Radio.com Minimation: Lou Reed’s ‘Dime Story Mystery’
On Minimation, we comb through the archives of legendary New York radio station WNEW-FM and animate interviews with legendary rock artists. This installment is taken from a 1989 interview with Lou Reed, discussing his then-new album New York and the song “Dime Store Mystery.” This Minimation was created for Radio.com by Max Werkmeister.
Lou Reed got his groove back on 1989’s New York; the album saw him return to a raw guitar, bass and drums approach, and he was rewarded with his best reviews in years, not to mention a pretty big radio hit (“Dirty Blvd.”). He was also taking on big topics: the Virgin Mary, the NRA and New York’s then-mayor Rudy Giuliani were name-checked on the album.
And then there was “Dime Story Mystery.” The lyrics start with the death of Christ (“He was lying banged and battered, skewered and bleeding/Talking crippled on the cross”), but by the end of the song Reed has returned to New York (“There’s a funeral tomorrow/At St. Patrick’s the bells will ring for you/Ah, what must you have been thinking/When you realized the time had come for you”).
In this 1989 interview Reed reveals that the beginning of the song was inspired by the hot-button film of the era, Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ, but also by the death of Andy Warhol, the original manager-producer of Reed’s former band, the Velvet Underground.