See John Cale's Touching Lou Reed Tribute “If You Were Still Around” - Rolling Stone
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See John Cale’s Touching Lou Reed Tribute on Anniversary of His Death

Former Velvet Underground member re-records 1982 song “If You Were Still Around” as tribute to Reed and other Velvet Underground collaborators

John Cale has released a video for a re-recording of his song, “If You Were Still Around,” which now pays tribute to many of his friends and collaborators who have passed away. His onetime Velvet Underground bandmate, Lou Reed – who died a year ago today – features prominently in the imagery that surround Cale in orbs, as does Andy Warhol, Velvet Underground guitarist Sterling Morrison, Nico and Warhol superstar Edie Sedgwick. In a statement, Cale wrote, “Thinking of Lou.”

The former Velvet Underground multi-instrumentalist also shared a parable, seemingly in reference to Reed. “A Moth and a Candle met,” he wrote. “They decided to become friends. Everyone enjoyed watching their discourse – especially the risk takers. Then one day a big rain came. The Moth couldn’t fly and the Candle puttered out. Everyone laughed in bitter awe and blamed the rain. Most however knew the deeper truth – the Candle remains lit and the Moth will stay close.”

Cale originally released the song, which actor and playwright Sam Shepard co-wrote, for his 1982 record Music for a New Society. That recording featured Cale singing only with a church organ and some synthesized rhythms. “If you were still around, I’d hold you,” the former Velvet Underground member sings at one point of the newly reenergized spacey electro rocker. “I’d shake you by the knees, blow hot air in both ears.”

Last year, the day after Reed passed, Cale released a heartfelt statement about how his friend’s death had affected him. “The news I feared the most, pales in comparison to the lump in my throat and the hollow in my stomach,” he wrote. “Two kids have a chance meeting and, 47 years later, we fight and love the same way – losing either one is incomprehensible. No replacement value, no digital or virtual fill…broken now, for all time. Unlike so many with similar stories – we have the best of our fury laid out on vinyl, for the world to catch a glimpse. The laughs we shared just a few weeks ago, will forever remind me of all that was good between us.”


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