Femme Fatale (The Velvet Underground song)

"Femme Fatale" is a song by American rock band the Velvet Underground from their 1967 debut album The Velvet Underground & Nico, with lead vocals by Nico.[1]

"Femme Fatale"
Sunday Morning (The Velvet Underground record).jpg
Single b/w "Sunday Morning"
Single by the Velvet Underground and Nico
from the album The Velvet Underground & Nico
A-side"Sunday Morning"
  • December 1966 (1966-12) (single)
  • March 1967 (album)
RecordedApril 1966
StudioScepter,[1] New York City
Songwriter(s)Lou Reed
Producer(s)Andy Warhol
The Velvet Underground and Nico singles chronology
"All Tomorrow's Parties" / "I'll Be Your Mirror"
"Femme Fatale" / "Sunday Morning"
"White Light/White Heat" / "Here She Comes Now"


The song was composed in the key of C major.[3] At the request of Andy Warhol, band frontman Lou Reed wrote the song about Warhol superstar Edie Sedgwick. According to Reed, Warhol said when asked what he should write about her: "Oh, don't you think she's a femme fatale, Lou?", with consequence, Reed wrote "Femme Fatale".[4][5]

The song was recorded with vocals by Nico.[1] Guitarist Sterling Morrison said of the song:

"Femme Fatale"—she [Nico] always hated that.[nasal voice] Nico, whose native language is minority French, would say "The name of this song is 'Fahm Fatahl'." Lou and I would sing it our way. Nico hated that. I said, "Nico, hey, it's my title, I'll pronounce it my way".[6]

"Femme Fatale" was recorded at the Scepter Studios in New York in April 1966 while the studio was still under construction.[1][7] It was released as a B-Side to "Sunday Morning" in December 1966.[8] The following year it was included in their debut album The Velvet Underground & Nico. A 1969 live recording of the song was included in Bootleg Series Volume 1: The Quine Tapes released in 2001.[1]

Critical receptionEdit

AllMusic critic Mark Deming thought that "Femme Fatale" was among the four best songs on the album.[9] American music journalist Stephen Davis called "Femme Fatale" a beautiful song that portrays the vivid, conflicted and emotional undercurrents of 1966.[10]  



  1. ^ a b c d e Davis Inman (October 31, 2011). "The Velvet Underground And Nico, "Femme Fatale"". American Songwriter.
  2. ^ A. Zak (December 22, 2000). The Velvet Underground Companion: Four Decades of Commentary. Music Sales Group. p. 78. ISBN 0825672422.
  3. ^ "Femme Fatale". Musicnotes.
  4. ^ Michael Heatley, Frank Hopkinson (24 November 2014). The Girl in the Song: The Real Stories Behind 50 Rock Classics. ISBN 9781909396883.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  5. ^ Bockris, Victor (1994). Transformer: The Lou Reed Story. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 107. ISBN 0-684-80366-6. Andy said I should write a song about Edie Sedgwick. I said 'Like what?' and he said 'Oh, don't you think she's a femme fatale, Lou?' So I wrote 'Femme Fatale' and we gave it to Nico. (Lou Reed)
  6. ^ Joe Harvard (31 March 2004). The Velvet Underground's The Velvet Underground and Nico. pp. 98–100. ISBN 9780826415509.
  7. ^ The Mojo Collection: The Ultimate Music Companion. Canongate Books. 2007. p. 80. ISBN 978-1841959733.
  8. ^ Maximum Rock 'n' Roll. 1994.
  9. ^ Mark Deming. "The Velvet Underground: The Velvet Underground & Nico".
  10. ^ Stephen Davis (2005). Jim Morrison: LIfe, Death, Legend. Penguin Publishing Group. ISBN 9781101218273.