Image Credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images; Janet Mayer/PR PhotosShe may not have been allowed to perform it on America’s Got Talent two weeks ago, but Susan Boyle will officially release Lou Reed’s elegiac 1972 ballad “Perfect Day” as the first single from her upcoming second album The Gift, due November 9.
The sweet, church-going lady has taken on substance-tinged rock gods before, crooning lines like “I know I’ve dreamed you a sin and a lie” and “Let’s do some living after we die” when she covered the Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses.”
But Reed’s raw ballad has long been associated, rightly or not, with heroin use—attached to Reed’s own well-documented predelictions, of course, but also, famously, to the 1996 film Trainspotting‘s iconic scene of Ewan McGregor injecting his way to a watery narcotic Narnia.
Boyle is hardly the only one to re-imagine “Perfect Day”: Duran Duran reached the top 30 with their take in 1995, and artists ranging from Patti Smith to Coldplay have recorded or performed the song live.
But does it belong on SuBo’s album alongside Christmas hymns like “Away in a Manger” and “O Holy Night”? (She will also offer her version of Leonard Cohen’s infinitely reproduced “Hallelujah,” perhaps the only song that can claim cover versions by Bob Dylan, Justin Timberlake, Jeff Buckley, Bon Jovi, kd lang, opera star Renee Fleming, and untold numbers of talent-show hopefuls.)
If “Day” does become a hit for the 49-year-old church-choir member and renowned cat lover, it also won’t strictly be a first; Christian pop outfit Sixpence None the Richer made the La’s 1988 single “There She Goes,” long said to be an ode to street opiates, a hit again in 1999.
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