Being Lou Reed in 1972 was a raw deal: two years after walking away from one of the greatest and most influential bands in rock history, he found himself a penniless, strung-out wreck, with a career suddenly and seriously on the wane.
To make matters worse, his self-titled solo debut, released earlier that year, was a monumental flop, a hastily thrown together collection of second rate re-recordings of Velvet Underground outtakes that lacked the intensity and focus of his earlier music. Reed was at a crossroads, unsure of which direction to take his newfound independence.
At the same time, a new trend was emerging across the pond. Glam rock began to flower in 1971, and by the following year had swept up countless British kids, turning them from restless, discontended youths to consummate, androgynous hipsters decked out in platforms, sequins and imposing hair. It was the first mainstream rock movement to openly acknowledge the Velvets' influence, and in Marc Bolan, Ian Hunter and Bryan Ferry, Reed began to see his protégés: the coarse, primal rock 'n' roll he pioneered had found its audience.