Remembering Arctic Monkeys’ tender cover of Lou Reed’s ‘Walk on the Wild Side’
We’re digging into the Far Out Magazine vault to bring you the curious clash between two of our favourite artist with Arctic Monkeys paying homage to the iconic Lou Reed with a startling cover.
Arctic Monkeys are undoubtedly one of the only rock acts of modern times to reach the incredible heights of rock and roll’s heyday—rising up from the streets, making astounding records and selling out stadiums. No band in recent years has peaked quite like Alex Turner and his group. Proof can be found of that in this 2013 cover of Lou Reed’s iconic counter-culture anthem, ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ when the band command the stage like legends.
In 2013, Arctic Monkeys were on the road with their fifth record AM when the tragic news hit of the sad passing of Velvet Underground’s principal songwriter and one of the all-time iconic figures of alternative rock and roll, Lou Reed had died.
His death sent shockwaves across the music industry. While not celebrated during their peak, the Velvet Underground were undoubtedly one of the most important bands of all time with Reed a pivotal figure in it. That’s not to mention Reed’s impeccable solo career. Faced with the news and a stadium full of people, the band did what they knew best and transferred their feelings, without a soundbite comment or fancy flourish, into an honest and authentic tribute to the late musician.
Performing Reed’s beautifully simplistic cut has always rang true for the ‘outsiders’ of this world and has become an anthemic moment in music. Taken from 1972’s Transformer Turner lets his vocal rest and has the lyrics and the emotion of the moment deliver all the theatrics.
The performance is a tender and vulnerable rendition of the song. The track’s simple two-chord structure is strummed away by Turner with some backing from the band while the sombre sentiment of the performance hangs heavy.
It only breaks for a moment when Turner encourages the celebration of Reed by asking the crowd for a little more in the “doo-doo-doo-doo”. Despite the sullen atmosphere of the song, the band offers up a brief refrain from the rest of their pulsating show to add a little tenderness to the set and, in turn, pay tribute to a musical legend.
The fact that the Arctic Monkeys chose to perform the track shows that they not only saw Reed as inspiration but also conveyed the feeling of the room with their enigmatic performance.
Watch below as the Arctic Monkeys cover Lou Reed’s ‘Walk on the Wild Side’.