Saturday, June 9, 1973

Lou Reed “Satellite of Love” charted

Satellite of Love

Lou Reed

Writer(s): Lou Reed (see lyrics here)

Released: February 1973

First Charted: June 9, 1973

Peak: 119 US, 16 CL, 16 CO, 10 UK, 3 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 1.7 video, 48.73 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

“Satellite of Love” was released as the second single from Lou Reed’s 1972 Transformer album. It didn’t match the success of previous single “Walk on the Wild Side,” reaching only #119 on the Billboard Bubbling Under chart, but became a concert staple and fan favorite. In 2004, a re-release of the song went to #10 in the UK.

The song is about a man witnessing a televised satellite launch and contemplating what Reed called feelings of “the worst kind of jealousy about his unfaithful girlfriend.” WK Reed composed the song in 1970 while still a member of the Velvet Underground. Their version is more uptempo, has some lyrical differences, and does not include the piano line that dominates the version Reed released in 1972.

The Velvet Underground recorded the song in the summer of 1970 during sessions for their Loaded album. However, it didn’t make the cut and wasn’t released until the 1995 Velvet Underground box set Peel Slowly and See and later the 1997 reissue of Loaded, known as Fully Loaded.

The version Reed recorded as a solo artist for the Transformer album included background vocals from David Bowie, who produced the album with Mick Ronson. Reed said of Bowie, “He has a melodic sense that’s just well above anyone else in rock & roll. Most people could not sing some of his melodies…There’s a part at the very end [of ‘Satellite of Love’] where his voice goes all the way up. It’s fabulous.” WK

The Eurythmics, Morrissey, Porno for Pyros, and U2 are among the acts to have recorded the song. Beck performed the song at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony for Lou Reed in 2015.


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First posted 7/23/2022.

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