Pale Blue Eyes (live) :: Joseph Arthur



While putting together yesterday’s Saturday playlist I stumbled upon Joseph Arthur’s album of Lou Reed covers entitled Lou. As a Lou Reed and Velvet Underground fan, as well as a lover of covers, I was intrigued to say the least. There are some incredible re-tellings on this album, and Pale Blue Eyes is definitely one of them.

Pale Blue Eyes was written by Lou Reed and performed by The Velvet Underground. It was included on the band’s 1969 album The Velvet Underground. The song was surprisingly written about someone whose eyes were hazel, as Reed notes in his book Between Thought and Expression.

The song was dedicated to Shelley Albin, Reed’s first love, who at the time was married to another man.

The original song has five verses. First verse starts: “Sometimes I feel so happy; sometimes I feel so sad.” The refrain goes: “Linger on your pale blue eyes“.

This version, Arthur’s take on the song, is rife with melancholy and longing that seem core connected to an unrequited wishing for someone else’s love. The lingering, a beat too long when you think that no one is noticing, the kind that speaks volumes without words, permeates in this live rendition.

I love the original, more than I can say, but I find myself loving this one, too– differently.

What do you think? Do you know of another cover of Pale Blue Eyes that you like?


Pale Blue Eyes (live, from 1993 reunion tour) :: The Velvet Underground

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