Lady Godiva's Operation

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"Lady Godiva's Operation"
Song by The Velvet Underground from the album White Light/White Heat
Released January 30, 1968
Recorded September 1967, Scepter Studios,[1] Manhattan
Genre Art rock, avant-garde
Length 4:56
Label Verve Records
Writer Lou Reed
Composer Lou Reed
Producer Tom Wilson
White Light/White Heat track listing
  1. "White Light/White Heat"
  2. "The Gift"
  3. "Lady Godiva's Operation"
  4. "Here She Comes Now"
  5. "I Heard Her Call My Name"
  6. "Sister Ray"

"Lady Godiva's Operation" is a song by American avant-garde rock band The Velvet Underground, appearing on their second album, White Light/White Heat (1968). The lyrics of the first half of the song (sung by John Cale) describe Lady Godiva. The lyrics of the second half (sung by Cale alternating with Lou Reed) are full of oblique, deadpan black humor and describe a botched surgical procedure. Cale plays electric viola while second guitarist Sterling Morrison plays bass, an instrument that he disliked, despite his competent abilities.[2][3]

The person's name is taken from the British legend of Lady Godiva, a noble English lady who rode naked through the streets of Coventry.

The song was covered by The Fatima Mansions as a single.[4]



  1. Discogs - Scepter Records (Manhattan) profile and discography
  2. Hoffman, Eric. "Examinations: An Examination of John Cale". Mental Contagion. Retrieved 24 October 2014. When I had to play viola, Sterling had to play bass, which he hated.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> According to the website, the quote is from John Cale’s autobiography, What’s Welsh for Zen (NY: St. Martin’s Press (2000).
  3. Tom Pinnock (18 September 2012). "John Cale on The Velvet Underground & Nico". Uncut. Retrieved 7 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Green, Jim. "Fatima Mansions". Trouser Press. Retrieved 2016-02-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>