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Walking On The Wild Side

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Taped from a live radio show performance in New York on December 26 1972, Walking On The Wild Side opens with the Velvet Underground’s “White Light White Heat” in a version sounding slightly more glammy than the original. These recordings predated Reed’s second solo outing, and it’s very interesting to hear how certain songs from the seminal Transformer album got hashed-out live before its release. “Vicious” sounds more loose and groovy here than the studio version, and the guitar solo plays with more improvised attack and bite. Listening to an early live rendition of “Walk On The Wild Side” makes you realize how much the bass guitar is the foundation of this seedy hit. An early rendering of 1973’s “Berlin” also surfaces with the same narrative but a much more sinister tone in the performance. Other highlights include an interview where Reed talks about working with David Bowie, his hatred for Doug Yule, and how the Velvet Underground would “never” reform.


Born: March 2, 1942 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The career of Lou Reed defied capsule summarization. Like David Bowie (whom Reed directly inspired in many ways), he made over his image many times, mutating from theatrical glam rocker to strung-out junkie to avant-garde noiseman to straight rock & roller to your average guy. Few would deny Reed's immense importance and considerable achievements. As has often been written, he expanded the vocabulary of rock & roll lyrics into the previously forbidden territory of kinky sex, drug use (and abuse),...
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