Andy's Chest

Album: Transformer (1972)
  • "Andy's Chest" is about the American artist Andy Warhol. Those who aren't art enthusiasts may know him for both his 1968 prediction that everyone will be famous for 15 minutes, and for his iconic prints of Campbell's Soup cans. He was a wildly successful creator and businessman, and he remains an influential cultural figure. He was also instrumental in launching Lou Reed's music career.

    In 1966 and '67, Warhol held a series of multimedia events called Exploding Plastic Inevitable. He gave Reed and Reed's band, The Velvet Underground, their first big break by featuring them in the Plastic Inevitable. Reed was always grateful to Warhol and expressed respect and appreciation for him for the rest of his life.

    In 1968, a woman named Valerie Solanos tried to kill Warhol in his studio, firing three shots into his chest - she had beef with Warhol because he didn't produce one of her scripts. Solanos was later deemed to have paranoid schizophrenia; Warhol nearly died, but a five-hour surgery saved him.

    The attack left a large scar on Warhol's chest, which is referenced in this song. The rest of the song is a humorous but sincere salute to Warhol.
  • Reed wrote this while still with The Velvet Underground in 1969. They recorded it, but the first version released was on Reed's solo Transformer album.
  • David Bowie produced this track and sang background vocals. Longtime Bowie associate Mick Ronson assisted with the production and played guitar.

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