Lou Reed’s last project is finally seeing release this fall…and it may well be the last word on a major chunk of the late, influential singer-songwriter’s career. Rolling Stone reports that The RCA and Arista Album Collection is due on October 7 from Legacy Recordings. This set spans sixteen albums and seventeen compact discs encompassing Reed’s solo output from 1972-1986 – including such key LPs as the David Bowie-produced Transformer, Berlin and the controversial Metal Machine Music.
The box set contains the following albums, all of which were remastered for this project under the supervision of Reed in the months before his untimely death in October 2013:
- Lou Reed (April 1972)
- Transformer (November 1972)
- Berlin (July 1973)
- Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal (February 1974)
- Sally Can’t Dance (August 1974)
- Metal Machine Music (July 1975)
- Coney Island Baby (December 1975)
- Rock and Roll Heart (October 1976)
- Street Hassle (February 1978)
- Lou Reed Live: Take No Prisoners (November 1978) (2 CDs)
- The Bells (April 1979)
- Growing Up in Public (April 1980)
- The Blue Mask (February 1982)
- Legendary Hearts (March 1983)
- New Sensations (April 1984)
- Mistrial (June 1986)
In addition to the CDs, the box features five 8×10 art prints and a reproduction of a promotional poster. An 80-page book is also enclosed, boasting memorabilia from Reed’s private collection, interviews with Reed and rarely seen artwork and photos and liner notes by co-producer and the artist’s frequent collaborator Hal Willner.
Reed’s widow, musician Laurie Anderson, told Rolling Stone, “Our first date was a trip to the AES (Audio Engineering Society) convention. As wireheads Lou and I loved beautiful recordings and spent years making our studios, instruments and gear the best they could possibly be. Lou put his heart into remastering these records. They are not smoothed out. Sometimes remastering revealed their details and roughness in the most exciting ways. They leap out at you with their original energy. I also love the rare images and the great selection of Lou’s words about his music in this collection,” she commented. “Lou was a superb analyst and sharp critic and the interview excerpts bring back his crazy sense of humor, his generosity and his big view of the world and the meaning of music. Anyone who has loved Lou’s music will be so happy to have this. I’m really grateful to Sony for putting this one out.”
Willner’s liner notes delve further into the process of the box’s creation. “This box set was Lou’s last project,” he explains in his essay. “Everyone who was in that room or around Lou during this period witnessed a beautiful thing as he enthusiastically relived that whole period of his work with the joy of rediscovery, excitedly pointing out subtleties in sounds he hadn’t heard in years. In retrospect, reminiscing about these sessions done less than four months before he died, the moments seem even more magnified.”
The landmark box will be preceded by a Reed tribute being curated by Anderson and Willner at New York’s Lincoln Center. The Bells: A Day Long Celebration of Lou Reed will take place beginning at 10:30 a.m. on July 30 as part of Lincoln Center’s Out of Doors Festival. The RCA and Arista Album Collection arrives from Legacy Recordings on October 7. Pre-order links aren’t yet available, but watch this space!