The Velvet Underground

Pale Blue Eyes

Song Review by

Lou Reed wrote "Pale Blue Eyes" -- widely regarded as his greatest-ever ballad -- for a girl he'd been seeing during his time at Syracuse University in the early '60s. Deeply touching, it is almost frighteningly personal; indeed, the first time Reed played it to Sterling Morrison, the guitarist protested, "if I wrote a song like that, I wouldn't make you play it." Hauntingly slow, its stark accompaniment a duet for warm guitar and almost religious tambourine, "Pale Blue Eyes" documents a love that many people have experienced, but few have ever been able to voice so effectively. Even more affecting is what amounts to the punch line, the half-regretful "the fact that you are married only proves you're my best friend." Years later, incidentally, Reed admitted that the song's original inspiration did, in fact, have hazel eyes.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
The Velvet Underground 1969 Polydor 5:39
The Best of the Velvet Underground: Words and Music of Lou Reed 1989 Polydor / Verve 5:39
What Goes On? 1993 Raven 5:45
Peel Slowly and See 1995 Polydor 5:42
Sound of the Suburbs [#1] 1998
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 5:41
20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: Best Of The Velvet Underground 2000 Mercury / Polydor 5:41
Classic Velvet Underground: The Universal Masters Collection 2000 Polygram / Polydor 5:40
City Rocks: New York 2000
Various Artists
Cityrocks 5:42
An Introduction to the Velvet Underground 2001 Polygram 5:43
Gold 2005 Polydor 5:41
Chronicles 2005 Polydor 5:41
The Very Best of the Velvet Underground 2006 Universal / Um3 5:44
The Velvet Underground Story 2006 Polydor / Universal Distribution 5:41
Playlist Plus 2008 Polydor 5:41
Adventureland 2009
Original Soundtrack
Hollywood Records (UK) 5:38
Icon 2011 Polydor 5:39
The Essential Lou Reed 2011 Legacy / RCA 5:38
'60s Summer of Love [UMOD]
Various Artists
UMOD / Universal 5:39
100 Essential Love Songs
Various Artists
Universal Music 5:38