The Black Angel's Death Song
By: John Cale, Lou Reed

Original Performance: The Velvet Underground
Written by: John Cale, Lou Reed

  1. The Black Angel's Death Song (3:43)
    Available on Velvet Underground & Nico.
    Bram Inscore: Bass
    Beck Hansen: Guitar (Acoustic), Vocals
    Chris Holmes: Guitar (Acoustic)
The Black Angel's Death Song [Version (a)]:

The myriad choices of his fate
Set themselves out upon a plate
For him to choose
What had he to lose
Not a ghost bloodied country
All covered with sleep
Where the black angel did weep
Not an old city street in the east
Gone to choose
And wandering brothers
Walked on through the night
With his hair in his face
On a long splintered cut
From the knife of G.T.
The rally man's patter ran on through the dawn
Until we said so long
To his skull-shrill yell
Shining brightly red-rimmed and
Red-lined with the time
Infused with the choice of the mind
On ice skates scraping chunks
From the bells
Cut mouth bleeding razors
Forgetting the pain
Antiseptic remains cool goodbye
So you fly to the cozy brown snow of the east
Gone to choose, choose again
Sacraficials remain
Make it hard to forget
Where you come from
The stools of your eyes
Serve to realize fame
Choose again
And roverman's refrain of the sacrilege recluse
For the loss of a horse
Went the bowels and the tail of a rat
Oh come again, come to go
And if epiphany's terror reduced you to shame
Have your head bobbed and weaved
Choose a side to be on
If the stone glances off
Splits didactics in two
Leave the colors of the mouse trail
Don't scream, try between
If you choose, if you choose, try to lose
For the loss of remain
Come and start, start the game
I che che che che I
Che che che ka ta ko
Choose to choose
Choose to choose
Choose to go
The Song:

In March or April 2009, Beck got together with his band (Brian, Joey and Bram), Nigel Godrich, Chris Holmes, and Icelandic singer, Thorunn Magnusdottir. Together, they recorded the legendary album, Velvet Underground + Nico in its entirety. This is one of the songs from it.

Beck was asked by Pitchfork about this song, because they didn't imagine it was something people would just meet up and play. Beck recalled that they did this song near the end of the night, and that "I think for that one, I just grabbed an acoustic guitar and did it. I did a really simple kind of folk version of it." It appears in the video that Chris Holmes added a little acoustic guitar, and Bram Inscore dropped a bassline in too.

Velvet Underground:

Record Club: