"Down at the Arcade" (1984) The New Sensations album had a video game on the cover – all rock stars were required to do one of those in the Eighties, because that's how veteran rockers showed they were down with the MTV-era Space Age Whiz Kids. Yeah well, it's hard, as Pete Townshend would say. Yet Lou made his New Wave drum-machine phase as funny and personal as anything else he ever did, complete with a great song about playing Defender. "I call the disk jockey to dedicate a song to Blair / It's the Tempts singing 'I'll Be There.'" It's hard to say what's funnier – the idea of Lou hitting on a girl named Blair or the fact that 99% of his fanbase would instantly respond, "Wait, Lou, wasn't 'I'll Be There' the Four Tops?" Make no mistake, Lou knew what he was doing. The Eighties, ladies and gentlemen.
"September Song" (1985) By now, Lou was relishing his elder-statesman role. Those impossible-to-find Velvet Underground records got reissued in 1984, which meant fans could finally hear them, making Lou even cockier. (Who knew that was possible?) Here he does the 1930s Kurt Weill standard "September Song," from the tribute album Lost In The Stars, a tune best known via Frank Sinatra. Lou turns it into an uptempo choogle: "These precious golden days, I'd like to spend them witchoo."
"Halloween Parade" (1989) Any Lou fan who claims they didn't play this one on Halloween 2013 is lying.
"Big Sky" (2000) The finale on Ecstasy, which came out quietly in 2000 and turned out to be his last proper album, a tribute to the love he'd found with Laurie Anderson. "Big Sky" is an urgently optimistic, unapologetically loud rocker about two people, already well into their lives, looking forward to a future that seems boundless just because they're together tonight. Here's to the heroine.
"Tell It To Your Heart" (2004) Lou originally stranded this New York love song on the 1986 flop Mistrial, where nobody noticed it at all. (Except David Fricke.) It really comes alive in this magnificent slow-jam version from his 2004 live album Animal Serenade. It presents New York as a city of lights, where every light is a star, and every star is a satellite of love in a big sky. "You never know what you might see if you look up in the sky" is what he spent his career telling us.
To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here
MUSIC 9 Classic Devo Videos
OLYMPICS 18 Epic Opening Ceremonies
Picks From Around the Web
blog comments powered by Disqus