Pale Blue Eyes - Deer Tick

from the album Mayonnaise (2019)

In recent years, I have developed a romantic vision of a twenty-two year-old Lou Reed, leaving his Long Island home to pursue a songwriting career in NYC.  I imagine his first apartment, somewhere in the East Village or Lower East Side.  I imagine how mighty the shadow of Bob Dylan must have hung over that that music scene in 1964.

I imagine him working at Pickwick Records, trying to write a hit song.  I imagine him meeting John Cale, who would soon become his roommate, and how that introduced him to experimental musical theatre.  Ultimately, they would form the Velvet Underground.

I imagine him walking the city streets.  I imagine the sights and people he met.  I imagine how that helped him evolve his non-judgmental, nearly existential perspective that would one day encourage legions of social outcasts and misfits to form rock and roll bands.

It must have been magical.

Pale Blue Eyes is a song that Lou Reed wrote in the latter stages of his Velvet Underground days; after he had parted ways with John Cale and Andy Warhol.  It was written at a time when his artistic voice was crystalizing.  It is a song of enduring feelings for a lost love.  I adore the second verse and chorus:

Thought of you as my mountaintop
Thought of you as my peak
Thought of you as everything
I've had, but couldn't keep

Linger on your pale blue eyes
Linger on your pale blue eyes

A long line of great bands have covered this song; R.E.M., Patti Smith, and Hole amongst them.

The latest band to take on Pale Blue Eyes is Deer Tick.  Here the song is given an Americana treatment, with John J. McCauley's vocal approximating Tom Petty's and Ian O'Neil's guitar lead evoking phrasing of Jerry Garcia.

It is an excellent rendition and a reminder of just how vital Lou Reed's song remain, fifty years after they were first recorded.

Click Here to listen to Pale Blue Eyes by Deer Tick.

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