No. 73: Lou Reed, ‘Walk On The Wild Side’ – Top 100 Classic Rock Songs
Lou Reed’s ‘Walk On The Wild Side’ may have been the first transvestite rock song that middle America heard.
It was late 1972 when Reed, who never ceased to offend somebody, managed to land a No. 29 hit with a single that strung themes of oral sex, Valium and “colored girls” into a four minute masterpiece.
This song has immortalized some of artist Andy Warhol’s friends, with Reed the narrator brilliantly delivering his cool rap-like observations about an explicit group of drag queens and hustlers that Warhol made into superstars. Reed, having been plugged into that scene, can easily take credit for helping America find their wild side.
The single comes from the album ‘Transformer’ which was co- produced by David Bowie and Mick Ronson who were creatively peaking in their own right. The union of these three artists was not only a forward thinking decision on behalf of their management but was monumental for the talent themselves. Bowie was ecstatic to work next to one of his (Velvet Underground) heroes while Reed benefited from the skills that Bowie and Ronson brought to the studio.
‘Walk On The Wild Side’ holds a paramount place in the history books, the No. 73 spot on our Top 100 Classic Rock Songs list, and to this day, when the leather clad singer gives the word, everyone goes “doo doo doo...”