Rock 'n' Roll Animal

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Rock 'n' Roll Animal
Live album by
ReleasedFebruary 1974 (1974-02)
RecordedDecember 21, 1973 (1973-12-21)
VenueHoward Stein's Academy of Music, New York City
Length40:32 (original)
48:12 (remaster)
Lou Reed chronology
Rock 'n' Roll Animal
Sally Can't Dance
Singles from Rock n Roll Animal
  1. "Sweet Jane (Live)"
    Released: 1974
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars [3]
Chicago Tribune2.5/4 stars[4]
Christgau's Record GuideA–[5]
Rolling Stone(not rated)[6]
The Rolling Stone Record Guide5/5 stars[7]

Rock 'n' Roll Animal is a live album by American musician Lou Reed, released in February 1974 by RCA Records. In its original form, it features five songs, four of which were initially recorded by The Velvet Underground. Reed's band included Pentti Glan (drums), Prakash John (bass), Ray Colcord (keyboards), and Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter (guitars). (The two guitarists would later form the basis of the first Alice Cooper solo band, beginning on Welcome to My Nightmare, which also features Glan and John.)

The album was recorded live on December 21, 1973 (1973-12-21), at Howard Stein's Academy of Music in New York City. A sleeper hit, it peaked at No. 26 in the UK and No. 45 on the Billboard 200 album chart during a 28-week stay before earning Reed's first RIAA gold certification in 1978.[8][9]


Paul Nelson of Rolling Stone magazine was in attendance that night. Writing about Rock 'n' Roll Animal and its sequel, Lou Reed Live, which were both recorded at the same show, he recalled: "As it happens, I had seen Reed and a mediocre pickup band at Lincoln Center some months earlier in his first New York non-Velvets appearance and he was tragic in every sense of the word. So, at the Academy, I didn't expect much and when his new band came out and began to play spectacular, even majestic, rock & roll, management's strategy for the evening became clear: Elevate the erratic and unstable punkiness of the centerpiece into punchy, swaggering grandeur by using the best arrangements, sound and musicians that money could buy; the trimmings, particularly guitarists Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter, were awesome enough so that if Reed were merely competent, the concert would be a success. And it was, as one can judge from the resultant albums. The band does not emulate the violent, hypnotic, dope-trance staccato power and subway lyricism of the Velvet Underground, but rather opts for a hard, clean, clear, near-royal Mott the Hoople/Eric Clapton (Layla) opulence and Reed sings out most of the songs in his effective street-talk style. Animal, coming first, naturally contains the best performances ("Intro/Sweet Jane," "White Light/White Heat," the first half of "Rock 'n' Roll")."[10]

Critical reception[edit]

Reviewing in Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981), Robert Christgau said, "At its best, Reed's live music brings the Velvets into the arena in a clean redefinition of heavy, thrilling without threatening to stupefy. 'Lady Day,' the slow one here, would pass for uptempo at many concerts, the made-in-Detroit guitars of Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner mesh naturally with the unnatural rhythms, and Reed shouts with no sacrifice of wit. I could do without Hunter's showboating 'Introduction,' and I've always had my reservations about 'Heroin,' but this is a live album with a reason for living."[5]

NME said, "Rock'n'Roll Animal and Lou Reed Live were the ultimate insults, Reed wrecking the rare beauty and affirmation of his greatest songs by turning them into cliché ridden hack heavy metal mutations."[11]


A remastered version was released on CD in 2000. It featured two tracks not included on the original LP or 1990 CD release.

Further excerpts from the same concert were released in 1975 as Lou Reed Live (between the remastered Rock 'n' Roll Animal and Lou Reed Live the entire show has been released, albeit in a different order than the original concert). This live album's stereo mix puts guitarist Dick Wagner on the right channel, and Steve Hunter on the left; this arrangement is reversed on Lou Reed Live.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Lou Reed, except where noted.

Side one
1."Intro/Sweet Jane"7:55
2."Heroin" 13:05
Side two
3."White Light/White Heat"5:15
4."Lady Day"4:00
5."Rock 'n' Roll"10:15
Remastered release
1."Intro/Sweet Jane"7:48
3."How Do You Think It Feels"3:41
4."Caroline Says I"4:06
5."White Light/White Heat"4:55
6."Lady Day"4:05
7."Rock 'n' Roll"10:21


Adapted from the Rock 'n' Roll Animal liner notes.[12]


Chart performance[edit]


Year Chart Position
1974 Billboard Pop Albums 45


  • France: Gold
  • US: Gold

Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
France (SNEP)[14] Gold 100,000[13]


  1. ^ "Lou Reed and the Tots - Walk On The Wild Side". Paste. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  2. ^ May, Stephen (July 14, 2014). "Lou Reed - Animal Serenade". Pitchfork. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  3. ^ Deming, Mark. Rock 'n' Roll Animal at AllMusic
  4. ^ Kot, Greg (January 12, 1992). "Lou Reed's Recordings: 25 Years Of Path-breaking Music". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  5. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: R". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 10, 2019 – via
  6. ^ Ferris, Timothy (1974-03-28). "Lou Reed: Rock 'N' Roll Animal : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone". Archived from the original on 2009-02-18. Retrieved 3 September 2011.
  7. ^ Marsh, Dave; Swenson, John (Editors). The Rolling Stone Record Guide, 1st edition, Random House/Rolling Stone Press, 1979, p. 318.
  8. ^ "Lou Reed - Chart history - Billboard". Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  9. ^ "Gold & Platinum". Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  10. ^ "Lou Reed Live". Rolling Stone.
  11. ^ Paul Morley. "Lou Reed: I Love It When You Talk Dirty". Rock's Backpages.(Subscription required.)
  12. ^ Rock 'n' Roll Animal (CD booklet). Lou Reed. RCA Records. 1974.CS1 maint: others (link)
  13. ^ "Les Albums Or". SNEP. Archived from the original on 2011-10-18. Retrieved 2011-08-31.
  14. ^ "French album certifications – Lou Reed – Rock 'n' Roll Animal" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique.

External links[edit]