Andy's Chest

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About Andy's Chest

"Andy's Chest" is a song written by Lou Reed, inspired by the 1968 attempt on Andy Warhol's life. In June 1968, radical feminist writer Valerie Solanas shot Warhol and Mario Amaya, art critic and curator, at Warhol's studio. The band The Velvet Underground of which Reed was a member, initially recorded the song in 1969, but the definitive version appears on Lou Reed's 1972 own release: Transformer, co-produced by David Bowie and Mick Ronson. The original 1969 recording of the song, eventually released on the album VU in 1985, is an upbeat pop track. The widely known arrangement that appears on Transformer is more down tempo and layered, and features the characteristic bass style of Herbie Flowers, and prominent backing vocals by David Bowie. This song is a tribute to Reed's mentor and lifelong friend Andy Warhol. Warhol had extensively supported Reed’s group: the Velvet Underground through financing, promotion, bookings, and designing the band’s legendary debut album cover. Eventually resenting Warhol’s degree of control, (Warhol had inserted Nico into the band's line-up infuriating Reed and band member John Cale), in 1967 the Velvet Underground broke with Nico, Warhol and the whole NY art scene in which they had become entrenched to pursue a rock tour and planning of their second album: White Light/White Heat. Andy Warhol was shot by radical feminist Valerie Solanas, immediately after the split, and only narrowly survived the ordeal. Reed’s song was written in sympathy and in thanks to Warhol. The title indicates to the substantial scar across Warhol’s chest (the shot went through both lungs, spleen, stomach, liver, and esophagus) and also refers to Warhol’s factory, a fantastic menagerie of bizarre, wonderful and precarious characters that the song's surreal lyrics describe. 


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If I could be anything in the world that flew
I would be a bat and come swooping after you
And if the last time you were here, things were a bit askew
Well, you know what happens after dark
When rattlesnakes loose their skins and their hearts
And all the missionaries loose their bark
All the trees are calling after you
And all the venom snipers after you
Are all the mountains boulder after you

If I could be anything of the things in this world that bite
Instead of being a tethered ocelot on a leash
I'd rather be your kite
And be tied to the end of your string
And flying in the air, babe, at night
Because you know what they say about honey bears
When you shave off all their baby hair
You've got a hairy minded big bare bear
And all the bells are rolling out for you
And stones are all erupting out for you
And all the cheap bloodsuckers are flying after you

Yesterday, Daisy Mae and Biff were grooving down the street
And just like in a movie, her hands became her feet
Her belly button was her mouth
Which meant she tasted what she'd speak
But the funny thing is what happened to her nose
It grew until it reached all of her toes
Now, when people say her feet smell, they mean her nose
And curtains laced with diamonds, dear, for you
And kingdom's Christian sailors (soldiers), dear, for you
And melting ice cap mountains, dear, for you
And knights in flaming silver robes for you
And bats, that with a kiss turn prince for you
Swoop, swoop, oh, baby, rock, rock

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Lou Reed

Lewis Allan "Lou" Reed (born March 2, 1942) is an American rock musician, songwriter, and photographer. He is best known as guitarist, vocalist, and principal songwriter of The Velvet Underground, and for his solo career, which has spanned several decades. Though the Velvet Underground were a commercial failure in the late 1960s, the group has gained a considerable cult following in the years since its demise and has gone on to become one of the most widely cited and influential bands of the era. As the Velvet Underground's principal songwriter, Reed wrote about subjects of personal experience that rarely had been examined so openly in rock and roll, including sexuality and drug culture. more »

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