(RCA Records; 1972)
As summer of 1970 drew to a close Lou Reed, a core member of The Velvet Underground, withdrew from the band after Loaded failed to break into the mainstream.
Two years later, Reed went into a London studio with David Bowie and guitarist Mick Ronson. By December, they released Reed’s breakthrough glam-rock record, Transformer.
Reed had no trouble showing his songwriting prowess: the album was made up of almost all-original material, save four songs that had been recorded or performed during his time with The Velvet Underground.
Transformer features Reed’s signature tune “Walk on the Wild Side.” Despite dealing with transsexuality, drug abuse, and oral sex, Reed made the song a radio hit.
“Perfect Day” features Reed recalling days spent with a lover over a moving piano and sweeping strings. “Goodnight Ladies” closes the album and stands out as Reed’s drawn-out vocals are paired with a rumbling tuba and a brass section.
Transformer was a transformation for Reed; no longer the front man, he was free to become the solo artist he is today.
Trial Track: “Perfect Day”