Lou Reed

Transformer [Video/DVD]

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As part of the |Classic Albums series, the 2001 DVD Transformer examines in great detail one of Reed's finest (and probably best-known) post-Velvet Underground solo albums. Originally issued in 1972, the album catapulted Reed from cult rocker to the mainstream, as Reed met glam rock head on with producers David Bowie and Mick Ronson overseeing the proceedings (and even making cameo appearances throughout). The 50-minute documentary features interviews with most of the album's participants, including a chat with Ronson shortly before he succumbed to cancer in 1993, bare acoustic versions of the songs played solo by Reed in 2001, as well as archival photographs (besides a few brief video clips, unfortunately no substantial live video footage from the time of the album's release is included). Highlights include Reed and others explaining the origins of the songs, their meanings, and where Reed was at during this period of his career (he had just re-emerged from a short-lived self-imposed exile back to normal life in a suburb of New York). Included as a bonus are extra interview clips that didn't make the documentary, which pushes the running time upwards toward the 80-minute mark. The Transformer edition of the |Classic Albums video/DVD series is essential viewing for Reed fans.