Pale Blue Eyes

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"Pale Blue Eyes"
Song by The Velvet Underground
from the album The Velvet Underground
ReleasedMarch 1969 (1969-03)
Songwriter(s)Lou Reed
Producer(s)The Velvet Underground

"Pale Blue Eyes" is a song written and sung by Lou Reed and performed by The Velvet Underground. He recorded a demo with John Cale in May 1965. It was included on the band's 1969 album The Velvet Underground.

Despite the name, "Pale Blue Eyes" was written about someone whose eyes were hazel, as Reed notes in his book Between Thought and Expression.[3] The song is said to have been inspired by Shelley Albin, Reed's first love, who at the time was married to another man.[4]


Notable cover versions[edit]

"Pale Blue Eyes" has been covered by a number of artists[5] in addition to Lou Reed and Maureen Tucker from Velvet Underground:

In popular culture[edit]

An instrumental version of the song was used in Julian Schnabel's 2007 film The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.[8] The song was also used in a scene of the 2008 film August,[9] as well as 2009's Adventureland,[10] the 2000 film The Vertical Ray of the Sun,[11] and the 2015 film Regular Show: The Movie.

The song drives the plot in the 1997 South Korean romance film The Contact, in which a radio DJ receives an anonymous package containing the album The 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 episodes of Crossing Jordan, Fringe and The Deuce.

The Killers paid tribute to Lou Reed on the day of his death by performing this song at the inaugural Life Is Beautiful Music & Art Festival in Las Vegas.[12]

Aziz Ansari used the song in his 2019 Netflix stand-up comedy special Aziz Ansari: Right Now.

The song was featured in the third episode of Season 2, of the Netflix series Sex Education.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Unterberger, Richie (June 1, 2009). White Light/White Heat: The Velvet Underground Day-By-Day. Jawbone Press. p. 212. ISBN 978-1-906002-22-0.
  2. ^ a b Brown, Bill (December 2013). Words and Guitar: A History of Lou Reed's Music. Colossal Books. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-615-93377-1.
  3. ^ Reed, Lou (1991). Between Thought and Expression: Selected Lyrics of Lou Reed. Hyperion. pp. 23. ISBN 1562829238.
  4. ^ Bockris, Victor (1994). Transformer: The Lou Reed Story. Simon & Schuster. pp. 164. ISBN 0684803666.
  5. ^ "Pale Blue Eyes". allmusic. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
  6. ^ "Ask For It by Hole". CD Universe. Retrieved 26 August 2011.
  7. ^ The Kills - "Pale Blue Eyes" on Indie Shuffle's music blog
  8. ^ Full Credits for "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)" (Retrieved on March 22, 2008)
  9. ^ "August (2008) Soundtracks". IMDb. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
  10. ^ "Adventureland (2009) Soundtracks". IMDb. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
  11. ^ "The Vertical Ray of the Sun (2000) Soundtracks". IMDb. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
  12. ^ Docter, Rebecca (30 October 2013). "The Killers Pay Tribute to Lou Reed". Under the Gun Review. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 19 November 2014.