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"Pale Blue Eyes," written by Lou Reed, is the fourth track from side A of The Velvet Underground, the group's third album. Lou Reed is quoted about this album: "I really didn’t think we should make another White Light/White Heat. I thought it would be a terrible mistake, and I really believed that. I thought we had to demonstrate the other side of us. Otherwise, we would become this one-dimensional thing, and that had to be avoided at all costs." "Pale Blue Eyes" is practically the exhibit-A of this statement. It's calm, relaxing, almost a lullaby. And it's simply a sweet love tune, as opposed to the violent lyrics and drug-soaked imagery of previous efforts.
Guitarist Sterling Morrison is often quoted as calling this album "the closet mix" because it sounds like it was recorded in a closet. But really, the mix actually does songs like "Pale Blue Eyes" justice. It sounds more private and intimate, tailored to the subject matter.
In The Velvet Underground: An Illustrated History of a Walk on the Wild Side
, Sterling Morrison gives his take on this period of the band's history: "[John] Cale's departure allowed Lou Reed's sensitive, meaningful side to hold sway. Why do you think 'Pale Blue Eyes' happened on the third album, with Cale out of there? That's a song about Lou's old girlfriend in Syracuse [University]. I said, 'Lou, if I wrote a song like that, I wouldn't make you play it.' My position on that album was one of acquiescence."
Orange Juice frontman Edwyn Collins and Bourgie Bourgie vocalist Paul Quinn recorded a duet version, which peaked at #72 in the UK in August 1984. The Glasgow pair were classmates between the ages of 11 and 15.
Dave Alvin - "4th Of July"
When Dave recorded the first version of the song with his group the Blasters, producer Nick Lowe gave him some life-changing advice.
Reverend Horton Heat
The Reverend rants on psychobilly and the egghead academics he bashes in one of his more popular songs.
Mark Arm of Mudhoney
When he was asked to write a song for the Singles
soundtrack, Mark thought the Seattle grunge scene was already overblown, so that's what he wrote about.
Julie Gold - "From A Distance"
Julie was a secretary at HBO when she thawed out her childhood piano (literally) and wrote the hit that changed her life.