"Sweet Jane" is a song by The Velvet Underground, originally appearing on their 1970 album Loaded. The song was written by band's leader Lou Reed, who continued to incorporate the piece into live performances years later as a solo artist.
The song also appears on the albums Live at Max's Kansas City; 1969: The Velvet Underground Live; Peel Slowly and See; Live MCMXCIII; Loaded: Fully Loaded Edition; American Poet;Rock 'n' Roll Animal; Live: Take No Prisoners; Live in Italy; The Concert for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; Rock and Roll: an Introduction to The Velvet Underground; NYC Man (The Ultimate Collection 1967–2003); Live on Letterman: Music from The Late Show; and Berlin: Live At St. Ann's Warehouse.
There are two distinct versions of "Sweet Jane" with minor variations, spread over its first four releases. The first release of the song, in November 1970, was a version recorded earlier that year and included on Loaded. In May 1972, a live version (recorded August 1970) appeared on The Velvet Underground's Live at Max's Kansas City; the live song had an additional bridge that was missing from the Loaded release. In February 1974 a live version recorded in December 1973 (similar to the Loaded version but with extended intro and hard rock sound), appeared on Reed's Rock 'n' Roll Animal. In September 1974 a down-tempo live version recorded in late 1969 was included on 1969: The Velvet Underground Live, with a different song structure and lyrics. When a restored version of the original Loaded release was eventually unveiled on Peel Slowly and See in 1995 (and in 1997 on Loaded: Fully Loaded Edition), it turned out that some of the 1969 lyrics (notably the entire bridge as heard on Live at Max's Kansas City) had originally been included in the Loaded version as well, but were scrapped in the final mix.
Lou Reed has performed "Sweet Jane" in two keys: the 1969 and 1970 versions were in D, as was 1972's American Poet version. On 1973's Rock 'n' Roll Animal, and 1978's Take No Prisoners, the song is in E, while on 1984's Live in Italy the song is back in D.
- 1972: Mott the Hoople on the David Bowie-produced album All the Young Dudes. It was also released as a single in Canada, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the United States.
- 1972: Performed during a Save the Whales benefit concert on July 8, Royal Festival Hall London, England as a duet with Lou Reed and David Bowie.
- 1973: Brownsville Station on their album Yeah!
- 1985: The Afflicted (Good News About Mental Health)
- 1987: Annabel Lamb on the album Brides.
- 1988: Cowboy Junkies on The Trinity Session album. Later released as a CD single, and used on the Trent Reznor-compiled Natural Born Killers soundtrack. It was recorded again on Trinity Revisited in 2006. The Cowboy Junkies' version is based on the slower early version included in 1969: The Velvet Underground Live. Lou Reed himself described it as "the best and most authentic version I have ever heard".
- 1989: Two Nice Girls recorded a cover of the song combined with Joan Armatrading's song "Love and Affection"".
- 1994: Lone Justice recorded an energetic and extended version of the song on the Radio 1 Live in Concert album.
- 1996: Colombian band 1280 Almas covered in spanish as "Dulce Juana" on their third record La 22.
- 1997: The Sugarcubes on the album Cover Me.
- 1998: Phish on their album Live Phish Volume 16.
- 2001: Chitose Hajime on the self-titled mini-album.
- 2005: Gang of Four's re-release of their debut album Entertainment! features a live cover version.
- 2006: Michael Stanley on the album The Farrago Sessions uses the song "Wichi Tai To" by Jim Pepper as the chorus.
Covered by the Jim Carroll Band.
Covered by the Red Hot Chili Peppers live.