Goodnight Ladies

Lou Reed

Song Review by Dave Thompson

The closing track on Lou Reed's 1972 breakthrough Transformer album follows in the spirit of several past Velvet Underground numbers ("Ferryboat Bill," "I'm Sticking With You," "Afterhours") in that it is so utterly different from anything you might be expecting that it is, in a way, all but an archetype.

In this instance, laconic reflection drifts upon a compulsively downbeat "oom-pah" tuba riff, while Reed laments a lonely evening in front of the television with a TV dinner and a droll vision of both what the ladies are doing without him and what he could have done to keep them ("now, if I was an actor, or a dancer who was glamorous"). A mournful clarinet conjures up a suitably smoky nightclub feel and, if Reed had described the song as being influenced by the then newly released movie Cabaret, nobody would have been surprised.

Live, "Goodnight Ladies" turned up as a ramshackle closing number on some of Reed's 1974 live shows, although bootlegs alone capture the moment.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Transformer 1972 BMG 4:31
Rock Galaxy 1983 RCA