Originally released on RCA Records in 1983 as the follow-up to the highly acclaimed The Blue Mask, Legendary Hearts teamed Lou Reed with Robert Quine, Fernando Saunders and Fred Maher—often cited as the finest accompanists of his solo career—resulting in one of his leanest, most band-oriented records. Legendary Hearts continues the soul-searching that Reed had begun on The Blue Mask, while lightening the mood slightly. As Patti Smith Group guitarist Lenny Kaye writes in an exclusive essay for this reissue of Legendary Hearts, “Though the autobiographical details draw from Lou’s experience and worldview—the album is dedicated to his then-wife Sylvia and came at a time when he was achieving sobriety— these are filtered through an artist’s sensibility…”
Longtime Lou Reed supporter, critic Robert Christgau, rated Legendary Hearts an A grade in his original 1983 review, writing that “‘Legendary Hearts’ and ‘Betrayed’ clarify Reed’s commitment by laying out the down side of romantic marriage; ‘Bottoming Out’ and ‘The Last Shot’ and the elegiac ‘Home of the Brave’ excise melodrama from his waves of fear. Equally important, ‘Martial Law’ and ‘Don’t Talk To Me About Work’ and the almost, well, liberal ‘Pow Wow’ prove that sometimes his great new band is just a way for him to write great new songs…”
Legendary Hearts has been digitally remastered from the original master tapes by Grammy-winning engineer Vic Anesini, who previously oversaw the acclaimed remastering of Reed’s Transformer.