by Robert Wilkinson
Today's the birthday of two different powerhouse talents in the rock and roll world!
Lou Reed (March 2, 1942 - October 27, 2013) was a pioneer of experimental rock and what is now “drone” music, expressed through his way out songwriting, playing and lead vocals for the Velvet Underground, one of most amazing and decadent groups ever to achieve cult status. The Velvets were part of the NYC “Exploding Plastic Inevitable” multimedia artistic scene created by Andy Warhol involving several facets of art expressed in ways never done before.
The Velvets did songs that were hard and gritty, sometimes using fragments from William Burroughs’ novels and elements of Dada. They sang about heroin, speed, dealers, addiction, gay and transgendered life, male and female hookers and the murky side of love, including some stunningly beautiful (if dark) love songs. Lou’s songs inspired ten thousand other writers to go where no writer had gone before.
I saw them at the Vulcan Gas Company in the Autumn of 1969, and it was one of the weirdest vibes I’ve ever felt at a concert. Not bad, but definitely somewhat degenerate and extraordinarily electrifying! The closest thing I could find of that tour is the link to the Boston Tea Party show in 1969. The set list begins with “Heroin” and ends with “Sister Ray.” Wow, but NSFW or polite company!
After leaving the Velvet Underground, Lou went on to release “Transformer,” the first gender bending release in popular music history. From Wikipedia:
“The hit single “Walk on the Wild Side” was an ironic yet affectionate salute to the misfits, hustlers, and transvestites who once surrounded Andy Warhol. Each of the song's five verses poignantly describes an actual person who had been a fixture at “The Factory” during the mid-to-late 1960s: (1) Holly Woodlawn, (2) Candy Darling, (3) “Little Joe” Dallesandro, (4) "Sugar Plum Fairy" Joe Campbell and (5) Jackie Curtis. The song's cleverly transgressive lyrics evaded radio censorship."
For your enjoyment, here are some of Lou’s best! Just remember, some of the lyrics you’re about to hear are X rated, and will take you through a sordid slice of life.
We’ll begin with their pioneering first studio album! Here’s the entire 50 minutes of The Velvet Underground with Nico
Song List: “Sunday Morning,” “I’m Waiting for the Man,” “Femme Fatale,” “Venus in Furs,” “Run Run Run,” “All Tomorrow’s Parties,” “Heroin,” “There She Goes Again,” “I’ll be Your Mirror,” “The Black Angel’s Death Song,” and “European Son.”
Here’s the original band in a live 1 minute video clip from their days at The Factory, doing the very bizarre “Venus In Furs”
From the same bizarre era, here’s a treat! A full hour video of The Velvet Underground and Nico: A Symphony of Sound (1966)
Here is the original audio from the 1969 live album accompanied with footage from The Velvet Underground's factory rehearsal: “White Light White Heat”
From January 1969, the entire 90 minutes show, including everything from opening with “Heroin” to closing with 26 minutes of the extremely surrealistic “Sister Ray.” Definitely not for the faint-hearted! “The Velvet Underground Live At the Boston Tea Party.”
Here’s a very interesting clip! It’s a rare live duo performance by Lou Reed on acoustic guitar and John Cale on piano in Paris 1972 of “I’m Waiting For My Man”
Live in Hampstead New York in December 1972, an entire audio only live performance in the order of the set list!
From German TV in 1973, a very black and white Lou in a live performance of “Walk On The Wild Side”
From 1974, a threesome from Lou Reed live in Paris!
Here’s fourth that looks to be from the same show, but it’s in black and white. “Rock and Roll”
From Letterman, Lou Reed, Buddy Guy, and James Cotton performing “Busload of Faith”
For our closing number, here’s Lou live at Farm Aid in 1990 performing “Dirty Boulevard”
For our encore, here’s Lou and David Bowie in a rocking live performance of “White Light White Heat”
Sorry you checked out last year, Lou. But it’s a miracle you made as much great music as you did for as long as you did, given your New York Lifestyle. “Duck and Sally inside, They’re cookin' for the Down slide, Who's staring at Miss Rayon, Who's busy licking off her Pig Pen, I'm searching for my mainline, I said I couldn't hit it sideways, I said I couldn't hit it sideways, aw just like sister Ray said, whip it on …” Wow.
We now turn our spotlight on New Jersey’s own, Jon Bon Jovi. Yes, he’s part of the great Jersey Boy tradition including Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Bruce Springsteen, Steve Van Zandt, and so many more. Jon Bon Jovi (March 2, 1962) is a singer, songwriter, producer, actor, political activist, and humanitarian good guy in every way.
Front man for the band Bon Jovi, he’s sold over 135 million records worldwide, and can get entire stadiums singing every word in his more famous songs. He’s been nominated for Grammys and Academy Awards, and won a Golden Globe and numerous other awards. He rocks, and rocks hard! For your enjoyment, the best of Mister John Francis Bongiovi, Jr.!From Tokyo in 1984, “Runaway”
From 1985, “Burning for Love”
Last year I had a live performance of one of his biggest hits, offered up in the USSR in 1989, just as it began to crumble into history, This year it’s nowhere to be found. However we still have a great performance from the 1989 MTV Awards television show of Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora performing a duet of "Livin' On A Prayer" and "Wanted Dead or Alive"
From Brisbane in 2013, another great live performance of “Living On A Prayer”From the countdown to New Years’ 1991, “You Give Love A Bad Name”
From 2010 in Seattle, “I’ll Be There For You”
From 1995, live in the UK performing “Bed of Roses”
Live in Madison Square Garden in 2008, “Always”
From Brazil in 2002, very much live and electric, “It’s My Life”
Another great performance here! “It’s My Life”
From 1992, “Bed of Roses”
From London, “Blaze of Glory”
From the “Blaze of Glory” album, here’s the studio version of “Miracle”
From American Idol, a live performance of “You Want To Make A Memory”
Our closer brings us Jon live in Dallas in 2010 and a feast of four great tunes!
For our encore, an entire stadium in New Jersey in 2010 singing along with the band doing a great version of “Living On A Prayer”
Thanks for the rock and roll, gentlemen! While one of you is now waitin’ for the man on the other side, the other is still cranking it up! Long may you run…..
Copyright © 2014 Robert Wilkinson