The Bells (Lou Reed album)

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The Bells
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 1979
StudioDelta Studios, Wilster, West Germany
ProducerLou Reed
Lou Reed chronology
Live: Take No Prisoners
The Bells
Growing Up in Public
Singles from The Bells
  1. "Disco Mystic"
    Released: 1979
  2. "City Lights"
    Released: August, 1979

The Bells is the ninth solo studio album by American musician Lou Reed, released in April 1979 by Arista Records. It is recorded in binaural sound. Several songs on the album are the product of a short-lived writing partnership between Reed and Nils Lofgren. Other of the team's work appeared on Nils' eponymous album of the same year.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars [1]
Chicago Tribune3/4 stars[2]
The Village VoiceB+[3]

In a contemporary review for Rolling Stone, music critic Lester Bangs wrote, "With The Bells, more than in Street Hassle, perhaps even more than in his work with the Velvet Underground, Lou Reed achieves his oft-stated ambition—to become a great writer, in the literary sense."[4] Village Voice critic Robert Christgau said:

"Lou is as sarcastic as ever—the lead cut is called 'Stupid Man,' and in a typically acid rhyme he links 'capricious' and 'death wish.' But due in part to the music's jazzy edge and warmly traditional rock and roll base (special thanks to Marty Fogel on saxophone) he also sounds ... well-rounded, more than on Street Hassle. The jokes seem generous, the bitterness empathetic, the pain out front, the tenderness more than a fleeting mood. And the cuts that don't work—there are at least three or four—seem like thoughtful experiments, or simple failures, rather than throwaways. I haven't found him so likable since The Velvet Underground."[3]

In a less enthusiastic retrospective review, Select magazine wrote that "The Bells saw his music disappearing down the pan ... Even self-parody is barely achieved in these half-assed songs played by a bunch of dullards, with Lou sounding painfully uninspired."[5]

Track listing[edit]

1."Stupid Man"Reed, Nils Lofgren2:33
2."Disco Mystic"Reed, Ellard Boles, Marty Fogel, Michael Fonfara, Michael Suchorsky4:30
3."I Want to Boogie with You"Reed, Michael Fonfara3:55
4."With You"Reed, Nils Lofgren2:21
5."Looking for Love"Reed3:29
6."City Lights"Reed, Nils Lofgren3:22
7."All Through the Night"Reed, Don Cherry5:00
8."Families"Reed, Ellard Boles6:09
9."The Bells"Reed, Marty Fogel9:17



  • Lou Reed - vocals, electric guitar, guitar synthesizer, bass synthesizer on "Families", backup vocals
  • Ellard "Moose" Boles - bass guitar, bass synthesizer, 12-string electric guitar on "Families", backup vocals
  • Don Cherry - African hunting guitar, trumpet
  • Marty Fogel - ocarina, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, Fender Rhodes on "The Bells"
  • Michael Fonfara - piano, Fender Rhodes, synthesizer, backup vocals, Executive Producer
  • Michael Suchorsky - percussion

Horn arrangements: Marty Fogel and Lou Reed, except for "With You,” horn arrangement by Marty Fogel and Don Cherry.

Technical personnel[edit]

  • René Tinner - engineer
  • Manfred Schunke - mixing
  • Ted Jensen - mastering
  • Garry Gross - photography
  • Donn Davenport, Howard Fritzson - design and art direction


  1. ^ Deming, Mark. The Bells at AllMusic
  2. ^ Kot, Greg (January 12, 1992). "Lou Reed's Recordings: 25 Years Of Path-breaking Music". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  3. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (December 31, 1979). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  4. ^ Bangs, Lester (June 14, 1979). "The Bells". Rolling Stone. New York. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  5. ^ Select, November 1992

External links[edit]