Keith Richards Tributes Lou Reed With 'I'm Waiting For You' Cover


Keith Richards Tributes Lou Reed With 'I'm Waiting For You' Cover

Rolling Stones legend Keith Richards celebrated what would have been late music icon Lou Reed's 82nd birthday today (March 2nd), with the release of a music video for his cover of The Velvet Underground's classic "I'm Waiting For You'.

Richards (whose artistry on the guitar was once referred to by Reed as "so perfect") recalls, "To me, Lou stood out. The real deal! [He was] important to American music and to ALL MUSIC! I miss him and his dog."

The cover is just one of the tribute tracks will be included on the forthcoming "The Power of the Heart: A Tribute to Lou Reed" that will released by Light In The Attic as a special Silver Nugget vinyl available exclusively for Record Store Day 2024 on April 20th,
in addition to the expanded edition available in CD and digital formats.

Chummy Press sent over these details: The star-studded album celebrates the pioneering singer-songwriter's enduring influence‒as well as the timeless appeal of his songs‒through performances by Reed's closest friends and biggest fans, including Keith Richards, Rosanne Cash, Lucinda Williams, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, The Afghan Whigs, Bobby Rush, Maxim Ludwig & Angel Olsen, Mary Gauthier, and Automatic. Blending generation-defining hits (including "I'm Waiting for the Man," "Walk on the Wild Side," and "Perfect Day") with lesser-known gems, the collection spans the artist's five-decade-long career: from his earliest days with The Velvet Underground to his groundbreaking solo work.

All physical formats include photos of Reed by Mick Rock and Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, plus extensive liner notes by the album's producer: writer and record producer Bill Bentley, who worked closely with Reed for over 25 years.

"Lou Reed offered a sensuous despair doubled-up with a powerful danger in all his songs," declares Bill Bentley in his liner notes for The Power of the Heart. Indeed, Lou Reed (1942-2013) was one of rock's great, uncompromising rebels. Today, he is one of its all-time wonders. From The Velvet Underground's 1967 debut through his celebrated solo career (which includes over 20 albums), the two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee sang truth from his heart. He lived life to the limit-and then some. The Power of the Heart pays homage to Reed's freedom of expression, with each track serving as a glorious extension of his spirit: ever adventurous and avant-garde. Bentley, who served as Reed's longtime publicist, trusted confidant, and executive producer of one of his final solo albums, Animal Serenade (2004), sought to honor his friend by enlisting artists from a range of generations and genres to interpret their favorite works from his incomparable career.

Yet, while Reed's time with The Velvet Underground was foundational and revolutionary, his solo career-which he embarked on in the early 70s-would prove to be even more extensive. Maxim Ludwig & Angel Olsen kick off this era with a punk-drunk, loved-up performance of "I Can't Stand It" (off Reed's 1972 self-titled debut). "Lou Reed is why I write songs, why I read books, and why I stand up for myself," proclaims Ludwig. Olsen adds, "Lou Reed is my earliest influence, my introduction to punk rock. This song was a great opportunity to creatively work with Maxim."

Later in 1972, Reed released his landmark sophomore LP, Transformer. Produced by David Bowie and Mick Ronson, the album is a foundational title in the glam-rock canon-and features several of the artist's most iconic hits. Among them is the counterculture anthem, "Walk on the Wild Side," in which Reed cooly sing-speaks about then-taboo topics like drug use, gender fluidity, queer culture, and sex work. Here, the song is reinterpreted by another master of lyrical storytelling, Rickie Lee Jones, whose languid performance is both whimsical and enticing, with her whispery vocals, stripped-down percussion, and a piano fit for a late-night lounge.

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts-who followed in Reed's footsteps as rock rebels-also found inspiration from Transformer-offering up a spirited, punk-infused rendition of "I'm So Free," while the Juno Award-winning singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright gently delivers an intimate performance of the melancholic "Perfect Day." Wainwright, who not only considers Reed an influence but also a good friend, reflects, "He's one of the few people whom I miss as much now as when he left... His general aura would always lend something really unique to the room."

Another highlight comes from 90-year-old blues icon Bobby Rush, who contributes a delightfully funky cover of "Sally Can't Dance"-the title track off Reed's 1974 Top 10 best-seller. "If Sally can't dance, let me be the one to teach her how to dance," laughs Rush, who shares that he "came from a dancing family and background." The Blues Hall of Famer slyly adds, "Sally will know how to dance when I get through with her."

GRAMMY®-nominated singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier, who offers a bluesy performance of "Coney Island Baby" (taken from Reed's 1975 LP of the same name), recalls how important Reed's work was to her as a young folk artist and a "small-town dreamer." "A rough urban song poet of astounding vulnerability and brutal honesty, he saw-and described-the world as it was. Pure emotion. Pure reality, immense compassion." She continues, "His words were raw and real. But there was always melody. And always a (heart) beat."

Several artists chose to focus on Reed's work from the 80s-an era in which he left the city for the country, found solace in sobriety, and moved further toward the mainstream-all while reaffirming his place as one of music's most vibrant and important voices. His output during this time included such critically acclaimed titles as Legendary Hearts (1983) and New Sensations (1984), both of which are honored here. Celebrated Americana artist Lucinda Williams performs a heartfelt cover of "Legendary Hearts," while alt-rock mainstays The Afghan Whigs pay homage to the latter album's pop-forward single, "I Love You, Suzanne." Los Angeles trio Automatic, meanwhile, performs the synth-forward title track.

Speaking to "New Sensations," the group explains, "This song is about sobriety. The same way Lou was able to describe-with intense detail -the feeling of doing heroin, he does with this song about the feeling of being sober: the heightened senses, enjoying simple pleasures, experiencing new sensations. This song captures that feeling of heading out on a journey of discovery, whether you're on drugs or sober, it's two sides of the same coin."

The latter decades of Reed's career included the 1992 concept album Magic and Loss, which focused on themes of mortality, following the death of two close friends. Bentley recalls, "While Lou didn't really show... emotions in public very often, it had shaken him down deep, and he needed a way to respond in song." The resulting album-a Top Ten bestseller in the UK-featured some of Reed's most vulnerable work, including "Magician," written from the point of view of someone grappling with a terminal illness. Reflective and melancholic, the track is performed here by Nashville Hall of Famer Rosanne Cash who shares, "Lou seemed fearless to me; like he'd rather die than be a people-pleaser. I took inspiration from that."

The 90s also brought many moments of joy for Reed, however, including his relationship with artist Laurie Anderson. Bentley recalls that when Reed met his future wife, it was "Life-changing... Their union gave Lou an inspiration to become even bolder and to explore other sides of his talents... It supplied Lou with a renewed spirit." When Reed married Anderson in 2008, he wrote "The Power Of The Heart." It would be his final solo composition. Sweet and introspective, the love song was originally recorded in 2010 by Peter Gabriel and is covered here as a digital and CD exclusive by rising Bay Area singer-songwriter, Brogan Bentley.

The Power of the Heart is the latest offering from Light in the Attic which follows close on the heels of several releases in their Lou Reed archive series, produced in partnership with Laurie Anderson and the Lou Reed Archive, including the multi-GRAMMY® nominated Words & Music, May 1965 and the recent re-release of Lou's final solo album, Hudson River Wind Meditations.

The sheer array of talent featured on The Power of the Heart not only demonstrates how influential Reed was as a musician but also how beloved he was as a human. Whether these artists knew Reed personally or were simply moved by his work, their performances are all, certainly, from the heart. What is also certain is that his mark on the world will always remain. "There are many moments when Lou Reed's soul still rushes through me like a warm wind on a motionless day," writes Bentley. "It might be a certain chord I hear, a word spoken with his distinct New York accent, or even just a glancing memory of the way he smiled when he was happy followed by a restrained cackle which assured all was right in Reed's world... His spirit is there, undiminished with a worldly peaceful wisdom he had never quit seeking."

Tracklist (LP):

Side A
1. Keith Richards - I'm Waiting for the Man
2. Maxim Ludwig & Angel Olsen - I Can't Stand It
3. Rufus Wainwright - Perfect Day
4. Joan Jett and the Blackhearts - I'm So Free
5. Bobby Rush - Sally Can't Dance
6. Rickie Lee Jones - Walk on the Wild Side

Side B
1. The Afghan Whigs - I Love You, Suzanne
2. Mary Gauthier - Coney Island Baby
3. Lucinda Williams - Legendary Hearts
4. Automatic - New Sensations
5. Rosanne Cash - Magician

Tracklist (CD/digital):
1. Keith Richards - I'm Waiting for the Man
2. Maxim Ludwig & Angel Olsen - I Can't Stand It
3. Rufus Wainwright - Perfect Day
4. Joan Jett and the Blackhearts - I'm So Free
5. Bobby Rush - Sally Can't Dance
6. Rickie Lee Jones - Walk on the Wild Side
7. The Afghan Whigs - I Love You, Suzanne
8. Mary Gauthier - Coney Island Baby
9. Lucinda Williams - Legendary Hearts
10. Automatic - New Sensations
11. Rosanne Cash - Magician
12. Brogan Bentley - The Power of the Heart

Related Stories
New Lou Reed and Velvet Underground Book Arrives

Reimagined Version Of Lou Reed's Critically-Acclaimed 'Metal Machine Music' Coming

Keith Richards Tributes Lou Reed With 'I'm Waiting For You' Cover

Steve 'Deacon' Hunter Finds His Voice With 'The Deacon Speaks'

AC/DC Approached Iggy Pop About Becoming Their Singer - 2023 In Review

News > Lou Reed

Share this article: Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit email this article