100 Greatest Songs of the 70’s #87 Lou Reed – Walk On The Wild Side

Released : 1972

You’d argue that anyone would take some time escaping the legacy of being in the Velvet Underground, even though the band’s influence was harder to determine in the immediate aftermath of their dissolution. Lou Reed left the industry for a while, working briefly as an average Joe before his first solo album came and went to a general reaction of shrugged shoulders.

Produced by David Bowie and Mick Ronson, it’s follow up Transformer was a salute to the decadence of Andy Warhol’s Factory and the cast of characters who formed the entourage, all with Manhattan’s sleazy, crime and drugs riddled east side neighborhoods as it’s tableau.

Walk On The Wild Side – almost ridiculously a double a-side with Perfect Day – was initially dismissed by none other than John Peel as being depressing. It certainly held up a mirror to a side of New York which some would rather wasn’t seen, but Reed’s unlit vocals candidly framed a song which was unafraid of treating it’s voyeurism without judgement. Amongst the debris here, the affectionately celebrated mess of junk and tricks, everyone was still human after all; rarely either has a saxophone so perfectly interjected, whilst over by the window the street corner harmonies brought with them the promise of another hazy Big Apple morning.


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