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Walk on the Wild Side
Wows1
single by Lou Reed
B-side "Perfect Day"
Released November 1972
Format 7" single
Length 4.12
Label RCA
Producer David Bowie
Duran Duran cover song

"Walk on the Wild Side" is a Lou Reed song from his 1972 second solo album Transformer.

Duran Duran performed the song with Reed during a charity concert for 'The Association to Benefit Children', at the Beacon Theatre in New York (USA) on 31 August 1987, during The Strange Behaviour Tour.

John Taylor and Nick Rhodes included the song on the four-hour A Night at the Rum Runner radio show which was streamed online in 2000.

About the songEdit

The track was produced by David Bowie, who also sang backing vocals. The song received wide radio coverage, despite its touching on taboo topics such as transsexuality, drugs, male prostitutes and oral sex and the term "colored" to refer to African Americans. It is usually regarded as Reed's best-known solo work. The song reached #16 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, and #10 in the UK. In 2003, the song was ranked #221 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

The lyrics tell of a series of individuals and their journeys to New York City, and refers to several of the regular "superstars" at Andy Warhol's New York studio, The Factory, namely Holly Woodlawn, Candy Darling, Joe Dallesandro, Jackie Curtis and Joe Campbell (referred to in the song by his nickname Sugar Plum Fairy). Candy Darling was also the subject of Reed's song "Candy Says".

Covers, samples and media referencesEdit

The song has been covered by:

  • 1985, by 79-year old veteran German actress Gerty Molzen
  • 1990, by Jamie J. Morgan (#27 in the UK)
  • 1990, by Beat System (#63 in the UK)
  • 1990, by Vanessa Paradis, on the album Variations sur le même t'aime
  • 1993, by comedian Jimeoin, on the album Goin' Off
  • 2004, by Train, on the album Live From The Archives: Vol. 11 (medley of Whole Lotta Love/Ramble On/Walk on the Wild Side)
  • 2005, by artist RX (George W. Bush "singing" a mixture of Lennon's "Imagine" and the chorus from "Walk on the Wild Side")
  • 2006, by Brazilian band Tubaína, on the album Eu fiz MBA! (in Portuguese, as "Walk on Paes de Barros")
  • 2007, by Editors, on the album Rhythms del Mundo Classics
  • 2008, by Jesse Malin, on the album On Your Sleeve
  • 2010, by Yves Klein Blue, on the radio segment "Like a Version" on Triple J radio in Australia

In concert:

  • A short part of WotWS was often used by Bono during performances of "Bad" in the mid-1980s, including Live Aid in London.
  • Moby often plays WotWS; during Exit Festival 2009, he referred to it as "his favourite song about New York."
  • Echo & the Bunnymen often plays WotWS, usually merging it with their song "Nothing Lasts Forever".


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