“Magician” by Lou Reed and on Magic and Loss

I was reading Valentina’s Reflections blog and her post on Magic and Loss this morning, which is about the recent loss of her lovely cat and another friend. She mentions several lines from the recently deceased Lou Reed song Magician from his Magic and Loss album. I was feeling pretty down this morning from some more bad medical information i received yesterday, so this song struck me to heart. I will try to copy/paste the words below the video.

Magician from the Magic and Loss album by Lou Reed:

Magician Magician take me upon your wings
and … gently roll the clouds away
I’m sorry so sorry I have no incantations
only words to help sweep me away

I want some magic to sweep me away
I want some magic to sweep me away
I want to count to five
turn around and find myself gone
Fly through the storm
and wake up in the calm

Release me from the body
from this bulk that moves beside me
Let me leave this body far away
I’m sick of looking at me
I hate this painful body
that disease has slowly worm away

Magician take my spirit
inside I’m young and vital
Inside I’m alive please take me away
So many things to do – it’s too early
For my life to be ending
For this body to simply rot away

I want some magic to keep me alive
I want a miracle … I don’t want to die
I’m afraid that if I go to sleep I’ll never wake
I’ll no longer exist
I’ll close my eyes and disappear
and float into the mist

Somebody … please hear me
my hand can’t hold a cup of coffee
My fingers are weak – things just fall away
Inside I’m young and pretty
Too many things unfinished
My very breath taken away

Doctor you’re no magician – and I am no believer
I need more than faith … can give me now
I want to believe in miracles – not just belief in numbers
I need some magic to take me away

I want some magic to sweep me away
Visit on this starlit night
replace the stars the moon the light – the sun’s gone
Fly me through this storm
and wake up in the calm …
I fly right through this storm
and … I … Wake … Up … In … The … Calm

7 thoughts on ““Magician” by Lou Reed and on Magic and Loss

  1. I have to admit to only being familiar with Lou Reed’s earlier more famous songs, but that was amazing. And heavy. Wow.

    • i have heard his name but am not familiar with his music. this song shows some depth for sure. But who or what is his Magician? A magickian who can channel the gods, or something as simple as heroin? The words can be interpreted in many ways. I hope he means the former.

      • I have only really heard of Heroin/Venus in Furs/Perfect Day, but from all of the tributes to him, he seems to have been a pretty influential musician but I don’t know what his beliefs were…

          • Lou Reed wrote the album ‘Magic and Loss’ for two of his closest friends who died from terrible illness; legendary songwriter Doc Pomus (a man who gave Lou his start in the music business) and a woman he simply referred to as Rita. The whole album is about death, the songs gloomy yet soothing.

            He even has a song “Sword of Damocles” — referring to the anecdote of Damocles and King Dionysius II — where a person put in a seat of great fortune and power is always in a state of anxiety for fear of losing their “crown” (in the story of Damocles, his king offered to switch places with him so Damocles could experience how fortunate being king was, but Dionysius hung a sword above the throne held in place by only a single hair from a horse’s tail, knowing this, Damocles could never rest easy on that throne and so he begged his ruler to be common again). But Lou uses the anecdote in reference to chemotherapy:

            “I see The Sword of Damocles
            is right above your head
            They’re trying a new treatment
            to get you out of bed
            But radiation kills both bad and good
            it can not differentiate
            So to cure you they must kill you
            the Sword of Damocles hangs above your head”

            Doc Pomus died of cancer the year “Magic and Loss” was released. It must have hurt Lou greatly to watch his friend die. All the lyric are so painfully personal. I believe the album to be Lou’s greatest.

            Here’s another link about Lou’s passing, and as it’s related to Magic and Loss: http://rock.rapgenius.com/Sameoldshawn-magic-and-loss-lou-reed-and-grief-lyrics#note-2366504

            As for Lou Reed’s spiritual beliefs, he proudly proclaimed that rock-n-roll was his religion: http://hollowverse.com/lou-reed/

            So his “magician” was the music.

Comments are closed.