1973 Lou Reed – Walk On The Wild Side
Lewis Reed grew up on Long Island. He played in several bands in high school; he also discovered drugs when he turned sixteen. He was in a doo-wop group called The Jades that recorded a single in 1958 that got played on Murray the K’s radio show. He briefly attended Syracuse University and hosted a late-night radio show on the campus radio station.
In 1964, Lou moved to New York City and worked as a songwriter for Pickwick Records. Lou and his roommate John Cale invited a few more musicians to join them and started the Velvet Underground. Andy Warhol soon became a mentor for the group and featured them at some of his events.
In 1970, Lou quit the band and earned $40 a week as a typist for his father’s tax accounting firm. He signed with RCA Records in 1971 and recorded his first solo album. Reviews and sales were poor.
David Bowie and Mick Ronson produced Lou’s second solo album, Transformer. The first single from the album was Walk On The Wild Side. The song consisted of mini-biographies of five people who were actors in Andy Warhol’s films in the sixties: Holly Woodlawn, Candy Darling, “Little Joe” Dallesandro, “Sugar Plum Fairy” Joe Campbell, and Jackie Curtis.
The single peaked at #16 on the US Hot 100 and reached the top ten in the UK. Andy never again reached the US chart but did score a top ten hit in the UK in 2004. He continued recording albums, eventually releasing at least twenty of them.
Lou struggled with addictions to methamphetamine and alcohol through the seventies and dealt with hepatitis, diabetes, and liver cancer. He had a liver transplant in 2014 but died from complications of liver disease five months later.
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