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Lou Reed, The Velvet Underground and, er, Morrissey: ‘Satellite Of Love’ Covers.

Lou Reed, The Velvet Underground and, er, Morrissey:  ‘Satellite Of Love’ Covers.

Above Photo: Lou Reed, David Bowie and Iggy Pop hanging out in London, 1972 (© Mick Rock)

Lou Reed’s Satellite of Love is so perfect, you’d have to think twice before you did a cover version of it as a musician, right? Unless you knew you could do something that would blow everyone away.

Alas, Morrissey covered it after Lou Reed’s death, intending it to be a tribute to one of his musical heroes, but he really shouldn’t have bothered. (I have put You Tube links to all three versions of the song mentioned in this article at the bottom of the page).

Lou Reed in 1972.

Lou Reed in 1972.

As described in my Punk and New Wave Memoir, Bombed Out!, Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground had a pivotal role in getting me into ‘alternative’ music when I was skiving school in the mid 1970s.

One of the albums I was listening to was Lou Reed’s Transformer, released in 1972 and which contains some of Reed’s most enduring songs (Walk On the Wild Side, Perfect Day and New York Telephone Conversation to name but three). It also contained another Reed classic, Satellite of Love – a song about infidelity and jealousy, which also features David Bowie on vocals.

David Bowie and Lou Reed in London 1972 (© Mick Rock).

David Bowie and Lou Reed in London 1972 (© Mick Rock).

Apparently Lou Reed’s version of the song was itself a cover, as it had been originally recorded by the Velvet Underground in 1970 as a demo track for their Loaded album (it wasn’t used, and was then forgotten about for years).

Some house party. David Bowie in London, 1972 (© Mick Rock).

Some house party. David Bowie in London, 1972 (© Mick Rock).

One amusing difference between the Velvet Underground and Lou Reed versions is some of the lyrics.

In the Velvets song the lyrics are:

I’ve been told baby you’ve been bold

With Winkin Blinkin and Nod

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday to Thursday

To Winkin, Blinkin, and Nod.

Reed later said he’d used fictitious names to make sure none of his friends or acquaintances thought the lyrics referred to them. However by 1972 he’d lost such sqeamishness and these lyrics were changed to the more recognisable:

I’ve been told that you’ve been bold

With Harry, Mark, and John

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday to Thursday

With Harry, Mark, and John

Lou Reed and Morrissey.

“You’re not going anywhere, mate.” Lou Reed and Morrissey.

And now to Morrissey.

Usually I like Morrissey’s stuff, but what he thought he was doing recording his awful Lounge Lizard cover version as a tribute to Lou Reed after he’d died in 2013 is not known. Also, he too bizarrely changed some of the above lyrics in his version.

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"Not now Morrissey. I'm listening to Lou Reed's version of Satellite of Love."

“Not now Morrissey. I’m listening to Lou Reed’s version of Satellite of Love.”

I have added You Tube links to all three versions of the song below.

Lou Reed (1972):

Velvet Underground (1970):

Morrissey (2013):

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 www.bombedoutpunk.com © Peter Alan Lloyd

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