It must have been the beginning of the School term in the autumn of 1966, I sat down on the upper deck of the School Bus and one of the kinder six formers thrust a single into my hand. He had taken pity on me a couple years earlier when my obsession with Manfred Mann had led me in several directions (they were probably the best of the early pop bands for that…namechecking Mingus as well as John Lee and Jimmie Rodgers and the Temptations, T-Bone and so forth) and often slipped me really good stuff from the States to have a listen to (where he got the stuff goodness only knows!). That single was All Tomorrow’s Parties and I admit my first listen on the old Dansette made me wonder what the hell it was I was listening to. I literally had never heard anything like it.
So began a lifetime’s passion for the work of Lou Reed. The very fact that I’m up for a post exclusively about a musician says a lot (I try to resist going off piste to often in this blog). I guess today’s mainstream media outpourings will mean Perfect Day will get a lot of airings…fair enough. I have to be honest and admit that Lou had gone a little off the radar by the time of Transformer…but I was very lucky again to get an advance copy of the album in my capacity as Social Secretary at the Art School (a smart move by the distributors…) and it once again blew my socks off. Not that we weren’t playing the Velvets at the time…in fact our ‘band’ at college owed pretty much everything to the second Velvets album!
And even though those recordings were critical to my musical education for me the pinnacle came later – New York really really does it for me…it brings out that wistful, laconic, streetwise quality of ‘the Man’ in a way I just love.
“stick a fork in their ass, turn em over they’re done”