Lou Reed Vs. Susan Boyle: When Stars Attack — Each Other!
Susan Boyle is good enough for Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Patty Griffin and Madonna, all of whose songs she covered last year on her debut album, “I Dreamed a Dream.” But does she need to stay clear of Lou Reed? According to the New York Post, the Velvet Underground legend refused to grant Boyle permission to sing his classic “Perfect Day” on the September 8 edition of “America’s Got Talent,” the U.S. version of the U.K. talent search that made Boyle an international superstar last year. His apparent reason for denying Boyle and leaving her in tears: He’s just not that into her.
Poor Susan Boyle. She sold millions of copies of her first release and will presumably repeat the feat when her new album, “The Gift,” is released on November 29. Still, she can’t seem to get a break from her peers. Personally, I’m not that into her either. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with her voice. On the contrary, it’s quite lovely. But then, so are many of the voices I’ve heard on “American Idol,” “Britain’s Got Talent” and “America’s Got Talent.” Boyle does nothing that Celine Dion, Lara Fabian, Tina Arena and Leona Lewis haven’t done before — and better.
I can’t, however, figure out why she brings out the worst in her fellow performers. Recently, Elaine Paige, one of her avowed idols, compared her to a virus. Then Adam Lambert, perhaps still smarting from having his debut album, “For Your Entertainment,” beat by Boyle’s when both were released last November, had this to say about the Scottish singer:
If only it weren’t for Susan Boyle! I’m happy for her success, but that album is terrible. “Wild Horses” is the one that made me laugh the hardest. I just died when I heard it, I was crying with laughter. It was the most horrendous, sacrilegious treatment of that song!
I agree, but shame on them both Lambert and Paige. When it comes to criticizing the work of their fellow artists, pop stars should keep their opinions to themselves. Elton John created a serious rift between him and his friend George Michael when he dismissed Michael’s last album, “Patience,” as being rubbish; M.I.A. recently blasted Lady Gaga, challenging her street cred and calling her a “good mimic”; and Katy Perry has made a second career out of dissing her fellow pop stars, including, of course, Gaga, whose “Alejandro” video she called “blasphemy as entertainment.”
I can get behind John when he says that he fears for Michael’s life (it’s nice to see that those repeat drug arrests have set off someone’s warning bells), and I cheered Perry on when she mercilessly ribbed Kara DioGuardi while guest-judging “American Idol” auditions last season. But I draw the line when pop stars living in glass houses start throwing stones.
At least Lou Reed was smart enough to let his reported Boyle ban do the talking. Or did he? In the end, his reps insisted that he did not deny Boyle the use of his song at all, but that it simply was not cleared in time for use in the United States. Alas, the damage had been done: Boyle’s tears had been shed (unprepared to sing anything else, she returned to London without performing — I guess the show must not always go on), and people will continue to think, as the Post’s source said, that Reed is a non-fan. He certainly wouldn’t be the only one.
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