Berlin is a 1973 album by Lou Reed, his third solo album and the follow-up to Transformer. In 2003, the album was ranked number 344 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, though the magazine had called the album a "disaster" 30 years prior.
Though it was dismissed as morbid and self-indulgent upon its initial 1973 release, critics and audiences alike have come to view Lou Reed's unquestionably grandiose concept album, BERLIN, as one of the high points of his solo career. The album's narrative arc traces the trajectory of a doomed, defiantly self-destructive romance in the modern German city, and pits dark,cabaret influenced orchestration against Reed's deadpan vocals to remarkably chilling effect. The album's bleak, incisive lyrics and unapologetically melodramatic atmosphere would prove influential in the years to come.
Lou Reed was touring in support of Rock and Roll Heart, when he rolled into L.A.'s Roxy and played a set that was recorded for later radio broadcast. Reed and his road band (which included Michael Fonfara on keys and Marty Fogel on sax) sound like they're having a fine time, and with free jazz legend Don Cherry sitting in, the band's frequent jams give this an exploratory feel that sets it apart from some of Reed's other live sets of the period.
In 1972, Lou Reed was a minor cult hero to a handful of rock critics and left-of-center music fans who championed his former band, the Velvet Underground, but he was unknown to the mainstream music audience. By 1986, Reed was a rock & roll icon, widely hailed as a master songwriter and one of the founding fathers of punk, glam, noise rock, and any number of other vital rock subgenres; he even scored a few hits along the way. If you want to know what happened during those 14 years to make such a difference, the answer can be found in The RCA & Arista Album Collection, a 17-disc box set that brings together nearly all of Reed's recorded work from this period…