LISTEN TO BOOMTOWN RADIO! “ALL the Music That Matters for the Generation That Created Rock 'n' Roll”

That One-Hit Wonder: Lou Reed?

Lou Reed is a giant in rock & roll history. As one of the key members of the Velvet Underground in the late 1960s, commercial success may have eluded him; but the Velvets were a huge influence on both the punk and new wave movements of the 1970s.

Yet, the failure of the band to find a mass audience led Reed to temporarily abandon rock music to work as an accountant at his dad’s business. Fortunately, that didn’t last long and Lou soon strapped on his guitar again and embarked on a solo career. With his second solo LP, "Transformer," in 1973, Lou found the commercial success the Velvets missed with one of the most unlikely pop hits of that era – “Walk on the Wild Side” produced by David Bowie and Mick Ronson. As the song deals with transsexualism, drugs and male prostitution, to say nothing of Reed calling out “And the colored girls go…,” that the song found acceptance on Top 40 radio – let along climbing into the Top 20 (and the Top 10 in the UK) – is remarkable.

Predictably, Reed was never able to repeat that Top 40 success, but continued to release albums through 2007. He is a double member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (both as a member of the Velvet Underground and as a solo performer), which makes him somewhat unique among “One-Hit Wonders.”

Reed passed away in 2013, leaving an estate valued at the time at over $10 million dollars. Imagine if he ever had had a second hit record!

Pop Up Player

Latest Posts–Music

  • Rock & Roll Muse: Donna Ludwig
    Anyone who’s seen the movie La Bamba (1987), knows the story behind Ritchie Valens rock classic, “Donna.” Valens wrote the song for his girlfriend, Donna Ludwig at a time when his career was starting to…
  • Now Playing at the Boomtown Drive-In: Jailhouse Rock
    Jailhouse Rock (1957), Elvis Presley’s 3rd feature and the first to really offer Elvis’ brand of rock ‘n’ roll undiluted, is probably his most famous and best-regarded film. The production number where the King sings…
  • The Story Behind the Song – “Runaround Sue” (1961)
    “Runaround Sue” the rock classic that topped the charts in 1961, was Dion’s only #1 song (despite having 32 other records hit the charts) and has since gone on to become an enduring classic of…
  • Shelley Fabares: The Reluctant Pop Star
    One of the most unlikely of pop stars was Shelley Fabares, who parlayed her role on The Donna Reed Show into a #1 record! Shelley had been acting since she was 3 and made her…
  • Superstars of the 60s: Johnny Rivers
    Imagine it you had 9 top 10 records, 17 songs in the Top 40 and founded your own record label where you discovered such acts as the 5th Dimension. Now, imagine all that and you’re…
  • The Face That Launched Two Pop Classics
    In 1965, Michael Brown was a 16-year old classically trained musician who had formed a rock band (like many classically trained young men and women of the day). He also had become infatuated with a…