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Classic Albums - Lou Reed: Transformer


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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This episode of the CLASSIC ALBUMS series takes a track-by-track look at the making of the record with both Reed and his engineer Ken Scott poring over the original multi-tracks for the album. Additionally, there is archival footage of the Velvet Underground, an interview with the Eurythmics' Dave Stewart and a discussion with bassist Herbie Flowers about the origins of the famous bassline for "Walk on the Wild Side."

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This installment of the Classic Albums series looks at the making of Lou Reed's seminal glam-rock solo album, Transformer, featuring a relaxed Reed (though decidedly less glam than he was in '72) looking like he's having the time of his life as he reminisces and isolates separate tracks to illustrate how the album came together. Bassist Herbie Flowers demonstrates how he recorded the swingy, impossibly catchy bass riff in "Walk on the Wild Side," and coproducer David Bowie makes a brief appearance, as do many of Reed's contemporaries and fellow musicians. Many express delight that the tracks sound as fresh as they did when they were recorded, especially "Vicious" and "Perfect Day." DVD bonus interviews include a fascinating tale from Reed on how he first met Andy Warhol--while he and the Velvet Underground were playing in a seedy Village café, being attacked by drunken sailors offended by one of their songs. --Anne Hurley

Special Features

  • Bonus interviews: The Velvet Underground, Waiting for the Man, Meeting Andy Warhol, Vicious, Recording Transformer in London, Lou "The Poet," "Walk on the Wildside" Bass, Perfect Day & Satellite of Love, The Three Chords

Product Details

  • Directors: Bob Smeaton
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: December 4, 2001
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005QJIB
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,038 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By James Baker on February 16, 2002
Format: DVD
I tip my hat again and again to the makers of the Classic Albums series for including Transformer, a seminal album in the career of Lou Reed and of the glam rock genre. As in the other titles of this series, you are treated to interviews with the session musicians, producers, and engineers who took part in making the record, as well as rock critics who, as always, are more than happy to interpret another's intentions.
The true highlight of this DVD is the input of Reed himself, who seems to be completely enjoying himself, talking about the making of the album, sitting at the mixing board isolating various tracks, and playing some of the tunes solo. His dry wit will break you up, guaranteed. On top of this, there is plenty of concert footage from the early seventies, although sadly with no audio. Bowie fans should also take note that there is some very rare Ziggy Stardust footage here, but unfortunately the only Bowie interview clips to be found are few and far between, taken from the PBS biography of Reed produced five years ago. But this is a small gripe. If you have any interest in Reed you should see this.\
Now.. If they would only do Ziggy Stardust....
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Gsorme on March 17, 2005
Format: DVD
Very informative and enjoyable piece. Made me enjoy the album even more, given the fresh insights from the players. Neat bits with Herbie Flowers (bass), Ken Scott (engineer), and others, including Lou, of course. Reed seemed quite human, approachable, and humble. Only brief snippets of interviews with Bowie. A special treat was the chance to see some brief interview clips with Mick Ronson and to hear Lou talk about him. I want an entire DVD of Mick!

Well worth a watch or three.
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By Gregor von Kallahann on December 30, 2013
Format: DVD
OK, so I'm probably in the minority here, but TRANSFORMER never really was my favorite Lou Reed album, but for many people--those who need landmarks--this was THE Lou Reed album, just as THE VELVET UNDERGROUND AND NICO remains THE Velvet Underground. Hardly matters anyway. I'm actually quite glad that there's at least one Reed record that remains something of a cultural touchstone to this day. And to some extent, a documentary like this helps even someone as skeptical as me see why.]

And you can't deny that there's something new to be learned from this doc. I mean, "Walk On the Wild Side," was famously about Warhol habitues, but what always puzzled me was the focus on people like Holly Woodlawn, Joe Dallesandro and Candy Darling, who to my knowledge, were relative latecomers to the Factory scene and were not the likely the people Lou hung around with in '67. Lou, famously, claimed to write about the people he KNEW--a claim that's reiterated a few times in the course of this film. BUT when D'Alessandro and Woodlawn are actually interviewed on the camera here, they maintain that that--honored as they were to have inspired the song's composer--they scarcely knew the guy. Turns out, that he knew them--and their personae--mainly from the movies that they made with Warhol wannabe, Paul Morrissey. In other words, Lou scarcely wasn't REALLY writing about people he knew: he was writing about people he's seen in the movies. He scarcely knew them any better than we did. Difference is, he got a great song out of it.

I never thought that "Satellite Of Love" was about a stalker either. Well, that's mainly ROLLING STONE critic David Fricke maintains. Lou's a little more circumspect in his own interpretation of his own work.
Read more ›
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Format: DVD
I really enjoyed this documentary about one of Lou's seminal albums. There's a lot of nice interviews with all the musicians involved (i didn't know John Halsey from the Beatles parody group, The Rutles had played on Transformer!) Also check out the American Legends series documentary on Lou called Rock n Roll Heart.
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By Carolyn K McCanna on July 19, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
If you are a fan of Lou Reed and this album in particular then this is a must have DVD. The interviews with Lou are very good and seeing up close how this album was made is insightful.
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