Saturday, 6 September 2014

Lou Reed - 'Walk On The Wild Side'


Repeat Prescriptions....The Top 100 Classic Albums Of All Time that you keep coming back to!




Like doing a university course as a mature student, I am returning to my musical education and filling in the gaps. I intend to revisit The 100 Best Albums Of All Time (see them all here) as recommended by Q Magazine back when the poll was last done in 2006. Some I will know and love, some I will have skimmed and some I will not even have given time of day. This will all change when I listen to every album in full as it was intended, from 100 to 1, and choose my favourite song from each.



Album Number 97: Lou Reed - Transformer - Walk On The Wild Side (1972)

I have to say, I was totally indifferent about listening to Lou Reed. I heard he as part of The Velvet Underground was heavily influential so I thought this would be a good addition to my music education foundation. Its the first album from this project that I don't fully 'get', though. Musically I like it a lot, there are a good few tracks here that are perfect for any late 60s or early 70s film's opening credits or soundtracks but I think its the nonsense lyrics/poetry that is wasted on me. A couple of times I was thinking to myself, What the hell is he banging on about?! Saying that, I really have to take it into context: we are talking about the early 70s here (drugs, drugs and more drugs?), David Bowie produced it and there are some great moments such as Vicious, Satellite Of Love, Wagon Wheel and Perfect Day. When the lyrics aren't too nursery rhyme sounding and 'out there', its pretty damn good really.

I never thought I would choose such a commercially known song to be my favourite from the album but it was a toss up between Perfect Day and WOTWS. I used to hear it on the radio all the time and think nothing of it except that the iconic riff was sampled for A Tribe Called Quest's Can I Kick It. Listening to it in context with the rest of the bizarrely worded album, I began to really appreciate it. The style, sound along with the atmosphere it evokes, is the epitome of the late 60s, early 70s for me. After digging a little deeper into what the song was about and Lou himself, I realised it was about the gang of misfits that used to hang out with Andy Warhol at his New York city studio. Each one has their nickname and story and I'm pretty surprised it wasn't banned from the airwaves. Drugs, transvestites, oral sex and male prostitutes makes for a colourful view into the era. They just don't make them like that anymore.

Shell Hunter may need another listen


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Lou Reed - 'Walk On The Wild Side'
4/ 5
Oleh

4 comments

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6 September 2014 at 19:57

Hard to believe that this was as low as 97. Along with 'The Slider' and 'Raw Power', this was a musical coming of age album for me, shared among all my pals at school. Every time I hear that soaring 'Satellite of Love' chorus, or the timeless character studies of 'Walk on the Wild Side', I'm right back there in my old bedroom, ear pressed to the mono speaker. Bedazzled, yet trying to make sense of subject matters that were just beyond the reach of my 12 year old understanding.
By the way, you're quite right to note Bowie's input, but Mick Ronson's massive contribution to the album shouldn't be overlooked either.

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6 September 2014 at 21:24

I was living on Richmond Hill 1973 with Old Ma before we married and was heavily in to Bowie at the time...of course I loved the Velvets and Lou's sols album...this had all the incredients and it delivered (great production) and I agree with TS, Mick Ronson is the star of the show...there was only really one choice....but a few close conrenders.

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6 September 2014 at 22:30

Way too low on the list.

I might be in the minority but, among a lot of stiff competition, Satillite of Love is the track here. Gorgeous and creepy...Bowie inexplicably urned this odd velvet underground song into a classic....stone cold.

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6 September 2014 at 22:46

I knew I lacked the proper appreciation this album probably deserves and I kick myself for not mentioning the obviously talented Mick Ronson. As I said, there are some real highlights here, Satelite Of Love was definitely one especially the ending. Must have knocked you all out to hear it at the time!

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