MY ESSENTIAL ALBUMS: LOU REED – Transformer

RCA LSP4807: November 1972
“Vicious, you hit me with a flower, you do it every hour, oh baby you’re so vicious”

‘Transformer’ is Lou Reed’s love-letter to New York and the Andy Warhol art scene. It’s an album that took me a while to get into because the famous songs like ‘Perfect Day’, ‘Walk On The Wild Side’ and ‘Satellite Of Love’ where so familiar that the temptation to skip right to them was pretty strong. The deathbed lament of ‘Perfect Day’ is a contender for the most beautiful song ever written and ‘Walk On The Wild Side’ has the official greatest Bass line in musical history. But after many listens, you discover that all these songs have over the other album tracks is their familiarity. There is the wonderful poetry of ‘Andy’s Chest’, the dreamy camp masterpiece ‘Make Up’, the mischievous prayer in ‘Wagon Wheel’ and the liberating Glam-Rocker ‘I’m So Free’.

A lot of credit must go to David Bowie and Mick Ronson’s production. They managed to tame Lou’s wild genius without dulling any of his spirit. The suicides, the drugs and the death are all still here, but the production is so sumptuous and Lou’s voice is so velvety that the songs never sound anything less than seductively romantic. ‘Transformer’ is a master-class in how to create a perfect mainstream Pop album while retaining all of your underground credibility.

Lou Reed – Wagon Wheel mp3

Click here to buy ‘Transformer’ from HMV for only £6.99.

As far as I know there aren’t any official videos for the ”Transformer’ album but I’ve found a few live clips on YouTube. Lou Reed is known to reinterpret/ruin his classic songs but here are a few performances that do them justice:

Vicious (Live In Paris, 1974)
Walk On The Wild Side (Live In NYC, 1983)
Who Am I? / Perfect Day (Live On Later With Antony Hegarty, 2003)

Lou Reed Website / Lou Reed MySpace Page

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