"Lou Reed rocks!!! Dude!! But methinks this collection dost not. The tunes are all good, but there aren't very many of them, and the sound is deplorable, in that inimitable RCA-first-CD-edition sort of way (fans of the Jefferson Airplane and Harry Nilsson know what I'm talking about). A much better jumping off point would be "Different Times: Lou Reed in the 70's", or, even better, check out "Transformer" or "Rock 'n' Roll Animal"."
A decent, but all-too-short best of.
Brian D. Rubendall | Oakton, VA | 01/05/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Best of Lou Reed" was put together back in the dark ages before CDs expanded the amount of material you could put on an anthology album. As it goes, it's a decent sampling of 1970s era Lou Reed that includes material from most of his albums from that up and down period. It contains "Walk on the Wild Side," his only radio ready hit, as well as "Satelite of Love" and "Wild Child" which are just as accessible. Unfortunately, however, the live version of "Sweet Jane" that made it on to this disk is the edited radio version rather than the far superior extended guitar jam original. On the ples side, the album avoids including any portion of the horrid "Metal Machine Music," which is far and away Lou's worst album. Overall, this collection is likely best purchased by those who are primarily interested in "Walk on the Wild Side" as a single. There is nothing here that ardent fans probably don't already own. It's a good introduction to Lou Reed's dark genius, but that's all it is."
Andrew McCaffrey | Satellite of Love, Maryland | 05/11/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground have always been a bit of an -- shall we say -- acquired taste. But the songs on this WALK ON THE WILD SIDE compilation are very much a showing of Reed's more mainstream side; you could almost call them pleasant. Reed has released a lot of "hits" packages over the years (one must put the word "hits" in quotations, because Reed has found little commercial appeal outside of the song this collection takes its name from), but this particular release is a great way for music fans unfamiliar with Reed's work to find something easy to latch onto before delving deeper into his darker, more disturbing side. This is not too dark as to scare off the newcomer, but it isn't dishonest either.I'm describing this CD as if it's a fluffy collection of Top 40 sounding tracks. This isn't actually true, of course. Only when compared to the rest of Reed's discography do songs like "Wild Child" and "Sally Can't Dance" seem relatively tame. Which isn't to say there isn't a hard edge here; there is. In particular, the live performances of the two Velvet Underground songs ("Sweet Jane" and "White Light/White Heat") are harsher and louder than the studio versions as originally performed (even if this record used shorter versions than from the live album they came from). The nastier, seedier side is subtle, but present, always lurking just beneath the surface. He's singing about the dirtier side of life: drug-pushers, prostitutes, and their various clientele. He may dress them in the fanciest of melodies, but they're still there.The release date for this collection was 1977, and it does a pretty good job of showing what sort of stuff Reed was up to in the 70s. Reed was doing a lot of weird stuff back then, both musically and in reference to his chemical intake, and the songs on here reflect that diversity. The glam influences of the David Bowie-produced TRANSFORMER are represented by "Satellite of Love" and "Walk On The Wild Side". Lou's brief flirtation with commercial appeal by emphasizing musical smoothness and "cool" over straight lyrics-and-rock is denoted by the inclusion of the title track from SALLY CAN'T DANCE. Lou-Reed-as-poet is, of course, on display throughout. Even Lou-Reed-as-joker is included: what else are we to make of "New York Telephone Conversation"? And just for kicks, the kid in "Coney Island Baby" who just wanted to play football for the coach has a cameo too. Given the short amount of time available on a single album, we don't get a particularly deep look at Reed's 70s material, but it is a broad one.WALK ON THE WILD SIDE was the first Lou Reed album I owned, and I've bought many more since then. This is a great hook to get yourself familiar with Reed's stylings before diving in headfirst. Get this collection and then get ready to want to get a lot more."
Ho-Hum "Best of..." package best left on the shelf
Michael Gross | Burke, VA | 03/23/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"There are a few things about this "Best of" collection that deserve mention:
1) The photo-montage on the cover shows Lou with longtime "girlfriend" Rachel, a transsexual man who Lou dated for a large part of the mid-70's. Lou has refused to mention a single word about her since about 1978. (She also appeared on the inner jacket of the Sally Can't Dance LP)
2) "Nowhere At All" is a little known non-LP B-side. It's pretty good, actually.
3) Unlike so many of his later single-CD "Hits" collections, this pulls songs from all of his solo LP's (up to 1977, that is) minus Lou Reed Live and Metal Machine Music (MMM hardly classifies as a "Rock" album).
4) The "Intro" section to "Sweet Jane," found on "Rock 'N' Roll Animal" has been edited out. Considering the fact this it is one of the GREAT guitar workouts of any "Live" record EVER, I think this is a terrible mistake. However, in order to fit such an eclectic mix of songs onto a single CD, I guess it was necessary.
What this CD accomplishes is it gives the listener a very basic introduction to 70's Lou Reed. Be warned, the sound quality is ATROCIOUS. I suggest this CD is for "completists" ONLY. For everyone else, try "The Wild Side: Best of Lou Reed" instead. If you REALLY want "Nowhere At All," download it from iTunes."
Lou Reed, not the Velvet Underground
aaron bagley | seattle, WA United States | 06/07/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although many of these songs were written while Lou was still with the V.U. they are still Lou's work. As for a greatest hits of Lou Reed this album is exceptional. It includes a most essential live performance of 'Sweet Jane' using electric guitar and Lou himself not playing guitar, and the co-produced 'Walk on the Wildside' (David Bowie/Lou Reed). Many of the other songs are overlooked and unerrated; for anyone who listens to an album more than one time before deciding whether or not they like it - this album is for you."