US - RCA 74-0887 (Feb 1973)
At the age of four, I was given my cousin's old record player. It was a small, black Fidelity portable, with a little built in speaker and a carry handle. Along with it came a few random records, passed on to me by relatives, presumably because they were worn out and couldn't be further spoilt by a four year old messing around with them.
One of them, bizarrely, was this. I had no idea what the words were about. Neither did anyone else in the UK at the time, I presume, as it was released uncut and nobody on the radio batted an eyelid. In the USA, it was trimmed down somewhat...
Along with the rest of that handful of singles, I played both sides of the record to death. To me, it didn't matter which side was the a-side. It still doesn't. It's just a perfect 7-inch single, and one of the coolest records ever released.
Oh, and when I did realise what all those lyrics were about... I couldn't believe I'd gotten away with playing it in front of my family for all those years.
I got a mint condition copy later on, but I have never had the heart to throw my original, scratched up copy in the bin. Too much sentimental value.
The music Lou Reed created throughout his life, both solo and with the Velvet Underground, would play an important part in my musical life. It still does. He could frustrate the hell out of me sometimes, but he was always, always interesting to follow and listen to. This single was where it all started for me.
Thank you, Lou, and R.I.P.