Lou Reed

Lou Reed (Louis Firbank) was born on this day, 2nd March 1942.
He was an American guitarist, singer and songwriter. He was co-founder and the front man of the rock group the Velvet Underground, a band managed by Andy Warhol.
He had also a successful solo career spanning several decades.
In 1982, around his 40th birthday, he released “The Blue Mask” an album to which the song “The Day John Kennedy Died” belongs

I dreamed I was the president of these United States
I dreamed I replaced ignorance, stupidity and hate
I dreamed the perfect union and a perfect law, undenied
And most of all I dreamed I forgot the day John Kennedy died

I dreamed that I could do the job that others hadn’t done
I dreamed that I was uncorrupt and fair to everyone
I dreamed I wasn’t gross or base, a criminal on the take
And most of all I dreamed I forgot the day John Kennedy died
Oh, the day John Kennedy died

I remember where I was that day, I was upstate in a bar
The team from the university was playing football on TV
Then the screen went dead and the announcer said,
“There’s been a tragedy
There’s are unconfirmed reports the president’s been shot
And he may be dead or dying.”

Talking stopped, someone shouted, “What!?”
I ran out to the street
People were gathered everywhere saying,
Did you hear what they said on TV
And then a guy in a Porsche with his radio hit his horn
And told us the news
He said, “The president’s dead, he was shot twice in the head
In Dallas, and they don’t know by whom.”

I dreamed I was the president of these United States
I dreamed I was young and smart and it was not a waste
I dreamed that there was a point to life and to the human race
I dreamed that I could somehow comprehend that someone shot him in the face
Oh, the day John Kennedy died.

“The Day John Kennedy Died” was written and recorded by Lou Reed and included on his 1982 album The Blue Mask.

Lou Reed begins this song by describing an idyllic dream he had. In his dream he is president of the United States and uses his position to create a fair society. But what is very important is to forget that John F. Kennedy was assassinated, an event that contradicts the possibility of realizing the imagined ideal society.
He then recalls his memory of the day Kennedy died. He remembers he was in a bar watching football on television when an announcer broke in and announced the tragedy. He could not believe the news, so he ran into the street where others were gathering. But a car horn was heard and a person in a Porsche reported the President’s death.

It has become a cliché, but a lot of people of a certain age remember John F Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, and can say exactly what they were doing when they heard the terrible news.

In the end Lou Reed tries to reconcile this news with his dream but the final image is of the president being shot in the face.

Il giorno in cui morì John Kennedy

Ho sognato che ero il presidente di questi Stati Uniti
ho sognato di aver sostituito l’ignoranza, la stupidità e l’odio
ho sognato l’unione perfetta e la legge perfetta, irrefutabile
e più di tutto ho sognato di aver dimenticato quel giorno in cui mori John Kennedy

Ho sognato che riuscivo a fare il lavoro che altri non avevano fatto
ho sognato che non ero corrotto e che ero giusto con tutti
ho sognato che non ero volgare o indegno, un criminale corruttibile
e più di tutto ho sognato di aver dimenticato il giorno in cui morì John Kennedy

Ricordo dove ero quel giorno ero in un bar su al nord,
una squadra universitaria giocava a football alla televisione
poi lo schermo si schiarì e l’annunciatore disse
“C’è stata una tragedia
ci sono giunte notizie non confermate che hanno sparato al presidente
e che forse è già morto o sta per morire.”

Le chiacchiere si fermarono. qualcuno gridò “Che cosa?!”
corsi fuori in strada
dappertutto si era radunata della gente che diceva
“Avete sentito che cosa hanno detto alla tv?”
e poi un uomo su una Porsche con la radio accesa cominciò a suonare il clacson
e ci diede la notizia
disse «Il presidente è morto, gli hanno sparato due volte nella testa
a Dallas, e non si sa chi è stato.»

Ho sognato che ero il presidente di questi Stati Uniti
ho sognato che ero giovane e brillante e che tutto questo non era uno spreco
ho sognato che esiste un punto di svolta per la vita e la razza umana
ho sognato che potevo in qualche modo comprendere perché qualcuno
gli avesse potuto sparare in faccia quel giorno in cui morì John Kennedy

77 thoughts on “Lou Reed

      1. I confess that I couldn’t work it out at once, also because in the lyrics of this song the word “perfect” is mentioned several times. Now I have realized it wasn’t that difficult to interpret your coded messages. 😉😘

        Liked by 2 people

      2. It just goes to show how the written word can be easily misinterpreted, which is why I often finish with a smiley 🙂
        I do like the way you explain the meaning of the songs. It’s a smashing idea and the words can’t be misinterpreted either. Great stuff. Thank you 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Anche lui ci ha lasciato.
    Sono andata a controllare la data: era luglio del 2011 il suo concerto che mi sono regalata per il mio compleanno.
    Grazie Luisa come sempre di questi miei Flashback che mi regali🌹

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Uno dei miei rocker preferiti di sempre. Ho avuto la fortuna di vederlo in concerto 2 volte qui a Bologna: la prima direi nel 1980, la seconda con i riuniti Velvet Underground nel 1993. Indimenticabili serate entrambe.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Who was alive at the time, and do not remember the day JFK was killed? I was ten years of age, living with my family at our Maternal Grandmother’s town, we live there for just a few months, but remember clearly, an old man who used to run errands for my Grandmother, coming on his pick-up truck around midday yelling: “They shot Kennedy, they shot Kennedy, they murdered him!”
    He heard it on the radio.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Uno dei miei artisti preferiti, adoro la sua voce. In particolare Transformer mi è molto caro per un’amore passato 🙂


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