29) “Lou Reed: today is not a perfect day”

by Javier Carro

Topics: Frontpage, Leadership

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November 1, 2013. Written by Antonio Malingre

“Today is not a perfect day” –said Woody Allen- around the news of the death of his newyorker friend. The author of Perfect Day unfortunately could not overcome the complications related to liver transplant he underwent last May. A few hours before his pass away, in the Twitter account that had the singer was published under the title of “the door”, a picture of him stuck in a door ahead the tragic outcome.

Of all the works of this iconoclastic artist without downgrading anything about it, highlight two essential records, not only in his career, but in the history of music for its quality and so represented.

The first of these, on the release of his group (“the best band of all time” according to Reed himself). The title bore the name of the group along with a German singer sculptural imposed by Warhol, the true patron of the band: Velvet Underground and Nico. The album is contemporary to Sgt. Pepper ‘s of the Beatles (both began recording in 1966 and published in 1967 and they changed the course of music). The album sales were not good at first. There is talk of just 30,000 copies, very little for an album of this caliber. But the fact is that album opened unimaginable paths years later and prompted the emergence of new musical trends like punk, new wave, indie and alternative rock other trends .The best definition about it was made by Brian Eno when he said that everyone that bought one of these first copies started a group.

The album cover, the famous banana was designed by Warhol, who also paid for the recording of it. Besides the quality of the songs, the connotations of them also assumed an impact never before known. If the Rolling Stones that year were censored on American television and had to change the lyrics of Let’s Spend The Night Together by Let’s Sometime together, they dared with explicit allusions to drugs (Heroin, Waiting For The Man), the sadomasochism (Venus in Furs) and prostitution (There She Goes Again), something unthinkable in 1967. By the way, Nico, Warhol imposing, moreover embroidered the songs he sang.

The other essential album is the second solo Reed and dates from 1972: Transformer. Previously, it had not the expected success in his debut. That is when he asks David Bowie who has the song white light white heat from the Velvet in the setlist of his concerts, to produce the record. The production also featured the participation of Mick Ronson, with his wonderful instrumental arrangements to obtain an even better result than the Honky Dory album from Bowie the year before. Proof of this, songs like Vicious, Satellite Of Love (song written in the time of the Velvet) and Perfect Day.

Special mention should Walk On The Wild Side, a true anthem with a legendary beginning and a memorable ending with a sax Jazz musician Ronnie Ross that taught to Bowie to play the instrument in his childhood. Herbie Flowers, studio musician gained 24 pounds (double the usual) by conjure a double record with a pre-bass and overlaid with the bass standard. The result: “a masterpiece”.

The song is not without a nod to the Factory and some of his characters (Jackie Curtis, Candy Darling, Holly Woodlawn and Joe Dallesandro, which he said was the one that was given to his picture was the cover of Sticky Fingers Rolling Stones). Two albums that have to appear in any selection of the best in history. As its creator. Reed, singer, composer, poet and writer bared his soul in his songs, making clear that the supposed normality does not exist in the human condition. Perhaps for this reason, the Who took leave of him tweeting: “RIP, Lou Reed. Take a walk on the peaceful side”. ∎

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