It’s been a few weeks now since Lou Reed passed away, and tributes to the legendary artist keep rolling in. The sheer volume of bands who chose to honor the late Velvet Underground frontman by covering one of his songs inspired us to revisit some of our favorites from over the years. Thus, without further ado, we give you 25 great Lou Reed/Velvet Underground covers.
25. Glen Campbell, “Jesus”
This one illustrates just how far outside of his wheelhouse Reed’s influence extended. Here the rhinestone cowboy himself does a straight country take on this track off of The Velvet Underground’s self-titled third album.
24. Yo La Tengo, “I’m Set Free”
Released on their rarities compilation, Genius + Love = Yo La Tengo, Ira Kaplan and company’s rendition of “I’m Set Free” remains pretty true to the Velvet Underground original.
23. Karen Elson, “Vicious”
Like Campbell, Karen Elson’s not someone you’d initially expect to be covering Lou Reed. But here she is delivering a surprisingly great cover of Transformer’s opening track, recorded for Record Store Day 2011.
22. Black Lips, Bradford Cox, BBQ, “Run Run Run”
“Run Run Run” is the perfect Velvet Underground song for the Black Lips, and their cover of it is exactly what you’d want from them: a driving good time threatening to fall apart at any moment.
21. The Feelies, “What Goes On”
The Feelies recorded this The Velvet Underground track and used it to close their own third album, Only Life.
20. Arctic Monkeys, “Walk on the Wild Side”
Swap out New York City for Sheffield, England, and the pimps, prostitutes and other victims of circumstance who inhabit your average Arctic Monkeys song (“When the Sun Goes Down,” especially) start to sound a lot like the characters you’d meet in a Lou Reed track. Their recent cover of “Walk on the Wild Side,” then, is a total no-brainer.