Satellite of Love

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"Satellite of Love"
Single by Lou Reed
from the album Transformer
B-side"Vicious"
ReleasedFebruary 1973
GenreGlam Rock, art rock
Length3:42
LabelRCA
Writer(s)Lou Reed
ProducerDavid Bowie and Mick Ronson
Lou Reed singles chronology
"Walk on the Wild Side"
(1972)
"Satellite of Love"
(1973)
"Vicious"
(1973)
 
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"Satellite of Love"
Single by Lou Reed
from the album Transformer
B-side"Vicious"
ReleasedFebruary 1973
GenreGlam Rock, art rock
Length3:42
LabelRCA
Writer(s)Lou Reed
ProducerDavid Bowie and Mick Ronson
Lou Reed singles chronology
"Walk on the Wild Side"
(1972)
"Satellite of Love"
(1973)
"Vicious"
(1973)

"Satellite of Love" is one of Lou Reed's best-known songs from his solo career. It is the second single from his 1972 album Transformer. At the time of its release it did not achieve any chart success, though it later became a staple of his concerts and compilation albums.

Contents

Background and recording

The song is about a man who observes a satellite launch on television and contemplates what Reed describes as feelings of "the worst kind of jealousy" about his unfaithful girlfriend. The chorus is:

I watched it for a little while
I love to watch things on TV
Satellite of love
Satellite of love

David Bowie, who produced the album, can be heard providing background vocals, especially at the final chorus. Reed would write later: "He has a melodic sense that's just well above anyone else in rock & roll. Most people could not sing some of his melodies. He can really go for a high note. Take 'Satellite of Love,' on my Transformer album. There's a part at the very end where his voice goes all the way up. It's fabulous."[1]

Often considered a Reed solo song, it was originally recorded by The Velvet Underground. The band played the song at concerts and recorded it during the 1970 sessions for their album Loaded, though like many of the songs recorded during those sessions, it does not appear on the album. The existence of the VU version was largely unknown and even forgotten by the band members themselves until the release of the box set Peel Slowly and See in 1995. It also appears on the 1997 Rhino Records 2-CD version of the Loaded album.

In addition to being more up-tempo, the VU version contains a significant change in the lyrics. The lines:

I've been told that you've been bold
With Harry, Mark, and John
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday to Thursday
With Harry, Mark, and John

were originally recorded as:

I've been told baby you've been bold
With Winkin, Blinkin, and Nod
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday to Thursday
To Winkin, Blinkin, and Nod

On the original lyrics, Reed said "Jesus. Best left forgotten. Obviously, I didn't want to use real names yet. I probably wanted to make sure I wasn't using a name that really meant something to me."

Cover versions

Cultural references

References

  1. ^ Lou Reed. "100 Greatest Artits: David Bowie". Rolling Stone. Consulted on October 3, 2011.