Lou Reed, “Sad Song”

Great music from Berlin! One of the most underrated albums of all time. I worked as a music writer at my college paper. On the eve of the 1980’s, I wrote a piece listing the 10 best albums of the 1970’s. Berlin was number 1! That provoked quite a bit of outrage and shaking heads.

When the album came out in 1973, it was very controversial. Some like me thought it was from God himself, while a lot of other people thought it was a monstrosity. For instance, Berlin is now listed among Rolling Stone Magazine’s Top 500 rock albums, but when RS reviewed it 30 years before, they called it a “disaster.”  Such was the polarization that Berlin caused – it’s either the greatest album ever made or the worst album ever made, take your pick.

It sold poorly in the US but for some reason did very well in the UK, and got lukewarm at best reviews on both sides of the pond. The poor sales and reviews upset Reed, and for many years, he would not perform any songs from Berlin live. The Rolling Stone Record Guide calls it “one of the most depressing albums ever made, but oddly beautiful in its own way.”

Berlin was a concept album about two heroin addicts in love in the city of Berlin. It was a tragic rock opera featuring such uplifting themes as drug abuse, domestic violence, adultery, prostitution, depression, suicide and other joyous things. It was produced by none other than Bob Ezrin, one of the greatest producers of all time. Jack Bruce, Aynsley Dunbar and Stevie Winwood all play on the album.

Lyrics:

Staring at my picture book
she looks like Mary, Queen of Scots
She seemed very regal to me
just goes to show how wrong you can be

I’m gonna stop wastin’ my time
Somebody else would have broken both of her arms

Sad song, sad song
Sad song, sad song

My castle, kids and home
I thought she was Mary, Queen of Scots
I tried so very hard
shows just how wrong you can be

I’m gonna stop wasting time
Somebody else would have broken both of her arms

Sad song, sad song
Sad song, sad song
Sad song, sad song
Sad song, sad song
Sad song, sad song
Sad song, sad song

Oh fuck yeah!

4 Comments

Filed under Music, Rock

4 responses to “Lou Reed, “Sad Song”

  1. criticallycanuck

    He performed the album live fairly recently in its entirety and released it. If you like the original, you’d love this just as much.

  2. “Sad Song” is not a Velvets song.

  3. The Kids is one of his best songs. Read that the kids crying in the background were tricked into crying. They were the kids of the producer or engineer, they told the kids that their mommy died LOL.

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