October 27, 2013, - 3:36 pm
**** SCROLL DOWN FOR UPDATE ****
I don’t know much about the politics of Lou Reed, who died today at age 71 (though I assume they were very left-wing, based on his strange sexual lifestyle and his strong presence in the ’60s and ’70s counter-culture music scene, plus he played “Farm Aid,” etc.). But I do know that he was very talented, both with the Velvet Underground and on his own. And I know that, in 2008, Reed–an American-born Jew–defied calls from the left to boycott Israel and played in the Jewish State along with his wife, Laurie Anderson. Perhaps that is part of the reason that scientists named a “velvet” arachnid native to Israel, the Loureedia annulipes, after him.
Lou Reed & Laurie Anderson Play Tel Aviv, Israel . . .
At times, I thought he was kind of over-rated, and most of his music wasn’t my type at all. But I’m kind of embarrassed to say that–despite its unfortunate references to oral sex, male prostitution, drugs, and transsexuals, all of which I had to tune out–I did like his “classic” 1972 rendition of “Walk on the Wild Side.” (The radio version has the most obvious reference–to oral sex–deleted, but I could not find that version, so beware when listening to the video, below). The song was apparently a tribute to the various hangers-on in Andy Warhol’s entourage.
Lou Reed’s “paradoxical Jewishness”:
Reed made contradictory remarks about his Jewishness.
He once reportedly told journalist Lester Bangs that he didn’t know any Jewish people. But, on another occasion, asked whether he was Jewish, he was said to have responded, “Of course, aren’t all the best people?”
No, not all of them. But definitely some of them.
**** UPDATE: One thing I forgot to mention. The guy was an admitted heavy drinker and drug user, and yet he got a liver transplant, this year. As I’ve said before, I think those who lived healthy lives should be ahead in the line for transplants, in front of those who lived this way.
Sadly, that distinction doesn’t enter the donee process.
Tags: Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed, Lou Reed Israel, Lou Reed Jew, Lou Reed Jewish, Lou Reed Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed Velvet Underground, Lou Reed Walk on the Wild Side, The Velvet Underground, Velvet Underground, Walk on the Wild Side