“Perfect Day” – Lou Reed (as used in the 1996 film “Trainspotting” dir. Danny Boyle)

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Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day” has many interpretations. The beautiful melody and instrumentation does lead one to believe this is a love song. Though, the last line “You’re going to reap just what you sow” is extremely eerie. Some people think this is a song Reed wrote about his relationship with his then-wife and his internal conflicts with his sexuality, drug use, and ego. And that interpretation isn’t without merit.

However, many people (me included) believe “Perfect Day” is actually about Reed’s love/hate relationship with drugs. The lines “You made me forget myself,” “I thought I was someone else … someone good,” and the last line mentioned earlier really hammer the point home.

Director Danny Boyle seems to be in agreement with the 2nd interpretation and brilliantly used “Perfect Day” in his 1996 film “Trainspotting” for the scene where Ewan McGregor’s character OD’s. It’s a particularly unnerving scene not only for the visuals, but because Reed’s song is so beautiful-sounding, it makes what’s happening even more tragic. One of the best uses of pop music in a film ever.

“Perfect Day” (BBC Charity Single) – Lou Reed and Various Other Great Musicians/Singers

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In 1997, a group of famous and talented singers and musicians got together to sing a cover of Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day” for the BBC. It was such a hit with viewers that it was released a single to promote the charity Children in Need, and went to #1 in Great Britain for three weeks, raising over 2 million pounds for the charity. Among the amazing artists here: Lou Reed, Bono, Suzanne Vega, Elton John, Burning Spear, Emmylou Harris, Tammy Wynette, Shane McGowan, Dr. John, Robert Cray, Evan Dando, Tom Jones, Laurie Anderson, Joan Armatrading, and many many others. A wonderful cover.