Lou Reed revolutionized rock ‘n’ roll with The Velvet Underground in the 1960s by fusing street-level urgency, European avant-garde and lyrical honesty to create music that read like poetry. His subsequent solo career was restlessly inventive and creatively unpredictable, defying expectations as though it were a sport. With recordings ranging from the wildly experimental to the perfectly straightforward – Reed was a storyteller above all.
His 1972 album, Transformer, produced by David Bowie, graduated the New Yorker from cult status to genuine rock stardom. The record oozes unaffected authenticity which really shines through on Reed’s ode to the underbelly of New York City’s nightlife – breakthrough single “Walk On The Wild Side”. The loving reflection on Andy Warhol’s ‘Factory’ scene, set to a shimmering doo-wop tone became a massive radio hit, despite the song’s allusions to censored topics of the era.
The sisters HAIM are back. The Los Angeles pop trio have dropped the music video for “Summer Girl.” The clip is helmed by Paul Thomas Anderson (Phantom Thread, There Will Be Blood), who also shot HAIM‘s videos for “Right Now,” “Night So Long,” and “Little of Your Love.” Danielle Haim dedicated the song to Lou Reed, likely a nod to the song’s similarity to Reed’s “Walk On The Wild Side.”
Earlier this year, Karen O and Danger Mouse released a collaborative album, Lux Prima. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs leader and producer recently shared a documentaryabout the making of the album, and they also recently stopped by the SiriusXMU studios for a session, where they covered a Lou Reed classic.
Naturally, O is a Reed fan — she helped induct the late musician into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame back in 2015 — and her and Danger Mouse covered “Perfect Day” for the session. O and Danger Mouse’s take on the track is strait-laced but impactful.
Brian Eno is the man responsible for the famous quote about everybody who bought the first Velvet Underground album forming a band. In 2016 he paid tribute to the VU again with his ambient-touched cover of “I’m Set Free.” It may not cause a spike in band formations, but Eno’s warm vocals drifting down his river of musical atmosphere may well set listeners free to find new illusions of their own, which would no doubt bring pleasure to Eno – and maybe even to Lou Reed as well.