Tunes Du Jour Presents Lou Reed

Lou Reed, the enigmatic singer-songwriter and founding member of The Velvet Underground, left an indelible mark on the music world. His distinctive voice, poetic lyrics, and rebellious spirit continue to resonate with audiences across generations.

Lou Reed’s journey began in the mid-1960s when he emerged as a fledgling singer-songwriter. His raw, unpolished sound captivated listeners, and it wasn’t long before he formed The Velvet Underground alongside John Cale, Sterling Morrison, and Maureen Tucker. Their debut album, The Velvet Underground & Nico, remains a landmark in rock history. Songs like “Heroin,” “I’m Waiting For The Man,” and “Venus In Furs” challenged conventions, exploring taboo subjects with unflinching honesty.

Reed’s lyrics were both poetic and gritty, reflecting the underbelly of New York City. The Velvet Underground’s sonic experimentation laid the groundwork for punk, alternative, and indie rock. Lou Reed’s raspy vocals and unconventional song structures became a blueprint for countless artists who followed.

Beyond the stage, Lou Reed quietly championed causes close to his heart. His philanthropic efforts were rooted in a desire to address societal inequities. Here are glimpses of his impactful work:

  1. Diversity and Inclusion: Reed recognized the importance of amplifying marginalized voices. He supported initiatives that empowered artists from diverse backgrounds. His commitment to inclusivity extended to his collaborations, ensuring that the music industry reflected the rich tapestry of human experience.
  2. Human Rights Advocacy: Reed used his platform to advocate for human rights. His involvement in benefit concerts and fundraisers raised awareness about issues such as LGBTQ+ rights, racial justice, and access to healthcare. His song “Walk on the Wild Side” subtly celebrated gender fluidity and nonconformity.
  3. Supporting Emerging Artists: Reed believed in nurturing emerging talent. He quietly funded scholarships, mentorship programs, and grants for young musicians. His legacy lives on through the artists he inspired and uplifted.

From the iconic “Perfect Day” to the haunting “Pale Blue Eyes,” each track on this playlist reveals a facet of Lou Reed’s multifaceted artistry. It’s a journey guided by a man who defied conventions, challenged norms, and left an indelible mark.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist: 7-28-23

Devo’s “Whip It” was inspired by a magazine article about how to be a better wife. The song’s cowriter and bassist for the band, Gerald Casale, said he’d found that story in a 1962 issue of The Family Handyman and thought it was funny. He decided to write a song that parodied the idea of whipping your problems away. Casale also drew from communist propaganda posters and a 1973 novel by Thomas Pynchon called Gravity’s Rainbow, which mocks capitalist slogans with satirical limericks.He wrote lyrics that taken out of context sound like motivational clichés: When a good time turns around, you must whip it. Give the past a slip. Whip it into shape. Get straight. Go forward. Move ahead. And my personal favorite: Before the cream sits out too long, you must whip it.

Jerry Casale turns 75 today. A couple of Devo tracks, including their biggest hit, “Whip It,” are included on today’s playlist.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist: 10-16-22

Today’s playlist celebrates the October 16 birthdays of Hüsker Dü’s Bob Mould, Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea, Nico, The 45 King, Jon Mayer, Aswad, Bert Kaempfert, B-Rock, Sugar Pie DeSanto, Angela Lansbury, and Kelly Marie; and the October 17 birthdays of Eminem, Fugees’ Wyclef Jean, Seals & Crofts’ Jim Seals, Gary Puckett, Tina Moore, Aqua’s Rene Dif, Alan Jackson, Spinal Tap’s Michael McKean, The Singing Nun, and Ziggy Marley.

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