Why Don't You Smile

Album: Single Release Only (1965)
  • songfacts ®
  • In late 1964 singer/guitarist Lou Reed, who had performed with a few short-lived garage bands and had worked as a songwriter for Pickwick Records, met John Cale, a Welshman who had moved to the United States to study classical music. Cale was pleased to discover Reed's experimentalist tendencies were similar to his own and the pair rehearsed and performed together. Their partnership steered the early direction of what would become the highly influential rock band, Velvet Underground.
    This moody, mod-flavored rocker was the first song they wrote together. Cale told Uncut magazine April 2010: "It's all 'Louie Louie' changes, and the first song that Lou and I wrote, one drunken evening. It was the b-side of a single by friends of Lou's. It was my first rock 'n' roll session and the guys were all popping pills. It was my introduction to collaborative song writing. It had a simple beauty that gave absolutely no indication of the problems we would have later."
  • The song was recorded on the B-side of All Night Workers northern soul single "Don't Put All Your Eggs In One Basket," which was a regional hit in a few areas. The All Night Workers featured Otis Smith with Lloyd Baskin and Mike Esposito, who were Syracuse-area buddies of Lou Reed. Baskin went later on to Seatrain, and Esposito went to the Blue Magoos. It is not known if Cale or Reed played on the single.
Please sign in or register to post comments.


Be the first to comment...

Jon Oliva of Trans-Siberian OrchestraSongwriter Interviews

Writing great prog metal isn't easy, especially when it's for 60 musicians.

Yacht Rock!Song Writing

A scholarly analysis of yacht rock favorites ("Steal Away," "Baker Street"...) with a member of the leading YR cover band.

Corey HartSongwriter Interviews

The Canadian superstar talks about his sudden rise to fame, and tells the stories behind his hits "Sunglasses At Night," "Boy In The Box" and "Never Surrender."

When Rock Belonged To MichelobSong Writing

Michelob commercials generated hits for Eric Clapton, Genesis and Steve Winwood in the '80s, even as some of these rockers were fighting alcoholism.

Colin HaySongwriter Interviews

Established as a redoubtable singer-songwriter, the Men At Work frontman explains how religion, sobriety and Jack Nicholson play into his songwriting.

"Stairway To Heaven" Lawsuit: A TimelineSong Writing

Untangling the events that led to the "Stairway To Heaven" lawsuit.