Hey Lou

Album: Soberish (2021)
Play Video


  • Liz Phair had a love story on her mind when she wrote this upbeat tune, but it wasn't her own. She was thinking about Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson. The late Velvet Underground frontman and the avant-garde performer met in 1992 and were married from 2008 until Reed's death from liver disease in 2013. Their union captured the imagination of their fans, including Phair. "Have you ever wondered what love looks like for your favorite celebrity couple behind closed doors?" she asked. "'Hey Lou' imagines a day in the life of two music legends, whose union was an inspiration for rock bands and a source of curiosity for die hard romantics."
  • This is the second single from Phair's seventh studio album, Soberish, her first full-length release in over a decade. "Hey Lou" dropped two years after the first single, "Good Side."
  • Singing from the perspective of Anderson, Phair imagines the singer lovingly keeping her cantankerous husband in line when he's "acting like an asshole" and rambling on about his falling out with Andy Warhol (the iconic Pop artist who discovered the Velvet Underground and was their early manager). She also worries over his drug addiction resurfacing, asking "Are you on the junk again?" when his eyes look unusually red. But she holds him accountable with a reference to Anderson's 1981 hit "O Superman," singing:

    Oh superman
    I've done as much I can
    You're not the life of the party
  • When Anderson gave an acceptance speech on Reed's behalf for his 2015 induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, she shared the couple's "three rules to live by." She said:

    "And the first one is: One. Don't be afraid of anyone. Now, can you imagine living your life afraid of no one? Two. Get a really good bullshit detector. And three. Three is be really, really tender. And with those three things, you don't need anything else."
  • The Toben Seymour-directed music video imagines Anderson and Reed as puppets who go through their daily routine of drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes, making music, and arguing about Andy Warhol (who's represented as a wild-haired puppet clad in a black turtleneck and sunglasses). Seymour, a director/puppeteer, also helmed clips for Will.i.am ("Heartbreaker"), Norah Jones ("Young Blood"), and Jesse McCartney ("Shake").
  • This reunited Phair with Brad Wood, who co-produced her debut album, Exile In Guyville (1993).


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Barney Hoskyns Explores The Forgotten History Of Woodstock, New York

Barney Hoskyns Explores The Forgotten History Of Woodstock, New YorkSong Writing

Our chat with Barney Hoskyns, who covers the wild years of Woodstock - the town, not the festival - in his book Small Town Talk.

Phil Hurtt ("I'll Be Around")

Phil Hurtt ("I'll Be Around")Songwriter Interviews

Phil was a songwriter, producer and voice behind many Philadelphia soul classics. When disco hit, he got an interesting project: The Village People.

Spooner Oldham

Spooner OldhamSongwriter Interviews

His keyboard work helped define the Muscle Shoals sound and make him an integral part of many Neil Young recordings. Spooner is also an accomplished songwriter, whose hits include "I'm Your Puppet" and "Cry Like A Baby."

George Clinton

George ClintonSongwriter Interviews

When you free your mind, your ass may follow, but you have to make sure someone else doesn't program it while it's wide open.

Charles Fox

Charles FoxSongwriter Interviews

After studying in Paris with a famous composition teacher, Charles became the most successful writer of TV theme songs.

Billy Joe Shaver

Billy Joe ShaverSongwriter Interviews

The outlaw country icon talks about the spiritual element of his songwriting and his Bob Dylan mention.