Rock 'n' Roll Animal

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Rock n Roll Animal
Live album by Lou Reed
Released February 1974 (1974-02)
Recorded December 21, 1973 (1973-12-21)
Venue Howard Stein's Academy of Music, New York
Length 40:32 (original)
48:12 (remaster)
Label RCA Records
Producer Steve Katz, Lou Reed
Lou Reed chronology
Rock n Roll Animal
Sally Can't Dance
(1974)Sally Can't Dance1974
Singles from
Rock n Roll Animal
  1. "Sweet Jane (Live)"
    Released: 1974
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars [3]
Chicago Tribune 2.5/4 stars[4]
Robert Christgau A−[5]
Rolling Stone (not rated)[6]
The Rolling Stone Record Guide 5/5 stars[7]

Rock n Roll Animal is a live album by Lou Reed, released by RCA Records in 1974. In its original form, it features five songs, four of which are Velvet Underground songs. The musicians were Pentti Glan (drums) and Prakash John (bass), Ray Colcord (keyboards), and Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter on guitars. (The two guitarists would later form the basis of the second Alice Cooper 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 #45 on the Billboard album chart during a twenty-eight 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]


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 written by Lou Reed except where noted.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Intro/Sweet Jane" (Steve Hunter, Reed) 7:55
2. "Heroin" 13:05
Side two
No. Title Length
3. "White Light/White Heat" 5:15
4. "Lady Day" 4:00
5. "Rock 'n' Roll" 10:15



  • Gus Mossler - engineer
  • Bruce Somerfeld, Ralph Moss - production assistance
  • Acy Lehman - art direction
  • DeWayne Dalrymple - photography



Year Chart Position
1974 Billboard Pop Albums 45


  • France: Gold
  • US: Gold

Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
France (SNEP)[11] Gold 100,000[12]


  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. ^ "Robert Christgau: CG: Lou Reed". 
  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. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Lou Reed Live". 
  11. ^ "French album certifications – Lou Reed – Rock 'n' Roll Animal" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. 
  12. ^ "Les Albums Or". SNEP. Retrieved 2011-08-31.