January 20, 2010

Digging For Covers: "Pale Blue Eyes"

Recorded for the Velvet Underground's 1969 eponymous third record, "Pale Blue Eyes" is a near six-minute drifting classic Lou Reed penned after his college sweetheart, Shelly Albin. The song's been covered numerous times by everyone from Patti Smith to the Counting Crows, but the best versions add something new. In M. Ward's live cover, he adds a surprising high note to the chorus. In R.E.M.'s 1984 "So. Central Rain (I'm Sorry)" b-side, Michael Stipe polishes off a country twang for his delivery. Alejandro Escovedo keeps his cover basic with just an acoustic guitar, but it nicely emphasizes Reed's potent vocals.

M. Ward - "Pale Blue Eyes"
R.E.M. - "Pale Blue Eyes"
Alejandro Escovedo - "Pale Blue Eyes"

The Velvet Underground


  1. This was not their "debut" album... that would be the "VU and Nico" with the banana cover. This was the 3rd album and John Cale was already out of the band. Otherwise nice post...

  2. @Anonymous Snap, you're quite right of course. A careless slip by me and thank you for catching it.