Remember when, in the ’80s, Lou Reed, of all people, appeared in an ad for some sort of scooter? This was kind of odd – not only because it sort of predated the trend of rock stars in advertising, but also because Lou had just put out what amounted to an entire album on the joys of motorcycling (New Sensations), whereas scooters seemed rather…trivial…next to actual motorcycles.
Of course, Lou wasn’t the first major recording artist to be heavily influenced by motorcycles – arguably, Bob Dylan’s infamous fall from his motorcycle in 1966 led to a drastic revision in his sonic approach: while his last pre-crash recording, Blonde on Blonde, still hewed largely to the carnival-like sound characterizing his early peak Highway 61 Revisited, even that album heralded a renewed simplicity in its inclusion of several storied Nashville session musicians. The first album after the crash, Nashville Skyline, was suitably haunted and autumnal: the first serious hint of mortality in the Dylan catalog, a feature everpresent from that moment on.
(Okay, yes: this post is a bit of a metapost: as many of you know, Blogger’s sample labels for posts are “scooters, vacation, fall,” so I wrote a post intentionally using all three concepts…)