Lou Reed reportedly refuses song rights to Susan Boyle, makes her cry

Susan-BoyleImage Credit: Brendon Thorne/Getty Images; Ray Tamarra/Getty ImagesAccording to the ever-reliable British press, rock legend/professional crankypants Lou Reed has refused Susan Boyle permission to perform his 1972 serenade “Perfect Day”—reducing the Scottish songbird to tears, and crushing the dream she dreamed.

Boyle was reportedly forced to cancel a performance on America’s Got Talent after Reed denied rights to the song, because she did not have time to arrange for another one. (No “Wild Horses” in the wings?)

According to a source who spoke to London’s Daily Mail, “Susan is very sensitive and is genuinely upset. This has really knocked her confidence… She was in a car on the way to the studio when she was told the news and was totally devastated. She’s now at LAX Airport sobbing her heart out.”

Oh Lou, you metal machine meanie! Or, perhaps, just an artist with strongly-held convictions regarding the use and licensing of his own hard-won work. Tell us what you think, readers, in the comments section below.

UPDATE: Reed’s rep has told Access Hollywood that the incident was a matter of song-rights clearance for American television, not Lou’s personal objection, and that the clearance issues have nothing to do with Reed himself.

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Comments (232 total) Add your comment
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  • Aaron

    Susan is TERRIBLE. Lou Reed is AWESOME…and a LEGEND! End of story.

    • KathyM

      Reed’s song is as hideous as his voice and his face and his personality, and that’s very hideous.
      I have NEVER heard a worse voice. Ever.

      • Happygirl

        Right on, Lou Reed looks like a mean guy, and his voice is terrible. He should be more generous and understanding. What a way to treat a nice lady. I guess Reed is not a gentlemen. Look at him, he sure does look like jerk.

      • Well…

        Maybe Susan should write her own songs then.

      • ocshe

        Lou rules!

        past, present and future.

        Singer, songwriter, musical adventurer.

      • Rick Hunter

        I would tear Susan up like nobody’s bidness.

      • Diane

        There is no rule saying you have to write your own songs. Tear Susan up? What’s that about? Sounds creepy though. Who are you? Says more about you than Susan. What’s bidness? Who are these people?

    • Dr. Hoglan

      So this must mean you are right and all the rest of the world is wrong Yeah right!

    • diane

      Susan is awesome. Selling 10 million albums would be hard if you are terrible. In fact it would be impossible. You have a problem with logic.

      • Mike

        “Selling 10 million albums would be hard if you are terrible. In fact it would be impossible.”

        You’re kidding me right? It happens all the time. It’s called CRAPPY POP MUSIC and a spoonfed public with bad taste. I wouldn’t want Boyle singing my songs either (and in case you haven’t heard it, “Perfect Day” is one of Rock’s greatest songs ever).

      • Diane

        It doesn’t happen all the time. In fact, her accomplishment was very unusual. Especially for someone her age. She is a pioneer in that she doesn’t fit the mold. She isn’t the right age. Her main fan base isn’t also so all the malicious comments. But she outsold many established artists all over the world. Good for her.

    • spctrvlr

      that song i’m pretty sure, is about Heroin….. last thing we need is Susan Boyle singing about slammin heroin and walking around Central Park…… Lou Rules!

  • Ed

    Well done, Lou…the Boyle performance would have been a disaster on par with Celine Dion’s version of “You Shook Me All Night Long.”

    • diane

      Her history doesn’t suggest this. In fact she was a big hit on AGT last year. I think it has to do with your own jealousy and shortcomings.

    • Jess

      Ms. Boyle seems a tad too sensitive to be in show biz, or actually any business. I can’t tell you how many times people say no to me over the course of a day. If I went home every time it happened, I wouldn’t have a career. And Lou Reed is cool. Who knows if it had anything to do with him? Her management knows that songs have varied rights in different countries. It sounds like her staff is doing the CYA and blaming Reed.

      • Diane

        According to Susan’s management, they have an e-mail that shows that Lou Reed stopped the performance at the last minute.

  • Margie

    An artist has to protect his creations. He made a good call.

    • diane

      He knew she was coming. It was a nasty move on his part.

  • JN


    • Chaz Winterbottom

      Word. Also, she’s sobbing because she can’t sing a cover tune? This lady is fruit loops.

      • KathyM

        You stupid jerk, he allowed her to sing it on her album and collected those royalties, then allowed her to travel to the US, get together a 100 kids to sing with her, hire musicians, and THEN did what he did.
        A good call?
        Not for him it wasn’t.
        He’s a has been who just shot himself in the foot.

      • DM

        I agree with Kathy. Total jackass move on Reed’s part.

      • BenR

        Look, Lou Reed is a well-known poet whose writings have inspired millions. Now I understand that Susan Boyle is upset, but she’s in show business. She should understand that you are not going to get everything you want in the business. Perhaps she should stop doing cover songs and write some songs of her own.

      • jk

        You act like Susan Boyle herself rounded up back-up singers and musicians for the performance. If you’re going that route, you should have sympathy for the “America’s Got Talent” producers who Lou inconvenienced more than he did Boyle. Frankly, calling his a has-been is lame, considering she’s a never-was. I’m sick of this woman reacting like a child to every professional disappointment or setback she faces. She need to grow up and get a grip.

      • diane

        You try handling the pressure. You would probably shrivel up and die of fright.

      • Gordo

        That’s why we’re not in show business. If she can’t handle the pressure, get out of the “business”, which she’s not even really in because she’s SINGING COVER SONGS.

      • Diane

        We don’t want her to get out of the business. We love her. She gets emotional but so what? A lot of great performers of the past did too like judy Garland. She is not going away get used to it.

  • Kevin

    Lou has earned the right to be a crankypants. Susan Boyle has earned the right to 15 minutes.

    • diane

      That’s what you think but what do you know? You haven’t seen real talent and it is a bit hard getting used to. Her second cd is coming out and millions can’t wait. Go Susan!!

    • diane

      15 minutes? Just a jibe to keep Susan down. It won’t work because she has millions on her sides. Get used to it.

  • Tony Rasile

    You know, Lou Reed was a creep in the 70’s, and has proven he still is a creep. You got to wonder why he waited until 2 hours before the show to pull the plug. I’m sure it has something to do with him still feeling he “has the power” to effect somebody else’s career.

    • Kristen

      She doesn’t have a career. She is a media creation and will cease to exist if we all agree to stop watching her train wreck of a life.

      • lukebandit

        what is wrong with you? back off. what lou reed did was horrific! 2 hours before show time and he pulls the plug! He has committed professional suicide! he needs to be blackballed.

      • @Kristen

        Train wreck of a life? What’s your problem? Susan Boyle seems like a pretty nice, talented person – why do you feel the need to drag her down? Get a life.

      • Jean Genie

        At least Susan’s tried to make something of her life before it was too late. What has Kristen done with hers?

      • diane

        Maybe if you grow up and make something with your life you won’t have to slam someone who took a big chance and succeeded.

      • Gale

        Good lord you people are all overreacting. I used to work for record labels and this kind of thing happens often. She probably had clearance to cover it on her album but not to feature is as a single and her people didn’t get the clearance in time. This happens, but generally there is no crying involved. Susan Boyle has a nice voice but she’s going to continue to have issues like this unless she starts to add in original songs – whether they are written by her or professional songwriters for her.

      • Diane

        I don’t think personally putting the stop on someone less than two hours before the after he knew she was flying from Britain happens often.

      • Mike

        Wow, the Boyle fans are more rabid than Bieber’s. I applaud the article’s editors placing a pic of Boyle beside Reed, it makes him look positively handsome.

      • Diane

        Mike, Always have to take a cheap shot at her looks. Love that a middle aged woman got to have a career. Thank God that she isn’t nipped and tucked like a lot of people. At least the Boyle fans stand up against nasty comments that show little logic or humanity.Comments like Kristen says, “She doesn’t have a carreer.” Now that is ridiculous. Covers are done by many people.

  • Mary

    Susan should have had a backup song that would have been a sure thing, just in case.

    • lukebandit

      yes, Mary, I agree. you always need a back up plan because when you deal with idiots like lou reed you have to be prepared! LOU REED THE NEW DIVA!

    • diane

      I understand that there wasn’t enough time to get everything in place to do another song. You would not want to just throw things together on national television. Then everyone would say she wasn’t prepared.

      • no primadonna

        as the saying goes, the show must go on. this tells a lot of Susan’s lack of professionalism for backing out eventhough there is enough time left to think of something like performing an acapella of what she sang on BGT. I’m sure the viewers would understand, and atleast she did try rather than pull out and do something like an Ashlee Simpson stunt on SNL. if Susan is really confident enough of her talent and is really in fact has the talent and not just a mere media creation, she would need no help for such outrageous production number to make her look or sound good. the people are there to listen to her voice as is, and not focus on the show effects.

        she is in show business already. this is no time to be a primadonna and cry if everything doesnt go her way. make up for it instead. honestly, as much as I hate Lou for being a dick, Susan was a big disappointment as well. with that kind of an attitude, she was never meant for show business at all.

        aside from that, I believe it’s time for Susan to have her own songs and not make money out of other singers’ famous piece just because Simon says so. she is already have a first album which were all covers, now she’s doing a 2nd album which are all covers again? what the hell is the matter with those guys and cant come up with a composition for Miss Boyle. if it’s true that she is not just a media hype by a talent show and surely is extremely talented as what many of her fans would say, she would not have any difficulty on finding a lot of great composers who are more than willing to let their original piece be sang by Miss Boyle.

        IMO, it is more likely that they are trying to milk Miss Boyle while she is still hot and riding on the media bliss. it doesn’t matter if she does covers as long as she does the goods to make Mr. Cowell richer. because once that fire is lost, Susan would disappear into nothing but someone who made money because she was an unattractive woman with a good voice promoted by a talent show which has not given her justice. my only concern is that it is important that she releases an album of her own which are not covers or atleast her own songs.

      • Go Home Susan

        obviously she WASN’T prepared. If she was a professional she would have gotten permission before she scheduled the performance, and have a back up song just in case. If you are gonna ride the coattails of other famous people you should be more respectful. Lou Reed WROTE the song, SANG it, made it FAMOUS, and now some woman who canot write her own material wants to cover it?Fine, but dont disrespect the ACTUAL artist, and its not Susan “meltdown” Boyle. Is Lou Reed a jerk? Well, yes, but that is besides the point. If I write something its mine, and i dont HAVE to give it to somebody else just cause they have a few fans. You Susan supporters are just whiny, because if it had been something SHE did you would be outraged that soeone else was trying to steal her music! Pathetic

      • Diane

        She wasn’t trying to steal anyone’s songs. He pulled it at the last minute. She was prepared. She is sensitive and that is good. Better than people who are nasty and backstabbers. She is a humble nice person who loves to sing and we like to hear her. If you lose your sensitivity you become mean and jaded. Hope that never happens to her. What is wrong with being sensitive? she is brave enough to show true feelings. That is something that her fans love and it is something that is missing from the world.

  • Karate Pants

    She’s forged a “career” solely comprised of singing other peoples songs, and she’s rattled over this?
    Surely he hasn’t been the first to reject her?!?
    (Okay, I didn’t mean it THAT way…but it works, so it stays.)

    • KathyM

      And you call his songs SONGS?
      That one sounds like a first grader wrote it. A SLOW first grader.

    • Brenda Barrett

      Yes, what a hack. She “forged a career” singing songs she didn’t write, just like Sinatra, Judy Garland, and oh, I don’t know, about 100+ superstars. Are you aware that many singers don’t write their material???

      • jk

        Yes but, Sinatra made those songs hits, and they were written for him. There is a big different between that and solely performing covers of songs that other people have popularized. Are you aware of the distinction?

      • Brenda Barrett

        Yes, I am aware of the distinction. However, I happen to think the point is moot. A greta vocalist has every right to “interpret” classic material. Some of my favorite records of all-time are Bryan Ferry’s versions of classics, many of which are indelibly linked to superstars (e.g. the Rolling Stones). I happen to prefer Brian’s versions, just as I’m sure many people prefer Susan singing “Perfect Day” to a cult figure who makes Bob Dylan sound like Pavarotti.

      • diane

        She does not write her own songs but she certainly dazzles and impresses many millions with the covers. Can’t wait for the new cd. Susan will continue to excel no matter what the meanies say. Just keep focused Susan and go for it.

      • Jacki

        I don’t think some people realize the distinction between covering “already” been sung by others (covers) & a songwriter who writes for a singer & hoping it becomes a hit. Lou Reed wrote that song & has the rights to it. BTW, SuBo didn’t have his permission to sing it in the American market, she had permission in the British market. Yes, people, there are laws & rules to follow with copyrights. She needs to get better “people” working for her.LOL! If other song writers wanted to hear her sing one of their newly written songs, they would ask her. How come she only sings others peoples hits? No song writers out there who wants her name attached to their song? Oh, yeah, SuBo, keep acting like a little 2 year old diva…that always works!!!

    • diane

      Not everyone writes their own songs but you have to bully Susan because it is the thing to do. Just get a life.

      • Lisa

        Diane you’re the one who seems to be all over this article, telling people to “get a life.” Find something else to do. (As a point of interest, Lou Reed has allowed many people to cover and perform Perfect Day. Perhaps it’s Susan Boyle’s version that he has a problem with?)

  • Totido

    What a jackass. Lou Reed that is. I think I’ll burn all of my old albums.

    • Geraldine

      I can arealdy tell that’s gonna be super helpful.

  • Frank

    Lou Reed is a ______ to denigh Susan Boyle. He is a legend in his own mind and you are suckers to honor him. Amen

    • Jeremy DC

      I can’t listen to anyone who spells deny denigh.

      • Bobby’s Robot


    • diane

      Yeah Frank! He is just green with envy because a sweet middle aged lady from a tiny village in Scotland beat is ass in record sales.

      • Lisa

        Yes her “beat is ass,” that’s for sure.

  • Scott

    This is the one of the few times the comment section has made me extremely happy. Go Lou!

    • diane

      Yeah the mean comments make you happy because you are a bully. That’s how the bully mentality works, be happy for bringing someone down instead of working on yourself.

  • Gabriel

    Lou didnt get enough green to green light this ..come on if the stones allowed wild horse to b recorded and damn they are all about the money ..lou has a price it just wasnt the rt one to allow it ..anyone that thinks other wise is foolish ..lou has been living on a rep that died along time ago ..this is his way of staying in the light please..

  • Johnny B

    Lou Reed is an ASS!

  • MultiPass

    I find it hard to believe he doesn’t need the money. Probably just on heroin again. OVERRATED HAS BEEN. Let the sweet natured cover artist sing whatever she likes. She does no harm and some people love her. More than I can say for Darth Reed.

    • Johnny B

      On the money, Multipass!

  • Jennie

    You know what, I think this Lou Reed guy was worried that Susan will do it better. He is just jealous of her. Could be nicer? I guess not, look at Reed’s face, he looks like an devil.

    • Blitz

      Are we really going to judge them comparatively based on what their faces look like? I don’t think you want to go there.

      • diane

        You are not funny. In fact you need to work on your inner beauty because you are ugly inside. Take a lesson from Susan. She doesn’t talk badly about others. Even those who slam her.

    • Kristen

      “This Lou Reed guy”?!?!?! Does your mommy know you are using the internet? Do you have permission to go to the grown up sites? If Susan Boyle had done 1/3 of the things Lou Reed had by her age she wouldn’t have needed a overhyped talent show to get a career. He certainly didn’t.

      • diane

        Of course she won’t have a lengthy career because she wasn’t discovered until late in life. That doesn’t mean she is any less talented. In fact, she is phenomenal and obviously you are jealous.

      • Leo

        Did you know that SuBo took care of her mother for many many years? This is God’s gift to SuBo for her sacrifice. Do you take care of your parents, Kristen? I bet you don’t.

    • diane

      I think you are right. I think Susan’s performance would have been phenomenal and Reed and the bullies know it.

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