Velvet Underground / Lou Reed – Twice -Signed “Transformer”-Era Management Contract, Including Rights to Velvet Underground Songs, With Vintage Photo

A twice-signed Lou Reed management contract, entered into just before Reed entered the studio to record his breakthrough solo album Transformer.  This onerous agreement assigned a percentage of Reed’s publishing catalog, including virtually every important Velvet Underground song, to new manager Fred Heller.

Dated July 1, 1972, this five-page agreement between Reed and manager Fred Heller veers from the standard management terms in granting Heller not just 20% of Reed’s “gross earnings from all sources,” but also stipulating that Reed transfer to his new manager “a twenty percent (20%) interest in any and all publishing companies which you…own or control.”

This means Reed, in addition to paying Heller 20% of his future recording, touring and publishing income, gives him a 20% ownership stake in his existing and future publishing companies.  As a result, Heller would own 20% of every song Reed had written or co-written on The Velvet Underground and Nico, White Light/White Heat, The Velvet Underground (their third album), Loaded and his first solo album, Lou Reed.

This grant of ownership of existing songs is highly unusual for a management contract, and it’s remarkable that Reed agreed to it.  Adding insult to injury is the timing; the agreement was signed just before Reed entered the studio to record the biggest album of his career, the David Bowie-Mick Ronson produced Transformer, which included “Walk on the Wild Side,” “Vicious,” “Perfect Day,” and “Satellite of Love.”

We acquired this contract from Reed’s former producer (and Blues Project/Blood, Sweat and Tears guitarist) Steve Katz. Katz notes in his accompanying letter of authenticity that “This agreement was eventually litigated through arbitration where I acted as one of the witnesses.  The terms of the agreement were obviously unfair in that Fred Heller would take 20% of Lou Reed’s publishing, including the publishing of Lou’s classic Velvet Underground material.  Lou eventually won the suit.”

Lou Reed has signed the agreement twice on the forth page, for himself and for his publishing company, Oakfield Avenue Music.  Fred Heller signs for Heller Management Company.

In overall excellent condition, with two horizontal mailing folds, file holes to the top of each page, and a few sets of staple holes to the top left corners.

Included is an original 12 ½” square mounted photograph of Lou Reed, circa 1971.

With Steve Katz’s letter of authenticity, and Recordmecca’s written lifetime guarantee of authenticity.

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