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Lou Reed, ‘Peggy Sue’ — Song Review

Rave On Buddy Holly
Fantasy Records/Concord Music Group

Lou Reed tackles Buddy Holly’s classic hit ‘Peggy Sue’ the best way he knows how — with distortion, fuzz and feedback. The track is among the songs on the upcoming ‘Rave On Buddy Holly’ tribute album.

Reed harkens back to his Velvet Underground days with a scorching take on the late singer’s 1957 hit. With fuzzed-out guitars, a looped keyboard effect and pounding drums, Reed’s track offers an about-face from the sheer pop of the original.

While it may seem startling at first, the haunting music actually plays well with the track’s lyrics. Despite the original’s musical cheeriness, the tune is actually about lost love — a topic Reed has examined numerous times over his illustrious career. Even it’s first line evokes a feeling of melancholy: “If you knew Peggy Sue / Then you’d know why I feel blue.”

Vocally, Reed delivers the tune in the talk-sing style he has practically trademarked over the course of his solo career. However, there’s an extra rasp in his voice that is slightly disconcerting, only adding to the yearning nature of the track.

Reed’s cover of ‘Peggy Sue’ appears on the ‘Rave On Buddy Holly’ disc alongside tributes by such acts as Paul McCartney, Patti Smith and Graham Nash. The collection comes out June 28.

Listen to Lou Reed’s Cover of ‘Peggy Sue’

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