Flashback Lou Reed’s Symphonic Rendition Of “Walk On The Wild Side” From 1986

Flashback Lou Reed’s Symphonic Rendition Of “Walk On The Wild Side” From 1986

lou reed, 1986
Lou Reed, 1986. Photo by Bill Marino/Sygma via Getty Images.

Lou Reed revolutionized rock ‘n' roll with The Velvet Underground in the 1960s by fusing street-level urgency, European avant-garde and lyrical honesty to create music that read like poetry. His subsequent solo career was restlessly inventive and creatively unpredictable, defying expectations as though it were a sport. With recordings ranging from the wildly experimental to the perfectly straightforward – Reed was a storyteller above all.

His 1972 album, Transformer, produced by David Bowie, graduated the New Yorker from cult status to genuine rock stardom. The record oozes unaffected authenticity which really shines through on Reed’s ode to the underbelly of New York City’s nightlife – breakthrough single “Walk On The Wild Side”. The loving reflection on Andy Warhol’s ‘Factory’ scene, set to a shimmering doo-wop tone became a massive radio hit, despite the song’s allusions to censored topics of the era. 

Today we’re celebrating what would have been Lou Reed’s 78th birthday, with a flashback to 1986, when he performed “Walk On The Wild Side” live at the Ritz in New York City, complete with a fiery 80s saxophone solo that makes for a rather symphonic rendition! 

Lou Reed | “Walk On The Wild Side” [Live at the Ritz, 1986]  

“Walk On The Wild Side” was a bona fide counter-culture anthem that gave Reed one of the biggest and most iconic hits in a catalogue of songs, as fascinating and frustrating as the man himself. Celebrate Lou Reed’s birthday with This Is Lou Reed on Spotify:

Listen to the Lou Reed Essentials on Apple Music:

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