Sunday, January 19, 2014

"Sweet Jane" - Lou Reed Live

Lou Reed defined New York City Punk Rock in the early 1970’s and even pulled that weight long into the 1980’s and beyond. I was never a huge fan, but some of his stuff was stellar, like this song. Another highlight of his long career was the album “Coney Island” released in the late 1970’s.

Some folks dismiss him as a minor blip on the radar of Rock and Roll history, but I have to disagree. He was influential in taking the music he heard and turning that into something new and unique. His lyrics were always edgy, as in “Take a Walk on the Wild Side” which explored the gay sex scene just a few years after the Stonewall Riots in New York’s West Village. The man pushed envelopes.

Although not a guitarist along the lines of Eric Clapton or any of the other superstars he was able to gain and hold a fan base for over 40 years with only a few big hits to sustain him. His magic was in connecting with his audience and knowing how to reach them. Just listen to this song; I mean how many ways can you play 2 chords over and over again and keep it interesting? Somehow he does, which presents an equal challenge for the lead guitarist.

There is a much earlier version of this song recorded in Paris in 1974. Mr. Reed was decidedly under the influence of “glam rock” at the time; it shows in his stage dress. Contrast that video with the later, more mature version and see which you prefer. Both are very good, I just preferred to post the one above. I think it’s because of the more simple staging, and perhaps the sound quality. That video is at;

And, if anyone knows when and where the video at the top was recorded, please let me know!

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