Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Worth Another Listen - Lou Reed

At one point in time, I wanted no more than to have Lou Reed be my next husband. For a long time I thought that. He was so beautiful, so tortured, those eyes, those lips...

Lou Reed is probably best remembered as the singer/songwriter for Take A Walk On The Wildside, a highly evocative and poetic song that continues to play on the airwaves somewhere. It was released in 1972, and reached #16 on the Billboard charts, but has a longevity that is tough to beat. I remember it playiing for years on Rock radio in Philly. It appeared on the noted album Transformer, which also included the great songs Vicious, Perfect Day and Satellite of Love.

Lou was also a part of the great band The Velvet Underground, thought to be the inspiration to many artists who followed them. There was a combination of rock, hard rock, cinema verite, New York chic, and theatricality, the early roots of the punk and glam rock movements. The Underground formed in the mid 60s, and released their first record in 1966. The band included Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison and Maureen Tucker. Andy Warhol loved them, and started to manage them. Although they found little commercial success, the artistry of Reed and Cale are still seen in those recording, and the Underground were inducted in to the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. Lou left the band in 1970.

He never stopped putting out great music, but the 1989 release of the album New York was just one of those moments that stand in my mind. I bought it [on vinyl, people!] and played it on a turntable, and was entranced. It comes close to perfection. I loved every song, but in particular Romeo Had Juliette, Halloween Parade and Sick Of You stand out.

Reed was born on March 2, 1942. It is said in his teens he exhibited some signs of homosexuality, and was sent away for electro-shock therapy to 'cure' him. Following that, he went on to college and eventually moved to NYC to pursue a career in music. Frankly, I can't conceive of having electricity coursing thru my brain with the hopes of killing brain cells and still wanting to go forward. Between the feelings of never being good enough, and the physical damage it must have done, it is nothing short of miraculous what Reed accomplished. To find out more about Lou Reed, go to his website here.


  1. Gotta love Lou! He's managed to stay relevant for so long. It pays to be a lefty!

  2. Loouuuuu! Love him. One of my faves on "New York" is "Dirty Boulevard." It's so evocative of this poor little kid's life, and the refrain "Fly fly fly away" always brings a tear to my eye.

  3. Cocaine and Sweet Jane are two great tracks (by Velvet). I always thought of Lou Reed as very introvert and I thought this was expressed in his music. The debut album by the band also has the artistic cover by Andy Warhol - I have the art work in the guess bath and also have the tee short as well.
    PS: The Cowboy Junkies did a great cover of Sweet Jane (it was on Natural Born Killers).

  4. Stan, like I said, I sooooo wanted to marry Lou.

    Beth, New York is so damn close to perfect, I almost want to list every song.

    SteveA, Sweet Jane is my favorite Underground song. And I always thought of Lou as my pretend husband. LOL



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