Laurie Anderson’s Playlist Reveals The Real Lou Reed – Listen Here

Lou Reed always prided himself on not giving too much away, his interviews battles of attrition as writers hacked away at his guard and Lou repelled them with flaming oil rebukes. The result was a classic rock star enigma: following his death last year he left us with the impression of a brittle and impenetrable genius, but his music spoke of softer, subtler depths. So, to shine a light on the private Lou as we approach the third anniversary of his death on October 27, his widow Laurie Anderson has put together a Deezer playlist of the Lou Reed originals she feels best represent him. In her own words, here’s why.

Pale Blue Eyes (Closet Mix)
The lovelorn lullaby from The Velvet Underground’s self-titled 1969 album
Laurie: “A perfect song. A haiku. The person he sings to is more complex than the singer. What a switch! It’s usually the other way round in songs.”

Halloween Parade
A cool, character-filled country twangler from 1989’s legendary ‘New York’
Laurie: “An anthem for the all beautiful drag queens. And they had the greatest names – the Born Again Losers and the Lavender Boozers. A song about disguises sung to someone who has died. The only person in the song without a name.”

Junior Dad
An affecting 20-minute epic from Lou and Metallica’s much-maligned 2011 collaboration ‘Lulu’
Laurie: “The version with Metallica is symphonic. Who other than Lou could write a song of such purity? And who other than Lou has the nerve to describe these emotions without watering them down? Rage, anger, despair and vulnerability. And great great great guitar drones!”

Sword of Damocles (Externally)
A rousing, Western-style lament on the effects of radiotherapy from Lou’s tragedy-infused 1992 album ‘Magic And Loss’
Laurie: “A hair-raising song written for his friend Doc Pomus. I always think of what Lou said and wrote about his aspirations to face his own death as a warrior. He loved quoting Katherine Hepburn: ‘getting old isn’t for sissies’.”

Perfect Day
‘Transformer’’s ubiquitous ballad, and the only song in the world that couldn’t be ruined by M People’s Heather Small
Laurie: “This song is Lou as a journalist looking at the world not the way he thinks it should be or could be but the way it really is. Like Jonathan Safran Foer said, ‘Even picnics are rarely picnics’.”

Sweet Jane (Full Length 2015 Remaster)
The Velvet Underground do their best Dylan impressions on this stand-out from 1970’s ‘Loaded’
Laurie: “Like many of his songs, ‘Sweet Jane’ stars an enigmatic woman and all around her are swirling the most beautiful words about identity and love. “Anyone who has a heart wouldn’t want to turn around and break it/And anyone who ever played the part, he wouldn’t want to turn around and fake it.” Meanwhile Jane doesn’t say anything but is the sweet, still centre.”

Sunday Morning
The classic snooze button ballad from ‘The Velvet Underground & Nico’
Laurie: “This song always reminds me of the way Lou’s tai chi teacher Ren Guang Yi begins every session, assume the standing mountain pose and ‘Listen behind you’.
”Watch out the world’s behind you/There’s always someone around you Who will call It’s nothing at all”.

Doing the Things That We Want To (Live)
Lou’s living life to the fullest and championing artistic integrity on this country-ish cut from 1984’s ‘New Sensations’
Laurie: “Lou and I went out every night to see things in New York – plays, concerts, opera. He would always be able to distill the most important part of what we saw, like this analysis of what went wrong in this play by Sam Shepard. My favouite line: ‘I wrote this song ‘cause I’d like to shake your hand’.”

Ecstasy
Chamber strings meet some dark voodoo on this esoteric noir funk from 2000’s ‘Ecstasy’
Laurie: “A person, a car, a moon, a stud, so many beautiful small paintings. And the song is addressed to all of them. And each of these pictures leaves its mark. ‘I’ll have a new scar right over my heart – I’ll call it ecstasy’.”

Walk On The Wild Side
Lou’s best-known hit, cataloguing New York’s most fabulous freaks, pushers, and gender-fluid femme fatales
Laurie: “A song that’s stocked with the greatest Shakespearean characters – all with something to say plus lots of flair. ‘Jackie is just speeding away/Thought she was James Dean for a day’. Plus of course the greatest bass line ever to push a pop song.”

Candy Says
The Velvet Underground’s tribute to Warhol superstar Candy Darling was reborn as a regular duet with Antony Hegarty
Laurie: “Lou really loved the way Antony sang this song. I remember many times watching from the side of the stage as Lou played guitar and Antony sang this song. Both of them in a state of rapture sweetness and love.”

Sad Song
Pomp and majesty abound on ‘Berlin’’s moving portrait of dissolving love
Laurie: “Is there any more wrenching picture of a love affair gone wrong? Love and violence and sadness all at once. The combination is almost unbearable. And there is nothing more heartbreaking than the sound of children crying.”

All Tomorrow’s Parties
The VU’s Wicker Man vibes and Nico’s arcane incantations make for one of pop’s spookiest moments
Laurie: “Almost a strange Scarborough Fair folk song but updated for downtown New York. Its odd quaintness jars in such a cool way with its chilled out vibe. What a masterpiece!”

Cremation (Ashes To Ashes)
More masterful musings on death from ‘Magic And Loss’
Laurie: “I think of this song so often. It’s so full of dread and sweetness. ‘Will the Atlantic Coast have its final boast? 
Nothing else contained you ever’.”