberish on the back-- on the label of it. So I popped it into the tape player.
And I heard-- on one side, I heard these live performances of Lou Reed that were clearly edited together. And the other side had these songs that, at that time, I didn't immediately recognize it as Lou Reed's voice. It was a singer and clearly recording himself in his own apartment in New York. You could hear traffic noise between songs and then a guitar accompaniment. So very sort of intimate, close mic'd sound.
The import of the discovery didn't hit me until Greg said-- Greg Pearce is a curator of the video archive-- I think you've just discovered a lost Lou Reed album. And you know, I hadn't been thinking in those terms. Like, I just thought, what's on this tape? So that's the discovery moment. And then I did the research to verify that it was, in fact, Lou Reed.
I think most people would think that the greatest discovery was the newly composed songs. And that was definitely exciting. But just for me, the other side of the tape, the one that had the collection of curated songs from his performances was equally interesting to me, because for the emergence of the mixed tape culture-- that is, the ways in which a few years later, let's say, starting in '79, '80, with the rise of the circulation of cassette tapes or Walkmans and boom boxes-- a new way of using tape as a specially personalized, curated sort of letter that you might give to someone you're trying to court or someone you might be breaking up with.
These curated mixed tapes became a really interesting way of communicating quite deep sort of emotional issues and feelings among people. So that fascinated me because it was an example of Lou Reed curating himself, putting together a kind of ideal set list for Andy Warhol. I see the message of this tape as being both courtship and breakup, in a sense. That one side is saying, look at me and what I've been able to do this year, and now look at you.
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In 1975 Hall of Fame artist Lou Reed made a mixtape of sorts for Andy Warhol. The cassette, which Reed gave to Warhol as a gift, contains 12 previously unreleased songs by Reed in addition to curated set of concert recordings. Cornell music professor Judith Peraino discovered the tape while researching a book at the Andy Warhol Museum.