Pale Blue Eyes
|"Pale Blue Eyes"|
|Song by The Velvet Underground from the album The Velvet Underground|
TTG Studios, Hollywood
|Genre||Rock, folk rock, art rock|
|Producer||The Velvet Underground|
|The Velvet Underground track listing|
"Pale Blue Eyes" was surprisingly written about someone whose eyes were hazel, as Reed notes in his book Between Thought and Expression.
The song is 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".
When deciding on a song to play for the first reunion of The Velvet Underground at the Fondation Cartier in 1990, Lou Reed initially said he wanted to play "Pale Blue Eyes", but when someone reminded him that the song was from after John Cale's tenure with the band, Reed declared "then it will have to be Heroin".
Notable cover versions
- Patti Smith performed the song live from the 1960s throughout the 1970s.
- Edwyn Collins recorded the song with Paul Quinn and released it as a single in 1984.
- R.E.M. covered the song for their 1987 album Dead Letter Office.
- Marisa Monte has a cover of the song on her 1994 album Verde, Anil, Amarelo, Cor de Rosa e Carvão (a.k.a. Rose and Charcoal).
- Hole covered the song live at the Whiskey A Go Go in February 1992, and frontwoman Courtney Love introduced it as "the original new waver". Hole's version included lyrically-altered verses but retained the chorus lyrics and chord progression. The recording eventually ended up on the band's first EP, Ask for It (1995).
- Alejandro Escovedo includes a live cover of the song–a duet with Kelly Hogan—on his 1999 release Bourbonitis Blues.
- Counting Crows covered the song several times at live shows in 2003 and later.
- The Kills recorded the song in 2010, releasing it as a B-side in early 2012
- G. Love recorded the song on his 2011 album Fixin' to Die.
- Andrea Corr performed "Pale Blue Eyes" on her 2011 album Lifelines.
- Schiller on their 2012 album Sonne remixed Andrea Corr's cover.
- Metric, accompanied by Lou Reed, performed "Pale Blue Eyes" at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on September 23, 2012.
- The Killers performed "Pale Blue Eyes" at the Life Is Beautiful festival on October 27, 2013 as a memorial to Lou Reed.
- Elizabeth Cook performed a country version on Late Show With David Letterman on June 2, 2014.
In Popular Culture
An instrumental version of the song was used in Julian Schnabel's 2007 film The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. The song was also used in a scene of the 2008 film August, as well as 2009's Adventureland, and the 2000 film The Vertical Ray of the Sun.
The song drives the plot in the 1997 South Korean romance film The Contact, where a radio DJ receives an anonymous package containing the album Velvet Underground and plays Pale Blue Eyes, hoping to reconnect with his former lover.
The song and the LP version of the album were both featured in an episode of the 2009-2010 South Korean sitcom High Kick Through the Roof. The characters Shin Sekyung (Shin Se-kyung) and Lee Jihoon (Daniel Choi) listened to the song a number of times in a record bar and a cafe which Jihoon had often frequented as a college student. Later, Sekyung purchased the record as a souvenir; in a subsequent episode, she gave the record to Jihoon as a birthday gift.
The original song was featured during the final scenes of the January 25, 2009 episode of Cold Case (CBS) entitled "The Brush Man". This program regularly features music popular during the time when the cold case being investigated had occurred. Although the murder in this episode occurred in 1967, "Pale Blue Eyes" was recorded in 1969. The song was also featured in an episode of Crossing Jordan and an episode of Fringe.
The Killers paid tribute to Lou Reed on the day of his passing by performing this song at the inaugural Life is Beautiful Fesitival in Las Vegas.
- "Pale Blue Eyes"[dead link] at Allmusic (Retrieved on June 23, 2007, and again on March 22, 2008)
- "Ask For It by Hole". CD Universe. Retrieved 26 August 2011.
- The Kills - “Pale Blue Eyes” on Indie Shuffle's music blog
- Full Credits for "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)" (Retrieved on March 22, 2008)