Review: Lou Reed – Walk on the Wild Side: The Stories Behind the Classic Songs

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Lou Reed – Walk on the Wild Side: The Stories Behind the Classic Songs
Chris Roberts

Carlton Books Ltd
Street: 10.01.04

This is the quintessential rocker coffee table book. It’s basically unbearable to read from cover to cover, but is delightful in snippets. Walk on the Wild Side is a play-by-play interpretation of literally everything Lou has done since leaving the Velvet Underground in 1970. After a current interview with the Man and some background flashes of Reed childhood and Velvet history, Chris Roberts plunges us into the bulk of the text—a descriptive commentary chronological breakdown of every song off of every album of Lou’s solo career. The liner notes from Metal Machine Music could serve as an analogy for this book: “No on I know has listened to it all the way through, including myself. It is not meant to be. Start any place you like.” Roberts’s dense and telling observations pick apart the aspects of Lou’s brilliance, and reflect them back upon his series of arrogant, childish, even stupid decisions, artistic or otherwise. Reed’s work shines through in the end though, and any one page in Walk on the Wild Side is worth a read at any one time. The photojournal between the jackets is equally dazzling, for all of you literate rock fans who love looking at pictures. –Nate Martin