Satellite Of Love

Album: Transformer (1972)
Charted: 10 119


  • Though this song first saw the light of day on Transformer, it dates back to Reed's band The Velvet Underground, and a version of the song recorded by The Velvet Underground surfaced on the Peel Slowly And See box set. That version is a much harder rocker than the version on Transformer, with a faster tempo, and without the piano line that dominates the later version.

    The lyrics are also different; "I've been told that you've been bold with Harry, Mark and John," Reed sings in the bridge. In the Velvets' take, the three cads came from a 19th century children's poem: Wynken, Blynken and Nod.

    "Best left forgotten," Reed explained of the original lyric in 1994. "I probably wanted to make sure I wasn't using a name that really meant something to me. I mean the song is about the worst kind of jealousy." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    James - Lexington, KY
  • David Bowie, who used lots of space imagery in his own work, produced this track and sang backup vocals.
  • Regular Bowie sideman Mick Ronson played both piano and recorder on this track.
  • In the 1987 Def Leppard hit "Rocket," the line in the chorus, "Satellite of love," is a reference to this song.
  • An updated version titled "Satellite of Love '04" was released in the United Kingdom in 2004, making it to #10 on the singles Chart.
  • Morrissey released a cover of the song following Lou Reed's death on October 27, 2013. The former Smiths frontman's version was recorded at the Chelsea Ballroom at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas in 2011. "He has been there all of my life," wrote Morrissey of the late Velvet Underground vocalist. "He will always be pressed to my heart. Thank God for those, like Lou, who move within their own laws, otherwise imagine how dull the world would be."
  • Beck performed this song at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony when Lou Reed was inducted in 2015.

Comments: 6

  • Greg from Harrington Park, NjU2 did a nice cover of this on their Zoo Tv tour in 1992. At most shows a video recording of Lou Reed would appear on the monitor and it was timed for him him to sing along with Bono. In other performances Lou Reed himself came out and sang the song live with Bono. I was at one of those shows @ Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands in August of 1992. Very trippy and weird lyrics but brilliantly arranged and written. One of my favorites by Lou Reed.
  • Cliff from Oakdale, NyThis song by Lou Reed is featured in the 1998 movie Velvet Goldmine. It is about a David Bowie like rock star. It highlights the age of glam rock
  • John from Indianapolis, InFeatured prominently in the American version of the series "Life on Mars," in the episode "Everyone Knows it's Windy."
  • Doug from Knoxville, TnThis song can also be heard at the end of the popular radio show "The Ron and Fez Show" on Sirius XM radio.
  • Marwan from London,you can clearly hear David Bowie on the backing vocals - he also assisted with the song
  • Lester from New York City, NyThe song's title is, of course, is also the name of the spaceship Joel (then Mike) and the 'bots are held captive on and forced to watch bad movies by the 'Mads down in Deep 13 on 'Mystery Scirnce Theater 3000'.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Soul Train Stories with Stephen McMillianSong Writing

A Soul Train dancer takes us through a day on the show, and explains what you had to do to get camera time.

Chris Frantz - "Genius of Love"They're Playing My Song

Chris and his wife Tina were the rhythm section for Talking Heads when they formed The Tom Tom Club. "Genius of Love" was their blockbuster, but David Byrne only mentioned it once.

Matthew Wilder - "Break My Stride"They're Playing My Song

Wilder's hit "Break My Stride" had an unlikely inspiration: a famous record mogul who rejected it.

Chris Robinson of The Black CrowesSongwriter Interviews

"Great songwriters don't necessarily have hit songs," says Chris. He's written a bunch, but his fans are more interested in the intricate jams.

Songs Discussed in MoviesSong Writing

Bridesmaids, Reservoir Dogs, Willy Wonka - just a few of the flicks where characters discuss specific songs, sometimes as a prelude to murder.

We Will Rock You (To Sleep): Pop Stars Who Recorded Kids' AlbumsSong Writing

With the rise of Kindie rock, more musicians are embracing their inner child with tunes for tots - here, we look at pop stars who recorded kids' albums.