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The Death Of Lou Reed....
The Death of Lou Reed…
I am not writing as much as I used to because work and filial obligations currently take up most of my time - but when I heard about the death of the musician, Lou Reed, I had to make time to pay Mr. Reed props. I am almost certain that Mr. Reed and I were polar opposites on the issues of the day, but that was of no consequence because my ears loved his music and my mind loved the gift he had as a poet. Once again, because I was not born in this country, I heard about Lou Reed’s music late in life and long after he was part of the main stream pop culture - that is if he ever were.
Years ago, I might have been in the Army in Germany… and during Live Aid, a benefit concert to feed Africa’s poor and shepherded by Sir Bob Geldof, the group U2 performed and included in its brilliant performance was a medley that included a pulsating mid-tempo funk/rock number, ‘Walk-On-The-Wild-Side…’ of course then, I thought the song was written by the young up and coming Irish group (U2), but years later, I found out that it was originally done - just as splendid - by Lou Reed.
I heard Lou Reed’s music for the second time in Newark, New Jersey, when I was working as a young attorney and my supervisor introduced me to Mr. Reed’s music – that is when I realized that Mr. Reed was the one who had written Walk-On-The-Wild-Side… those of you who are artists will know what I am speaking about when I said that when I heard that song again, I was immediately moved to write my first play, a Juke-Box-musical, Perdition Rhapsody. Like most artists’ work, one’s first artistic work in any genre - even though it may not have been one’s Magnum Opus - has a very special place in one’s heart like a first born child.
Mr. Reed did not place his proverbial fingers in the air to gauge the direction of the prevailing, popular music wind to see what Pop culture was listening to - he simply wrote and performed what moved him and what moved him was mostly his personal demons… and in doing so, Mr. Reed was brutally honest, even when those demons were of his own makings. One of Mr. Reed’s song, Heroine, he sang dolefully about being in the vice-like-grip throes of addiction… and in a couplet in that song, he said he wished that he were on a clipper ship… and one gets the sense that he was saying this to say that if he were indeed on a clipper ship… that Heroine would not have had the hold it had on him then.
It is ironic that the song by Lou Reed that inspired my writing my first Juke-Box-play, Perdition Rhapsody… and even though it has many of his songs like Sweet Jane and Temporary Thing, I did not use Walk-On-The-Wild-Side… but those of you who are going to read this blog may use the auditory time machine, You Tube, to get a musical gander of Lou Reed’s music. In addition, displayed prominently on one of my book shelves is a book - Pass-Thru-Fire - with all of Lou Reed’s lyrics that you may want to read, which is written in child-like honesty and depicting the haunting musings about the human condition… I would like to pass on my condolences to Mr. Reed’s surviving wife and also to thank her for her husband’s lyrical and auditory pleasant surprises - Indeed, Sweet Jane!
Standin' on a corner
Suitcase in my hand
Jack's in his corset, Jane is in her vest
and me I'm in a rock 'n' roll band. Huh.
Riding a Stutz Bear Cat, Jim
ya know, those were different times
all the poets studied rules of verse
and those ladies they rolled their eyes
Now Jack, he is a banker
and Jane, she's a clerk
and both of them save their monies
when they get home from work
sittin' down by the fire
Ooo, the radio does play
the classical music there, Jim
The March of the Wooden Soldiers
All you protest kids
you can hear Jack say
Some people they like to go out dancin'
and other people they have to work. Just watch me now
and there's even some evil mothers
Well they're gonna tell you that everything is just dirt
you know that women never really faint
and that villians always blink their eyes
that children are the only ones who blush
and that life is just to die
But anyone who ever had a heart
they wouldn't turn around and break it
and anyone who ever played a part
They wouldn't turn around and hate it
Sweet Jane, Sweet Sweet Jane...