DJ Lou Reed, at WPIX-FM, January 1979

Good morning rude girls, rude boys!

I’m sticking with the general theme of the past few months of Sundays, where I elaborate a theme from my book — which, as folks on twitter may know, just received a silver Independent Publisher Book Award in the popular culture category. Thanks to many of you for helping get the word out.

November 1978 (Arista) -- artwork credited to Nazario.
November 1978 (Arista) — artwork credited to Nazario.

I’m keepin’ today’s spot from ch. 5 short and sweet–WPIX-FM’s “Radio Radio” show on Sundays included spots with dozens of (often NYC-based) musicians in the role of DJ, and Lou Reed made a couple of appearances during the “Joe from Chicago” era. It proved to be a transitional era for Reed: he and his long-time partner Rachel split, and soon thereafter he married Sylvia Morales. On January 28, fairly fresh off the release of Live Take No Prisoners, Reed and his entourage crashed the party, and played a bunch of fun tunes from 1954 to 1962, including:

And, his own one-off novelty hit from 1964 with The Primitives, in which you may be able to glean a germ of the punk sensibility of humor and anti-virtuosity:

And here’s a little ramble from Reed, once John Cale arrived in the studio that evening.

Have a rock-steady week!

Coda: I went for a quick drive after this post and, after a listen to Velvet Underground’s eponymous third LP (March 1969), felt compelled to add a few more thoughts about Mr. Reed.

Of their LPs, I dig Velvet Underground the most, in part because Reed’s growing influence in the band means good things for pop, as early as “Candy Says,” the opening track. With the Beatles-inspired turn to pop as serious art, Reed tarries in affirmative pop forms (with lyrics of existential dread), and draws upon his affinity for doo-wop to mix in the signature “doo-doo-wa” that closes the track.

For a host of good reasons, including Reed’s a-tuneful approach to singing, and the beautiful darkness-in-plain-sight of tracks such as “Some Kinda Love,” The Velvet Underground represents the logical bridge between Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” (1958) and The Sex Pistols’ decimation of “Johnny B. Goode” (1979).

 

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