In 1975 Lou Reed released the worst album of his career titled "Metal Machine Music". The album was his answer to the pressure by RCA to release a new album quick. The album was a protest against RCA because there wasn't any real music on it just a sound collage of noise. It was recorded on a three-speed Uher machine and released as a double LP in 1975 but taken off the market 3 weeks later. His fans and record company hated the album. 

Photograph by Andy Warhol of Lou 1976

But RCA still believed in the album he was still working on and finally released in December 1975/January 1976 titled "Coney Island Baby". Which was a love letter dedicated to his transvestite girlfriend Rachel Humphreys and Coney Island where he lived as a child. It took longer than RCA wanted to deliver the album but it ranks next to "Transformer" as one of his best albums. Lou met Rachel in the 82 Club, a trans performance club, which later changed into a glam rock venue and after that as a punk club.

Lou and Rachel in 1975

The album's title track has a line referring to Rachel: "I'd like to send this one out to Lou and Rachel, and all the kids at P.S. 192". P.S. 192 was a public school for kindergarten to 6th grade, in Brooklyn, New York. This is where Lou went to school before he moved to Long Island, New York. The song is a continuation of his poem "The Coach And Glory Of Love" published in 1971.  "Charley's Girl" is a mash-up of two of Lou's hits: "Sweet Jane" and "Walk On The Wild Side". "She's My Best Friend" was a remake of a Velvet Underground song that was not released on an officical Velvet Underground studio album. "Kicks" is a tale about a thrill seeking sociopath who kills to fill the blank spaces of the weekend. The song is filled with sounds of background party small talk. "A Gift" is a humourous, self-aware song of conceit. The album is one of his best works besides "Transformer" and "Sally Can't Dance".`

Picture from the back of the album

He lived for three years with Rachel and an image of her appeared also on the album "Sally Can't Dance" and the best of album "Walk on the Wild Side: The Best of Lou Reed". In 1978 their relation came to an end and the album "Street Hassle" was about that moment. Rumours were that Lou was against a gender operation for Rachel but he later said that it was Rachel who ended the relation. When the releation ended he got “clean and straight” and went on to marry his second wife Sylvia Morales in 1980.

The album reached #4 in the Netherlands, #41 in the US and #52 in the UK.

Original album cover

Coney Island Baby (1975/1976)
Crazy Feeling / Charley's Girl / She's My Best Friend / Kicks / A Gift / Ooohhh Baby / Nobody's Business / Coney Island Baby

Crazy Feeling

A Gift

Coney Island Baby

Interview from 1975