Satellite Of Love played many times on the ZOO TV tour (with Lou Reed joining U2 on stage at least once, and on video many times), but hasn’t been played since. That seems odd to me, because I seem to have vivid memories of it playing during 360. What song am I thinking of? There were obviously many faces onscreen during the 360 tour, so not sure which one I’m conflating it with. I’ll have to go back and watch the 360 videos to figure it out.
Pretty obviously the song got onto the ZOO TV setlist because of the lyrics, talking about satellites, “I love to watch things on tv,” that sort of thing really hit the sweet spot of the ZOO TV theme. What surprised me was reading that Velvet Underground reformed and played five dates on the ZOO TV tour as opening act for U2 (as part of their own tour). One of the things I haven’t done yet is look at all the different bands that opened for U2 at some time or other (Pearl Jam!), and bands that U2 opened for. It would be interesting to see how many of those bands went on to their own success later.
Satellite Of Love is a really nice song, easy pace. I never quite got the lyrics though, it is talking about a satellite, then for a few lines it seems to talk about a person (“I’ve been told that you’ve been bold…”) and that doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of it. It is also a fairly simple song, which seems to be developing a kind of theme about songs from the 1960s and 1970s. Was music back in the day a lot more basic than it seems to be now? My earliest recollections of the music that I grew up with is from the early 80s, and I don’t remember it being as repetitive as the older stuff is when I hear it now. I can only guess that in the early days of rock and roll, the music was much more important than the lyrics, because the electric guitar was taking over and people wanted to hear that sound. So something with a beat and a wailing guitar and a singer who was shaking all over the stage got much more attention. It wasn’t until much later that the actual words became interesting, and then you started hearing truly amazing lyrics, poetry in many cases.
Many of the people that U2 cover I end up listening to at least some of their music, but Lou Reed hasn’t been one of them. I don’t know why, I just haven’t gotten into his music at all. It’s not that I don’t like it, I haven’t even gone and listened to any of it. Do I know any of his songs apart from this one? Maybe, maybe not. I might remember one or two if they were played in my youth, but it’s unlikely. I suppose I ought to pick up a Best Of for Lou Reed (or Velvet Underground), just to see what all the fuss is about.
My rating for Satellite Of Love: 4 / 10