I guess I don’t have to tell you what man Lou is waiting for and why. I can only comment that $26 went a much longer way ’67. You couldn’t buy very much heroin for $26 today, and also I’m afraid that all the shady characters have been swept away from Lexington Avenue long ago. Nevertheless, the general intent hasn’t changed much over the years. I’m sure what Lou Reed put to paper in 1967 remains a universal experience, amirite? I mean, who hasn’t trekked to the bad side of town to buy drugs before? Whaddya mean not all of you have bought heroin!? In any case, if the jangle and feedback of the Velvets isn’t alienating and culty enough for ya, check out the cover Nico cut. She, more than anyone else, understood the true meaning of the song – most likely a lot better than Lou Reed himself ever did. Nico was neck deep in heroin by the time she recorded her 1981 album Drama of Exile, and her attitude was very much in keeping with the material:
[Aura label head Aaron] Sixx admitted that Nico “didn’t give a shit what happened to the LP, she just wanted the money for drugs.” Yet despite these unconventional circumstances, Drama of Exile would see Nico receive some of the best reviews of her career.
— Dave Thompson, Better to Burn Out: The Cult of Death in Rock ‘N’ Roll
Waiting for the Man was certainly a brilliant choice for her. She didn’t have very much contribution in the recording of The Velvet Underground & Nico, having been roped in by Andy Warhol for glamour purposes, but she lived that album for the rest of her life. Lou Reed never did as many degenarate things as his songs lead us to imagine and in no time at all he was living the high life with David Bowie. Speaking of whom, there he is with Lou, still having a real good time together. It’s great to see those two jamming together on a particularly rockin’ mid-90s David Bowie song – oh wait, that’s a cover of Waiting for the Man that mysteriously just sounds exactly like a mid-90′s David Bowie song.