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Sunday morning #creativity lessons from The Velvet Underground’s ‘Sunday Morning’

March 25, 2017

Yes, it’s the dawning of a Sunday morning and I’m thinking about and writing about The Velvet Underground’s song “Sunday Morning” – the first cut on their first album released 50 years ago this year (2017).

velvet u sunday morning

Here are my early morning reflections on why this is such a good song and how songwriters can learn from it and borrow from it.

  1. It’s so distinctive –  because of the pretty celesta sound. According to my research here just happened to be a celesta in the studio where they recorded the cut and in their ‘experimental way’ the band decided to add the unusual instrument.
  2. The contrast between the ‘pretty’ celesta and the lyrics of ugly regret of wasted years.
  3. giving the listener space to draw their own conclusion and paint their own picture.


The way I hear and interpret the song it is:

The peaceful dawning of the Sunday morning to the singer/writer/character in the song is both a blessing and a curse – it’s peaceful and beautiful, but it gives the singer/character the space for regret.



1VU sunday morning a42d56ec2cddf9568564c3cd033bb00

So the Sunday morning peace brings a ‘restless feeling’  – and the ‘dawning’ is also a realisation of the wasted years.

Maybe, I read too much into the lyric – but that’s what I love about lyrics that ‘suggest’ and ‘sketch’ the outline and let you ‘colour in’ your interpretation.

When I first heard the song I thought: why is this character getting up early on a Sunday morning? – then it ‘dawned’ on me that they probably hadn’t been to sleep. (Once again, my interpretation anyway).

So, I encourage you to listen to the song and hear how it makes you feel and your interpretation of ‘the story’ the song tells.

If you are a songwriter/musician, consider:

  • adding a distinctive instrument
  • using an instrument that sounds in contrast to the lyric
  • using the technique of ‘sketch and suggest’ – but letting the listener draw their own conclusions.

If you have a different interpretation of the story or know other interesting things about this song, please feel free to add in the comments section below.


Egg compile

(The reason I’m writing so much about The Velvet Underground is that a band I’m in has been ‘learning’ lots of Velvet’s songs to play this year – the 50-th anniversary of that influential debut album.)

When you learn the songs chords and lyrics to perform,  you really appreciate the craft of their creation.  It’s a joy to re-visit and reflect upon these songs…even early on a Sunday morning!


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